Ug! Here’s a classic of children’s literature from English author Clive King (1924-2018). The work was published in 1963 and quickly became a modern classic.
It follows the tale of a young boy making friends with a mysterious caveman figure. So it’s king of like Gogs, but without the scatology.
Stig of the Dump
Barney is a young lad staying with his grandparents in Devon. One day, whilst bored, he heads off exploring and falls into a chalk pit.
After further investigation, he comes across Stig. This gentleman is a caveman with long shaggy hair who lives amongst the rubbish people dump into the pit.
The two hit it off and soon become besties. Although Stig doesn’t speak English, they learn to communicate by hand gestures and the like.
Barney decides to help Stig make his home a bit more homely and the duo repair his den.
In return, Stig is able to frighten off some bullies who are targeting Barney. He also helps scare off some burglars from Barney’s grandparent’s house.
The work ends on an unusual note, with Barney and his sister transported back in time where they hang out with Stig’s clan.
And there you have it! A short but sweet work about an unlikely friendship. King’s book is one of those delights of childhood.
Like Roald Dahl’s books, such as James and the Giant Peach, this one has a timeless quality about it.
Other than an unlikely friendship, there aren’t any grand themes of life lessons to learn here. It’s just good old escapism told well with strong and engaging prose.
So, one for your wee ones to read, for sure. Or for you to revisit should you want to catch up with a modern classic. Nostalgia, eh?
Stig of the Dump Adaptations
Due to the book’s enduring popularity, there have been several adaptations. The first was in 1981 for the ITV.
Another followed in 2002 for the BBC, with Thomas Sangster playing Barney. The actor went on to star in Game of Thrones.
There was also a video game adaptation in 1993 for the BBC Micro and Windows by Topologika Software Ltd.
But the book has also been adapted to the stage, which is where it appears to have enjoyed the most critical acclaim.