BONUS REVIEW UG: Boy Genius of the Stone Age – Raymond Briggs

UG - Boy GeniusAt first reading this is a children’s book all about a Stone Age boy’s longing to have things (like trousers) which aren’t made of stone. Looking deeper it actually tells you a lot about children and adults.

Ug is constantly asking questions which drives his parents mad. His questions make sense to him and to us as a reader living in the future. Ug’s parents have always known a world where everything is made of stone and cannot entertain the notion things could be different. This is a wonderful example of how a child’s mind is much more intuitive and creative than an adult’s. As grownups we are too attached to the status quo and merely dismiss children’s insights as silly.

The art is typical square panels but these are varied in size and layout according to needs of the story. There is a wonderful page where the diagonal of a hill serves as an excellent divider and cleverly stretches over two pages. Day, night, interior and exterior are handled with aplomb by using palette changes and there is a wonderful sunset too.

There is plenty of dialogue with large oversized speech bubbles. These elegantly overlap to clarify the order of speech. There are a lot of footnotes, presented with the frames, which unlike the genius of Fungus the Bogeyman aren’t actually funny. They serve merely to highlight where a modern turn of phrase is used, the origin of which is far in Ug’s future. They prove an unwelcome distraction.
This is an enjoyable read that operates on many levels.

Thumbs Up!