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One of my favorite books during childhood has to be Stig of the dump by Clive King. It is the story of an unlikely friendship between Barney an eight year old school boy and a caveman named Stig. Whilst staying at his grandmothers house with elder sister Lou, Barney falls into the old chalk pit - he doesn't just fall into the chalk pit he actually falls right through the roof of Stig's home, which he has made for himself out of the rubbish people have dumped in the pit. After the initial shock of meeting each other Barney and Stig become good friends, the pair may not speak the same language but find their own ways of communicating each giving the other a little insight into their lives, for example Stig shows Barney how to hunt with a real bow and arrow and in return Barney introduces Stig to some modern inventions such as a box of matches. Barney finds that no-one believes that Stig is real, everyone including his elder sister Lou think that Stig is simply make believe, and doesn't actually exist. Lou soon has to question her belief when she eventually becomes involved in one of their adventures and finds herself along with Barney and Stig being transported back to the time of the cavemen... This book was first published in 1963 but with its fast-paced exciting story is still a very good read today. The story is far fetched yet you do find yourself getting drawn in to the world of make believe where everything suddenly seems possible. I would guess this book to be aimed at children aged 7 - 11, I would have been around 7 - 8 the first time I read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it over and over again during my childhood and must admit several more times as an adult. It is a great book, if you have not read it I would definitely recommend giving it a go.
Oh this is such a marvellous book. This is childhood wrapped up in cardboard, paper and ink. Imagine if you will you are a young boy. Imagine becoming friends with a real live caveman! Cast your mind back to those hot, hot summer days, that we never get any more. Do you remember the boredom of not having anything to do - how you would kill to have those days of 'boredom' back now, eh? Wouldn't you just love to experience those days again? In the book Barney is the young boy who is on school holidays. One day he has a bit of an accident and falls through the roof of a den in an old quarry - it is bringing it all back now isn't it, the stupid places we used to explore when we were kids. this is where Barney first encounters the caveman Stig. They become friends and although Barney and Stig don't speak each others' language they certainly know how to understand each other. They get into many adventures together, such as catching burglars and getting into scrapes with bullies. There is a feeling throughout the book that you are unsure whether or not this is imagined - I am not going to tell you the end because it would spoilt it for you, but lets just say the book's ending adds to this ambiguity even more. This is a brilliant summer's read, even if you are no longer a child. This will really transport you back in time.
Story time... Remember that? The teacher reading to the class at the end of the day? I don't. Not really, I'm too old. :-( There are some vague glimmers though - I can remember some of the books that were read to us, for example:- Three Men In A Boat, James and the Giant Peach, and Stig of the Dump... So when I heard that the BBC were showing a new TV series based on Clive King's 1963 children's classic, I thought that would be a good excuse to read it again. Besides, I had to consider it for one of the last two places in my Top Ten Children's Books ops. (It'll be a while yet, so don't hold your breath!) Eight-year-old Barney and his sister Lou, are staying with their Gran somewhere near Sevenoaks in Kent. The author doesn't bother to tell us why, or where Mum and Dad are, or what they're doing; nor does Barney. He's more interested in the nearby chalk-pit-cum-rubbish-dump: "Men had come to dig away chalk and left this huge hole in the earth. He thought of all the sticks of chalk they must have made, and all the blackboards in all the schools they must have written on." Then, all of a sudden, the ground beneath his feet isn't there any more and he falls down a hole, as kids in books were wont to doo in the past. (I wonder if Harry Potter will get to go down a hole in one of his books?) Luckily Barney doesn't break his neck, otherwise it would be a very short book indeed. He does feel funny though... "His thoughts did those funny things they do when you bump your head and you suddenly find yourself thinking about what you had for dinner last Tuesday, all mixed up with seven times six." I loved that line. When he recovers he discovers that he's not alone, and finds himself face to face with a real live caveman! When he introduces himself, the caveman replies with a grunt. Can anyone guess what that grunt sounded l ike? Hands up then! No, not you Jill, let's have someone else for a change... Brian! Stop picking your nose like that or you'll bend the aerial, and then you won't be able to send any text messages will you? Yes, Agnes? "Can I go to the toilet please, Miss?" Oh no, not again! Hurry up then... and stop calling me Miss - I think you might need some new glasses you know. "Please Sir, I bet it sounded like "Stig" and that Barney thought that was the caveman's name." That's right, Darius, but please just SAY the answer next time. I've told you before, there's really no need to sing everything in such a silly voice. Anyway, Barney and Stig become friends even though they have trouble understanding each other, and, just as Mr. Benn, never returns home from that magical fancy dress shop without a souvenir, so Barney never leaves the cave empty handed, as he and Stig always swap stuff. Things which seem trivial to Barney, like matches and a penknife are valuable to Stig, and Stig's home-made (or rather cave-made) arrow-heads and spears would be highly prized by any eight-year-old boy. The two of them spend their time wombling around the dump finding new uses for old junk, a bit like the programme controller for Granada Plus. Occasionally there is the odd old-fashioned expression (like "Golly!") which date the book rather, and the odd weak chapter. In fact I was beginning to think it was a mistake to read it during one silly episode where Barney encounters some robbers (think Home Alone but with a friendly caveman handy), but then it got quite exciting and unpredictable towards the end. The fancy-dress party at Mrs. Fawkham-Greene's house is particularly memorable. I'll be interested to see if the Beeb change her name! [It certainly looks like the TV series is going to be very different to the book - a much more modern version of the story.] It's good fantasy, but children's books have moved on a lot since it was first published in 1963, at a cost of three shillings. The TV series tie-in edition, which will be in the shops soon, will set you back a fiver. ¶ Paperback: £4.99 ¶ ISBN: 0140301968 ¶ pp 157 ¶ ¶ Paperback: £4.99 ¶ ISBN: 0141314672 ¶ pp 160 ¶ TV tie-in edition ¶ ___________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
First published in 1962, this is the story of a boy who finds a Stone-Age cave-dweller living in a rubbish dump, and the adventures they subsequently find themselves on.