LEROY AND THE CAVEMAN by Joel Matus

LEROY AND THE CAVEMAN

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Leroy can't play baseball and has trouble confronting bullies, but he discovers he has the right stuff after all when he meets some German spies and a ``Neanderthal man.'' Four boys are harassing Leroy after his sixth-grade team loses because he strikes out. They push him into an off-limits canyon where he meets ``Ooma''--who seems to be a Neanderthal man called into 1942 by a time machine--wandering alone after an auto accident. Leroy tells the other boys; unfortunately, they believe him, find Ooma, and trump up a story that brings out a search by policemen and soldiers. Aided by friends, Leroy makes a mad dash into the canyon to save Ooma from capture or death. In the ensuing chase, spies who are hiding in the woods are discovered and captured, and Ooma's true story is disclosed. The improbable events of this engrossing plot end with an O. Henry-like twist. Matus depicts wartime California with precision--polio, blackouts, radio shows, and a child's innocent fear/pleasure in air raids and bomber sightings. With well-drawn characters and a humorous spirit akin to Barbara Park's, a creditable first novel. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-689-31812-X
Page count: 134pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993