Stig of the Dump – Clive King
My Rating – Rainy Day Read
Suggested Audience– Teen Boys
Page Count– 157
Barney decided he wasn’t dead. He didn’t even seem to be very much hurt, he turned his head and looked around him. It was dark in this den after looking at the white chalk and he couldn’t see what sort of place it was. It seemed to be partly a cave dug into the chalk, partly a shelter built out of the mouth of the cave…
When Barney falls into a disused chalk pit (now only used as a dumping ground for broken, unwanted junk), he is amazed to find a caveman living amongst the rubbish! Although he doesn’t speak any English, the caveman is a friendly young boy and he and Barney quickly become friends and embark on a series of wonderful adventures.
When you read this novel, you need to remember that it was written over 50 years ago. Today’s modern child may be appalled by the idea of discarded junk being tossed unceremoniously into a disused chalk pit and may be surprised by the advent of a caveman living amongst the detritus and say “but that’d never happen!” But once you get over the logistics of this novel, you will be completely drawn into the world of Stig and the adventures he and Barney experience.
I think a modern reader would be fascinated by this book; some of the ideas explored are quite revolutionary considering when this novel was first written. For instance, many of the adventures hinge on Stig and Barney using some of the discarded items in the chalk pit to build items. It is a very environmentally friendly concept (without forcing this ideal onto the reader or being superior about it) and as an adult reader, I couldn’t help smile. When I was a child, much play was spent building items out of junk (with varying success – who can forget the billycart which had its brakes fail halfway down the hill…), but a modern child might not think in this way as a matter of course. So as an adult, I appreciated how Stig of the Dump may inspire a “new” way of thinking for children whose minds and imaginations are somewhat quashed by mind numbing computer games.
Each chapter in Stig of the Dump is a new adventure, making this a great novel for someone who wants bite-sized chunks to read instead of a long narrative. It’s perfect for bedtime reading or helping a child who might not be the most confident reader. A more advanced reader might not enjoy this novel, purely because it doesn’t offer a challenge, but nonetheless it is a very enjoyable story for a pre-teen audience.
Where Can I Get It?
To buy Stig of The Dump for a great price and have it shipped straight to your door for free, follow this link to the Book Depository.