Lucy and Andy and the Neanderthal***
This comic book style novel is directed at readers aged 8-12. It attempts to teach them about the beginning of our civilization in the Stone Age, using science and a story line which should encourage interest in further learning.
The story is cute with occasional bursts of sarcasm that might not be understood by all readers, but they will still feel at home with the tale as it includes sibling rivalry and every child’s desire to grow up faster in order to be allowed to participate in more adult activities.
I felt that in some of the chapters the dialogue shifted a little too rapidly before the subject could be completely absorbed, but I also thought that the narrative encouraged deductive reasoning along with the introduction of proven hard, firm facts. I particularly liked the interchange of the presentations from comic-to instructor-to notes that further explained some difficult concepts.
Different types of reluctant readers should easily be captivated by this style and method of imparting instruction, since it doesn’t feel very much like a lesson and is not boring. It rather feels like entertainment.
I thought it might be beneficial to put less on each page so the frames did not become overwhelming. Sometimes they merged and were hard to follow and/or read. I thought that some of the characters in the drawings were too similar and, at first, were difficult to identify. Also, because the drawings were so alike, it was hard to determine the sex of the character by appearance alone.
I believe that it would be more advantageous for the book to be read one chapter at a time to enable better absorption of the information, rather than to read it in one sitting, which is doable, because of its brief length and easy to read design. The humor, which I thought was a tad inappropriate once or twice, at the very least will probably make the readers smile, and perhaps, some will even giggle out loud.
***The book I read is an uncorrected advance proof which the publisher provided to me and is not yet ready for publication, with drawings that were also not yet in their final state. Therefore, many of my comments may not be relevant when the final version is printed.