Caveboy Crush

Beth Ferry, illus. by Joseph Kuefler. Abrams, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3656-8
When caveboy Neander spots a bow-and-arrow-toting, redheaded cavegirl named Neanne, he finds himself atwitter: “She was short./ She was hairy./ She was perfect,” writes Ferry (Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish). He doesn’t have a name for his new, swoony feelings, but his mother does: smashing some rocks with her club, she smiles and explains “CRUSH!” Neander sets about wooing Neanne with a series of offerings, each grander than the next; taking his mother at her word, he presents the tokens and then promptly obliterates them while shouting “CRUSH!” Initially put off by this behavior, Neanne is finally won over when he presents her with a larger-than-life ice sculpture—“a work of art straight from the heart”—that she can obliterate, too. The book doesn’t take Neanne’s comfort into account (she’s clearly unhappy with the first two offerings), and it’s more of an extended blackout gag than a story, a feeling Kuefler (The Digger and the Flower) reinforces with theatrical, single-plane vignettes. But Neander and Neanne’s pert stockiness and wide-eyed mien are instantly winning, and few will be able to resist the urge to shout “CRUSH!” along with them both. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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