Caveman: A B.C. Story is a likeable little book for preschoolers. It's basically an alphabet book, but one in which the 26 words together tell a story. It's not a story with a strong dramatic arc, or anything. But still, more a story than one finds in most alphabet books.
As one would expect from the title, Caveman: A B.C. Story is set in a Flintstones-like time in which caveman and dinosaurs together roam the earth. There's even a tongue-in-cheek reference to the ice age. The caveman of the title competes with a bear, a squirrel, and dinosaur for food, ends up with a cute little purple armadillo-like creature as a pet, is rescued by an unexpected ally, and gets struck by lightning. All with one word per page. Like this:
"ACORN" (We see, on page 1, a picture of a squirrel running for an acorn, while the caveman chases him, and a bear watches from behind a bush.)
"BEAR" (We see the bear chasing the caveman and the squirrel, who now has the acorn.)
"CAVE" (Continuing on the other side of the same page spread, we see everyone racing towards a cave, where a green tail just barely pokes into view.)
"DINOSAUR" (On the next page, we see a big green dinosaur trotting out of the cave, as bear, caveman, and squirrel all run away.)
And so on. Kids will easily be able to fill in the details of the story from the pictures, and should be able to guess the single word on each page from the context. The first letter of each word is shown in color, while the rest of the word is brown, making the alphabet part of the story extra-clear.
Janee Trasler's illustrations appear digitally created, with smooth backgrounds and a limited color palette (lots of green, brown, and tan, with hints of blue and purple). All of the characters have big, round eyes that basically pop out of their heads. Motion is conveyed by lines on the page, and there's an animation-like feel to the resulting package. The dinosaur is more cute than scary (despite the responses of the other characters), and the bearded caveman is quite a likeable fellow. He comes across best in a page spread in which he first says "NO" to the eager pet, and then, with pet jumping on his stomach and slobbering all over him, admits "OK".
I think that kids will enjoy the caveman's escapades, and will like being able to relate the events of Caveman: A B.C. Story to their parents and siblings. This is a fun book that I would be happy to add to our collection. Recommended for home or library use.
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books (@SterlingKids)
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Els Kushner
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).