A boy-and-his-mammoth story.
Modern boys have faithful dogs, and cave boy Orq, in a furry-looking, one-shoulder green tunic, has a woolly mammoth named Woma. But unlike a dog, Woma grows and grows and keeps on growing, until he becomes a big hairy problem for Orq’s mother and the family’s cave home. He stinks and sheds, and he isn’t house trained. She orders Woma out! The heartbroken Orq, whose other pet pals are a family of weird-looking birds (striped blue and gray, and with a red crest on the adult), comes up with a plan: Teach Woma tricks, and Mother will love him. Orq attempts to teach Woma to fetch, speak and roll over; all have comically disastrous results. One day, while Orq is out pretending to be a big-game hunter, a saber-toothed tiger creeps near. Sabertooth loves Orq but like a glutton loves his lunch. When Woma leaps to the rescue, he earns Mother’s undying affection. Elliott’s text, written with the awkward simplicity of movie “Indians” and cavemen, is hilariously effective and also apt to tickle and be understood by very young readers: “This Orq. He live in cave. He carry club. He cave boy.” Nichols’ digitally colored pencil illustrations are simple and slyly humorous.
Offbeat and winning. (Picture book. 3-6)