Brooke, William J. A Is for AARRGH! Harper Collins, 2000. ISBN 978-0064408899 256 pp. $
This wacky caveman story with intrusive authorship will be a hit with fans of Scieszka’s Time Warp Trio. Mog, son of the tribe’s leader, just happens to invent words one day, starting with the word “sun.” A whole vocabulary ensues from nouns to verbs to adverbs. Present, past, and future tenses follow. Lazy Drog masters the language and twists it to his own benefit. Then Mog invents the word “if” and unleashes wonderful stories from their teller, a mysterious and recently adopted girl. Upstaged and under-appreciated, Mog leaves the tribe. In his absence, language leads to government, money, religion and misuse of power in a television evangelist sort of way. Mog returns in time to invent poetry and save the day. A budding relationship between Mog and an adopted girl serves as a subplot.
Humor rules this novel. In one especially funny scene, Pog (Mog’s mother) suggests that an eclipse is the moon passing between the earth and the sun, rather than the end of the world, and the Tribespeople “glare at her for making a joke at such a serious moment.” While barely historically accurate, this pre-historic Frindle is a fun speculation of how language developed.