Zan-Gah, A Prehistoric Adventure, by Allan Richard Shickman
Published: July 15, 2007
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Source: Provided by Earthshaker Books for review
Series: Zan-Gah #1
Zan-Gah, seeking his lost twin brother in a savage prehistoric world, encounters adventure, suffering, conflict, captivity, and final victory. In three years hero passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes include survival, brotherhood, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, and nature's wonders and terrors. This is the electronic version of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, which has been awarded Mom's Choice Gold Medal for Series, the Eric Hoffer Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year.
Okay, I realize I'm being ridiculous when I nit-pick on this specific aspect of the novel, so I'm getting it out of the way first. There were a lot of exclamation points. I mean---a lot. I don't know about you, but when I see an exclamation mark, I hear yelling in my head. So I constantly felt like the narrator was yelling at me. Like I said, ridiculous, I know. :p
Moving on to the important stuff:
Zan-Gah is a powerful story about a boy who goes on a treacherous journey in search of his twin, who has been missing for some time. Along this journey, Zan-Gah is forced to fight for survival on many different occasions. There is action from beginning to end, though for a middle grade novel, I would have liked to see more dialogue. But given his circumstances, it wasn't really a possibility.
When Zan-Gah finally reaches his destination, I was saddened by the story. Dael is clearly affected deeply by what he has gone through, and my heart ached for him. This was the only time in the entire story that I felt any emotion, which is most likely a problem that lies within me, not the book. I'm curious to see how the next novel plays out, because I'm sure it will be centered around Dael and the issues he's suffering now.
I read a lot of this aloud to my 2 and 4 year olds, and they seemed to really enjoy it. A lot of times, I'll read whatever book I'm reading at the time to them, and they look at me like "Where are the pictures?" With Zan-Gah, they genuinely listened. I think this would be a fantastic novel for a parent to read and discuss with their children. Or a middle grade teacher to read and discuss with their students. The story is powerful, and engaging.
I'm unsure of whether or not I'll be reading the sequel. I'd like to see where Dael's story goes, but I think this is better suited for my little brother than myself. It's difficult for me to read and review middle grade novels with the targeted audience in mind. Which is why I generally don't accept MG. I don't regret accepting this one though, and I think people of all ages could appreciate it in some way!