#954 – Lug: Blast from the North by David Zeltser

lug blastfromthenorth edit LUG: Blast from the North
Series: LUG, Book 2
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Jan Gerardi
Carolrhoda Books  9/01/2016
154 pages   Ages 8—12

“After saving his clan from saber-toothed tigers, Lug the caveboy has become a hero to his clan. The only problem: between the nightmares and his sudden skittishness around animals, he doesn’t feel like much of a hero. But now he and his friends, Stony and Echo, have even bigger problems to worry about. A giant glacier is rolling toward their village—faster than any ordinary mass of ice should move—and it’s on course to crush the whole settlement! Maybe Blast, the mysterious northern boy who lives on the glacier, can help Lug’s clan. Or maybe it will be up to Lug to save the day again, whether he’s ready for the task or not.” [inside jacket]

The Macrauchenia Rider and Boar Rider clans have completely lost their luscious jungle—and all the food that it provided. Echo tries to transition everyone to eating vegetables—root mostly—but all would rather subsist on the small rations of raw meat, which Lug’s dad, oddly, cooks over the fire pit. Worse, snow continues to fall, covering Mount Bigbigbig. Lug, Echo, and Stony must deal with an ice glazier that is moving fast enough to wipe out their villages within four short days.

On their way to the glazier, the kids find a boy buried under the ice. His name is Blast (below), and once he recovers from his ordeal, Blast offers safe space for both clans on the glazier, the boy’s home. In return, Lug will rid the glazier of its food stealing polar bears. Echo seems completely taken by this odd boy “from up North,” but Lug does not trust the stranger. Is Blast altruistic, only wanting to save Lug and Echo’s clans from destruction? Or is Blast an evil little boy with ulterior motives?
lerner blastLug: Blast from the North picks up the story one month after the Dawn of the Ice Age (LUG #1). After saving both clans from saber-tooth tigers, Lug—previously banished from the clan—became the Minister of Art and Culture. He remains a reluctant hero, who would rather paint. If you recall, Lug began his story with this ominous statement:

“. . . You see, the world began to get colder—much colder. And my clan initially reacted by doing this:
nothing“That’s right, a whole lot of NOTHING . . . I hope this story will inspire you to pay attention to the big changes happening to your world. If you are extinct, sorry.”

Lug’s jungle is no more. Snow and cold killed most vegetation and nearly every animal has left (still no prehistoric dinosaurs in this prehistoric story). Crag, “Crazy Crag,” the inventor of odd objects, must have worn off a little on Lug’s father. Big Lug cooks his food (llama meat) and now only eats it this way, while everyone else—except the family and Stony—find this revolting. Stony becomes the biggest surprise—and the most humorous. Kids will love Stony’s new ability, which shocks even Lug. Woolly returns, but his role is limited. Very disappointing.
woolly lerner tight room rightThe illustrations remain black and white line drawings. The images continue to reflect the stark conditions Lug and his people face. I am not fond of Lug’s portrayal in the book. On the cover, he is adorable, almost modern (his shirt looks like a T-shirt). On the pages, Lug’s clothes look classically prehistoric. The illustrations enhance the well-written, fast-paced, action-packed story.

Zeltser’s humor has improved, meaning Lug’s humor has improved, (Lug remains the narrator). New characters abound in Blast from the North. Most are from clans Batback and Sneck. Those to look for are leaders Renalto and Mammaga, and the outcasts Ugo and Boaga. Reminder, Lug and Echo were originally outcasts from their respective clans.

Here’s an interesting about illustrations: It matters who creates the art. I came across the German edition, illustrated by Jörg Mühler, which contains many more illustrations. Check out Lug’s family. On the left is German Lug renamed “Winzent,” with his mom, “Winzenta,” and dad, Big Lug, called “Wumms”  across the pond. After leafing through the German version, I really like the art. Plus, there are more illustrations in Winzent and the glacier of Secret. (Not an error, “glacier” is not capitalized.) None of this changes the story, I just thought it was interesting.
internationalfamilylugKids who enjoyed Dawn of the Ice Age will definitely enjoy Blast from the North. Blast’s home, and the setting for most of the story, is an awesome ice-castle. In particular, the sculpture laden roof. Blast from the North can stand on its own, but why forgo reading Lug’s beginning? With its good pacing; short chapters; intriguing plots, conflicts, and danger; along with interesting and relatable characters, the LUG series is perfect for reluctant readers. Younger readers, with advanced reading skills, will also enjoy LUG, which could easily find young fans as a read aloud story.

Is living on the very thing that plans to wipe out your home the best idea? Girls and boys will enjoy Lug’s newest adventure. Lug: Blast from the North continues the theme of prehistoric climate change, which can teach us about our own.

blast crags ice eyeNext up for author, David Zeltser is Stinker, illustrated by Julia Patton. Stinker is a dog and, as one can imagine, he is a little stinker. Stinker arrives in 2017.

Interesting side-note: “David emigrated from the former Soviet Union at age five. After graduating from Harvard in physics, he was admitted to vet school to study wildlife medicine, but ultimately came back to his first love—storytelling. David has banded dozens of species of birds, rounded up giraffes with a pickup truck, and helped care for a baby rhino named Emmitt.” (From David Zeltser’s bio, found on his website—link below.)

LUG: BLAST FROM THE NORTH. Text copyright © 2016 by David Zeltser. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Jan Gerardi. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksLerner Publishing

Find LUG: Blast from the North on Goodreads HERE.
Read First 4 Chapters “Look Inside”

David Zeltser:  http://www.davidzeltser.com/
Follow on Twitter      @davidzeltser

Jan Gerardi:
Follow on Twitter

Carolrhoda Books:  https://www.facebook.com/carolrhodabooks/  AND  https://www.lernerbooks.com/
Follow on Twitter     @LernerBooks 

Carolrhoda Books is an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.

Reprinted with permission from LUG: BLAST FROM THE NORTH © 2016 by David Zeltser, Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Illustrations © 2016 by Jan Gerardi.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

LUG: Blast from the North
Series: LUG, Book 2
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Jan Gerardi
Carolrhoda Books 9/01/2016


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