Tib lives in a sort of caveman Miyazaki forest. It's lush and green and the tribe is happy and safe. Well, mostly. Unfortunately, Tib has a birthmark on his face and the other kids tease him relentlessly. Then Tib meets an amazing creature, who he names Tumtum. He hopes that such a rare creature will make the other kids like him, but he just can't seem to get anyone to believe him about Tumtum. When he finally does get the tribe's attention, it's not in a good way and suddenly he has to decide if he's going to protect his new friend or follow the tribe.
The book is formatted like a Tintin comic, picture book sized with lots of small panels. The text is fairly simple and all dialogue. The art has a crisp, digital feel to it and the lush green landscape and cute dinosaur definitely feel a bit Miyazaki-ish. However, I would give this one to middle grade kids because, well, this dinosaur is not a vegetarian. Plus, some of the cavewomen are dressed a little skimpily.
Verdict: There's lots of humor in this story and the messages about not teasing, appreciating differences, and sticking by your real friends are lightly done. With the Croods movie I anticipate a lot of interest in funny cavepeople and parents will like the anti-bullying messages. This probably won't be as popular as, say, Babymouse or Summer Camp Science Mysteries, but it's a fun, nicely written, and well-illustrated graphic novel that a lot of kids will enjoy.
ISBN: 9781467712972; Published 2013 by Lerner Graphic Universe; Purchased at ALA annual 2013 for the library