cover image Lucy & Andy Neanderthal

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal

Jeffrey Brown. Crown, $12.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-38835-1

Brown’s (the Jedi Academy series) episodic graphic novel about a clan of Neanderthals starts out low-key enough, as goofy Andy, his much smarter sister Lucy, and other children bicker over tool-making and food-gathering. (After debating mammoth-hunting options, they settle on “the usual,” i.e. “Chase one down and stab it until it stops moving.”) Two archaeologists pop up at the end of each chapter to demonstrate how the objects that Lucy and Andy use and make—their tools, the bones they chew on, even their teeth—reveal information about their lives. The female Neanderthal bones show just as much wear and tear as the males, the scientists point out; they may have done the same kinds of work. Hints sprinkled throughout about a lost spear and missing mammoth meat build to a climax as Andy and Lucy’s group encounters a smoother, more sophisticated, and possibly menacing group of humans. Readers with an interest in fossil discoveries won’t be able to put this down, while those who have never given cave life a thought may find themselves with a new interest. Ages 8–12. Agent: Marc Gerald, Agency Group. (Aug.)