Sunday, December 25, 2016

Paleolithic Techie: Tek, the Modern Cave Boy by Patrick McDonnell

Once upon a time, way, way back

Or maybe yesterday

There lived a little cave boy named...


He's pretty hairy, but otherwise he's your typical boy. He lives in a dark cave like everyone else back then, sure, but the trouble with Tek is that he never comes out.

In the evening an eerie glow came from Tek's cave.

Yes, Tek is an early example of the techno-addict, devoted to his electronic devices: day and night, rain, snow, sleet, and sunny days, it's just beep, beep, bloop bloop from back there at the end of the cave.

Tek's friend Larry tries to get him to come outside and play with the others. After all, it's the Ice Age and the sledding is always great!

"My brain may be the size of a walnut, but I know that's not a healthy situation," Larry points out.

Every one in the tribe sees that it's going to take a prehistoric disaster to get Tek, his tablet, and his game box outa that cave, and when the local volcano, Big Poppa, finally blows its top, Tek is ejected right into another epoch, in Patrick McDonnell's tongue-in-cheek looks at a stone-age technophile, Tek: The Modern Cave Boy. (Little, Brown, 2016).

Since the invention of electronic media, going back to, oh, maybe Thomas Edison's first phonograph, parents have had one inevitable, perennial thing to say to their offspring--"TURN THAT THING OFF!" The Caldecott-winning Patrick McConnell pens a modern cautionary tale, poking gentle fun at the habituated "vidiot" kid hooked on electronic games and Tek's "idontgiveadactyl" attitude, ironically giving his book cover and pages the look of a tablet device. Kids may laugh and parents will shake their heads ruefully, as they agree that it may take an eruption (or hiding the charger, which will engender a different sort of eruption) to give that game boy a rest, but at least they can get a laugh out of this seemingly set-in-stone modern dilemma. Texts Booklist, "Good, snarky fun for parents and kids."


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