The morning sun shone on the rocky surface of a red, dusty canyon. A shaft of light illuminated a huge boulder that blocked the entrance to the Croods Cave.
Inside the cave, Grug Crood saw the sliver of light creeping around the edges of the boulder. The long, dark night was finally over. It was time to start the day. And on this day, the Croods would be emerging from the safety of their cave to find food.
A muscled mountain of a man wearing the fur from some massive animal, Grug pushed the boulder aside with a grunt. Then he rushed outside.
“Raaar! Grooooowwwllll! ERF! ERF! Glaaablllth!”
He flailed his arms like a wild beast, picking up clumps of dirt and throwing them. Then he grabbed a huge rock and hurled it.
Panting, Grug stopped and scanned the area around the cave. He had the finest threat display of any caveman. It was guaranteed to scare away anything dangerous that might be lurking outside the cave, waiting for the Croods to emerge. It looked like the coast was clear, so Grug took a deep breath and prepared to bellow the signal that it was safe to come out.
But before he could signal, his teenage daughter Eep pounced out of the cave, growling and pawing the air like some ferocious cat.
“Grrrrrrrr!” she growled.
“You’re supposed to wait for my signal, Eep,” Grug scolded.
From the corners of her eyes, Eep spotted a pack of furry Liyotes slinking toward them, sniffing with their canine noses. She could see the hunger in their round eyes, and she knew that their reptilian legs and tails gave them extraordinary agility.
“Aaaaargh!” Eep leaped toward them, frightening them, and the Liyotes quickly scattered. A few of them pounced on Grug, and he quickly swatted away the dog-size creatures.
Eep climbed up onto a rock shelf overhanging the cave and leaned back, soaking up the sun. She wore a dress of striped fur that complemented her thick mass of red hair. Her green eyes shone with happiness as she felt the warm rays on her skin.
“We’ve been in that cave forever,” she said, grateful to finally be free.
“Three days is not forever,” her father countered.
“It is with this family,” Eep shot back.
Grug put his huge hands on his hips. “Eep, will you come down here? You’re being so dramatic.”
“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”
Eep’s little sister, Sandy, bounded out of the cave on all fours, barking and snorting in her threat display. She raced off into the canyon.
“No, no, no, Sandy, come back,” Grug scolded. “Remember the signal. Good girls wait for the signal.”
Grug’s wife, Ugga, shot out of the cave after Sandy. She grunted a few times and waved her hands around, but her heart wasn’t in her threat display. She was too focused on catching her daughter.
Grug sighed. Wasn’t anyone following the rules today? “Ugga!”
“As soon as I get Sandy, I’ll go back in, and you can give the signal,” she promised.
“But you’re already out now,” Grug said, shaking his head.
“I am waiting for the signal, Dad!” came a cheerful voice from inside the cave. It was Thunk, Eep’s nine-year-old brother.
“Never mind, Thunk,” Grug said, his voice defeated. “Just come out.”
But Thunk liked obeying rules as much as his dad liked making them. “Uhh, but if you don’t give me the signal, how do I know you’re my dad?” Thunk asked.
“The signal isn’t so you know it’s me,” Grug explained. “It’s so you know I wasn’t eaten by an animal.”
Thunk was silent for a moment while he processed this.
“Then why is the signal an animal noise?” he asked. “I mean, doesn’t that just confuse things?”
Grug sighed again.
“I’m still waiting for the signal,” Thunk said.
Grug knew there was no way to win the argument. He took a deep breath.
Thunk charged out of the cave, growling. He was half as tall as his dad, but just as wide, and they both shared the same broad face and bushy brown hair. Thunk ran right into Grug, nearly knocking him over. Then he picked up a big boulder, mimicking his dad’s threat display. He threw it, and it hit the cliff wall, then bounced off and knocked Grug down for real this time.
None of the Croods were alarmed by this. Grug had been plowed down by things bigger than that boulder, and he always got back on his feet.
Ugga scooped up Sandy and headed back toward the cave.
“Mom, we’re ready to leave!” she called. She waited, but there was no answer. “Mom!”
A tiny, white-haired woman scurried out of the cave.
“Still alive!” Gran reported, revealing one shiny white tooth as she grinned.
Grug looked disappointed. “It’s still early,” he mumbled.
“And you’re still fat,” Gran shot back cheerfully.
Grug shrugged off the insult. “Breakfast formation!” he announced in a booming voice.
The family swiftly fell into place, stepping into V formation with Grug at the lead.
“I want to see some real caveman action out there!” Grug barked, like a commander addressing his troops. “We do this fast. We do this loud, we do this as a family, and never not be afraid. Go!”
“Yay, breakfast!” Thunk cheered, as the Croods ran out of the canyon and into the open desert, where they might finally be able to scrounge up some food.
They ran . . . and ran . . . and ran . . . until they finally came to a stop miles later, exhausted.
“Yay . . . breakfast . . . ,” Thunk said again between pants.
Once they arrived at their hunting grounds, the Croods spotted food right away. A huge Ramu nest built in a stand of rocks contained one large, blue egg.
Grug motioned for the family to take shelter behind a nearby rock. Stealing an egg from a nest was a tricky business. If the mother bird was nearby, she would do everything she could to protect it.
He turned to the others. “Okay, who’s up?”
Eep’s hand shot into the air. She loved hunting.
Thunk didn’t really like taking chances, but he raised his hand anyway. He didn’t want to disappoint his dad.
“You guys can flip for it,” Grug said. He picked up Gran and tossed her. “Call her in the air.”
“Heads!” Eep cried out.
Gran landed headfirst in the sand, her skinny legs wiggling wildly and the tail on her lizard-skin dress pointing up to the sky.
“Tails. Thunk’s in,” Grug announced. “Positions!”
The family moved back and away from one another, forming a wide line between the desert and the canyon, like a sports team ready for the next play.
“Okay, Thunk,” Grug said. “Go!”
Thunk broke from the line and dashed toward the nest. He grabbed the egg and raced back toward his family.
“Way to go! Take it to the cave!” Grug cheered.
Thunk ran past Grug, starting on the long journey back to Crood Canyon. Then a loud shriek sent a chill of fear through him.
“Cawwwwwww!” A large Ramu bird ran up behind Thunk, surprisingly swift on her thick legs. She thudded into him with her curved horns, and Thunk lost his grip on the egg. The bird caught the egg in her beak.
“Release the baby,” Grug ordered.
Eep raced toward the bird, holding out Sandy in front of her. The little girl’s pigtails bobbed up and down as they sped across the desert. When they closed in on the Ramu, Sandy chomped down on the bird’s feet with her two big front teeth. With the bird distracted, Ugga jumped onto her back and climbed up to her head, pulling the egg from her beak.
But before the Croods could celebrate victory, some Trip Gerbils intervened. The small, furry creatures looked cute, but they were extremely hazardous. Each pair of gerbils was connected by a long tail, and they used it to trip their victims. The Trip Gerbils were just as hungry as any other creature in the desert, and the egg looked like a tasty meal.
While Ugga steadied herself so she could toss the egg to Grug, the Trip Gerbils sprang into action. They wrapped their tail around the bird’s legs, and the bird fell down hard, beak-first. Ugga tumbled off the bird, and the egg fell out of her hands. The Trip Gerbils quickly recovered it and ran off.
“Mom! Intercept!” Ugga cried.
Gran reached out with her cane, hooked the gerbils by the middle of their tail, and whipped them over her shoulder. The egg dropped down and she caught it, then began to dribble it toward the canyon.
A sneaky group of Liyotes jumped out from behind the rocks, swarming Gran. They knocked her down, stole the egg, and zipped across the desert as fast as lightning.
“Old lady down!” Gran yelled. “Eep, avenge me!”
Hidden behind a small bush, Eep waited until the Liyotes passed—and then she pounced. Targeting the Liyote with the egg, she jumped on him and tackled him. The egg was hers!
“Thanks!” she said, leaping away.
But a bunch of Jackrobats quickly circled her. Fast and furry, each Jackrobat had a fluffy white tail; pointy ears; a wide, flat nose; and sharp fangs. They tripped her up, and Eep tossed the egg to Grug.
“Dad! Heads up!” she called out.
Grug caught the egg and ran past the entrance of a small cave, accidentally stepping on the tail of a sleeping Bear Owl. He stood up, tall as Grug, golden eyes flashing, and then chased after Grug, his long, sharp claws kicking up dirt as he ran.
Grug dodged the Bear Owl, passing the egg to Thunk. Thunk caught it just as a huge, spotted Girelephant bore down on him from behind, lifting him up with his large tusks. The Bear Owl caught up to the Girelephant, causing the larger animal to charge forward in fear. Now the Liyotes joined the chase, following by a flock of angry Ramu birds.
The Girelephant caught up to the rest of the Croods, and Grug tossed them one by one onto the back of the great beast. It was a drastic move, but the only way to outrun the swarm of creatures chasing them.
“Dad, can we eat now?” Thunk asked.
“Just wait till we get home,” Grug replied. “Eep, put on the brakes.”
The Croods hung on as tightly as they could. Eep tumbled from the beast’s head and caught one of the tusks, saving herself just in time. Then she slammed her heels on the ground and dug into the dirt, causing the Girelephant to slow down, but the angry Bear Owl was still on the chase and getting closer. They had to get back to the safety of Crood Canyon. Now.
Grug jumped to the other tusk and pulled down. The beast crashed into the rocky entrance of the canyon, and the Croods were thrown in. When the dust cleared, Grug emerged, holding up the egg. Victory!
“Who’s hungry?” he asked.
“All right!” cheered Thunk. “Good one, Dad.”
Grug smiled. “Here you go, Thunk. Drink up.” He tossed the egg to his son . . . who couldn’t get ahold of it. It dropped and cracked open.
“Sorry, Dad,” Thunk said glumly.
Ugga quickly scooped it up. “Looks like fast food tonight!”
She gave a taste of the leaky egg to Sandy and then took a sip herself. The egg went to Gran, then to Eep, and then to Thunk. He passed it over to Grug—but by now the egg was empty.
“That’s all right. I ate last week,” Grug said, trying to sound like it was no big deal. His family had been fed, and that was the most important thing.
A shadow reached his feet, and he looked up to see the sun beginning to set behind the canyon wall. It would be dark soon. It was time to head back into the cave.
The Croods Movie Novelization
Grug and his family, the Croods, are doing okay. Sure, scavenging for food and sleeping in a big pile on the hard cave floor isn’t exactly perfect, but they’re surviving. Then a massive earthquake destroys their home, and the Croods are forced to journey into the unknown. As they travel further and further, the Croods begin to realize that it’s not all bad. There are many spectacular discoveries to discover and amazing inventions to invent. The only one who refuses to see the possibilities is Grug. He’s convinced that the old ways are the only way to keep his family safe. Will Grug be able to find his way in this new world? Find out in this hilarious and heartfelt retelling of the DreamWorks movie, The Croods!
The Croods © 2013 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.
- Simon Spotlight |
- 144 pages |
- ISBN 9781442461543 |
- February 2013 |
- Grades 3 - 7