LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age: Reviewed by My Middle Daughter as Funny and Full of Adventure


When we were asked to review the middle reader, LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age, my daughter Emma (age 10) and I jumped at the chance. Emma loves 39 Clues and two of the writers gave LUG glowing endorsements. She also loves any adventure series that features some humor, which we figured this one might have as well. As a mom, I liked how the author, David Zeltser, also worked in the issue of climate control and animal rights. For me as a parent, this book is a total win for kids. It has it all that any 4th or 5th grader would love, boy or girl, as well bringing issues such as humanity and activism into their thinking, without being preachy. It’s humorous and light, even while taking on big themes. I highly recommend this book myself for parents, teachers, and especially libraries. It’s one that doesn’t need to be used just in language arts, but can be used in the study of science pertaining to the environment. This isn’t one in which to delay purchase, it’s too good for the deep freeze!

GIVEAWAY: Click HERE for a Rafflecopter giveaway of one print copy (US/Canada only).

Without further ado, I’ll pass this review on to EMMA (5th grade):

In LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age, I liked how in some ways I can relate to the boy because we are similar (and sometimes people don’t get me either), but just from different times, and have some common interests, like art. Although, I can’t really think about having to live as a cave girl!! His experiences are not something I want to experience. I like my bedroom.

But if I lived in a cave, I would definitely do cave wall art. I think it would be fun to be allowed to carve things into the wall. I thought I would like this book because I like to read and learn about different time periods. I wasn’t disappointed. It was so funny and cute, just like why I liked the movie “The Croods.”

My favorite part I liked was how the main character had to try to catch a jungle llama. I love llamas. I didn’t like what happened when he didn’t catch it. I felt bad for him.

I recommend you read this book if you like adventure or are interested in the environment or animals. Also, artists like me can like Lug because he likes to paint. If you are interested in learning about cave people, you could like this book. Or if you like funny books, you might also like it. I almost read the book in one sitting and enjoyed the story.


Guest Reviewer, Emma Al-Mehairi, Age 10, Biography~

Emma at the art museum

Emma at the art museum

Emma is ten years old and a straight A student with a gift for reading and writing.  She has read at a higher level than her peers ever since the summer between Kindergarten and First Grade when she spent almost the entire summer at the beach reading.

She likes reading about girls and boys her age, adventure and action thrillers, magic, fantasy, werewolfs, and history.  Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys softball, soccer, fashion, history, art, writing stories, shopping, asking questions, cooking, chocolate, and coffee.

Watch for more of Emma, and her siblings, reviews!  And if you have a recommendation for her, send it her way via Mom (Erin Al-Mehairi).


LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age, Synopsis~

  • ISBN-13: 9781606845134
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 450,270
  • Age range: 8 – 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Lug_jkt_finalA hilarious middle-grade novel about a misunderstood caveboy perfect for fans of Ice Age, Happy Feet, The Time Warp Trio, and Platypus Police Squad.

Lug is a caveboy who would rather paint than club other caveboys. The clan even mocks him, calling him “Little Slug.” Like all the other caveboys, Lug must enter the contest to become the clan’s next Big Man and attempt to catch the Biggest Beast–even though he would much rather spend his days painting in his secret art cave.

When Lug is banished for failing to catch a jungle llama, he thinks he is alone in the world but finds others who believe in him: his clanmate Stony and a new friend, Echo, a girl from a rival clan who can talk to animals and just may be prehistory’s first vegetarian/animal rights activist.

Together they face even bigger challenges–Lug discovers the Ice Age is coming and he has to bring the warring clans together to save them not only from the freeze but also from a particularly unpleasant migrating pride of saber-toothed tigers. It’s no help that the elders are cavemen who can’t seem to get the concept of climate change through their thick skulls. With both funny, anachronistic humor, charming characters, and strong themes, Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age is sure to be a hit with many readers.

Illustrated with black and white line art throughout.

Available simultaneously in e-book (ISBN: 9781606845141) format.

Praise for LUG~

“What a find! LUG blasts its way from prehistory to the present in a laugh-aloud-funny, big-hearted story full of smart surprises. Kids and adults alike will love this book. It deserves to be Bigbigbig. ”

― Peter Lerangis, New York Times bestselling author of The 39 Clues and Seven Wonders series

“LUG makes the Ice Age Sizzle!”

― Gordon Korman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 39 Clues and Swindle series

Kirkus Reviews

A Stone Age comedy features a caveboy guilty of “uncavemanlike behavior.” The summary exile that Lug earns by failing to capture a “jungle llama” to ride in an upcoming headstone match turns out to be a blessing in disguise, as it leads to a meeting with Hamela—a member of the rival Boar Rider clan who has turned from the customary all-dodo diet to vegetarianism. She in turn introduces him to Woolly, an errant young mammoth atop whom he goes on to lead his headstone team to victory. Lug lands in further hot water when his forbidden cave paintings are discovered—but following the arrival of snow, a pride of saber tooth tigers and more mammoths, he manages to convince at least some of his simpleminded people that big changes are coming. By the end, he even has them using fire (“storm light”). The animals all talk (except the dodos), and Lug’s frog-licking proto-hippie sidekick leads a notably rock-headed supporting cast. Happily, characters speak in complete sentences and with standard syntax, and the banter is nicely snappy. Preliminary sketches indicate that suitably primitive art will accompany the story. Fred Flintstone would feel right at home in this light-as-pumice comedy. (Fantasy. 9-11)

School Library Journal

Gr 3–5—Life as a caveboy is rough. You constantly have to prove yourself by bashing anything that moves with your club. For Lug, it’s the complete opposite of who he is. Lug is an artist who would much rather paint on the walls of a cave than smash skulls with his club. In Lug’s words, “paintings don’t tell you what to do, or call you names, or make you feel small or worthless.” Ultimately, the protagonist is banished from his tribe because of his lack of bravery. He meets a vegetarian animal whisperer named Echo along with his tribesman Stony, and they work together to save their fighting clans from the impending deep freeze. This book is filled with humor but also a deeper message of learning to accept who you are and not backing down from what you are passionate about. The novel lends itself to discussions of bullying and accepting differences. Readers who are unfamiliar with the Ice Age could benefit from pairing this work with informational texts on the animals and climate of the time period. A roaring addition for public and school libraries.—Andy Plemmons, David C. Barrow Elementary, Athens, GA.


Barnes and Noble


David Zeltser, Biography~

Credit Fiona Dulbecco

Credit Fiona Dulbecco

DAVID ZELTSER emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, graduated from Harvard, and has worked with all kinds of wild animals, including rhinos, owls, sharks, and ad executives. He is the author of Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age, the first book in a satirical series about the world’s inaction on climate change, for ages 8-12.

He also has a forthcoming picture book, Ninja Baby, with Caldecott Honor illustrator Diane Goode (Chronicle Books). David lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Cruz, California.

He performs improv comedy and loves meeting readers of all ages. His second book about Lug is scheduled to publish in Fall 2015.

Visit David’s website at He’s also on Twitter: @davidzeltser.

Blog Tour Schedule:


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Pinky’s Favorite Reads for Kids

Q&A and giveaway

Thursday, September 04, 2014

From the Mixed Up Files

Giveaways only

Geo Librarian

Guest post and giveaway

Friday, September 05, 2014

Read Love

Guest post and giveaway

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Curling up with a good book

Guest post and giveaway

Hook of a Book

Review and giveaway

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Book Beacon

Guest post and giveaway

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Review and giveaway

My Brain on Books

Guest post and giveaway

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Live to Read

Guest post and giveaway

A Backwards Story

Guest post and giveaway

Future Dates



New Voices Interview

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rockin Book Reviews

Q&A and giveaway

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Guest post and giveaway

Monday, November 10, 2014

This Kid Reviews Books

Review only



Filed under Book Reviews

2 responses to “LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age: Reviewed by My Middle Daughter as Funny and Full of Adventure

  1. Author Sherry Jones

    All right, Emma! Nice review! She’s a chick off the old block, Erin!


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