Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman


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. Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure 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.


  • Pub. Date: July 2007
  • Publisher: Earthshaker Books
The Elliott Review:

This is a great find for young adults to read. As a teacher, I'm constantly looking for books that are well-written and interesting yet at the same time clean and thought-provoking. I couldn't ask for much more than Zan-Gah as far as that goes. The setting is one that many students will not know a lot about but will have intrinsic interest in, and the adventure that Zan undertakes to rescue his twin brother, Dael, is one that will keep students on the edge of their seats.

Shickman sets up a historical world that is rich and authentic - painting a sweeping picture of various tribes and regions as well as their history. In some places of the book, I forgot that I was not reading an actual account of a young legendary boy who lived in prehistoric times. I had to keep reminding myself that there could be no record of this time period.
The writing style reads like an authentic legend or myth and keeps the readers interest with interesting but not excessive details of the events that Zan encounters. Mainly dealing with Zan's adventurous exploits, the plot is also balanced with an adequate measure of characterization of Zan-Gah and the people he encounters. Minor characters such as Chul, Rhydl, Dael, and Lissa-Na are also interestingly developed.

My favorite part of the book is when Zan actually encounters his twin and finds him to be extremely changed due to the horrible things that have happened to him in captivity. To me this is extremely realistic and moving, and I find myself trying to fill in the blanks of what Dael is not revealing about what happens to him.

This is definitely a book I would recommend for any middle grade reader, especially the boys. It's educational, fun, mysterious - everything a young reader could want!

Source: Thanks to Bonnnie at Earthshaker Books for providing a copy for a fair review.

1 comment:

  1. The third book of the Zan-Gah series, Dael and the Painted People, is nearly finished. Watch for it this summer at the new web address:

    I hope you will pay us a visit.

    Allan R. Shickman