One day, Barney, a solitary little boy, falls into a chalk pit and lands in a sort of cave, where he meets "somebody with a lot of shaggy hair and two bright black eyes"—whom he names Stig. And together they enjoy some extraordinary adventures.
Clive King was born in Richmond, Surrey, in 1924. He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His service as a sailor and his work as a language teacher took him all over the world. Clive King lives with his family in Norfolk and is a full-time writer.
I first came across 'Stig' over 35 years ago, and it's still as magical to me. For me, Stig is defined by the Edward Ardizzone illustrations, one of which is retained for the cover of the CD.
For most of the story, Barney has a series of improbable experiences with his caveman friend, and is never pressed by his sister or grandparents to reveal the Stig he so openly discusses. In the final episode of the tale, Barney and his sister are somehow transported to prehistoric times, and although we come unexpectedly close to '2001 - a Space Odyssey' territory, Clive King's narrative makes this magical departure believable.
The very end of the story, with Stig returning to the 20th century and becoming a petrol pump attendant, is the weakest aspect, adn I'm not surprised that some TV adaptations have chosen other endings.
Tony Robinson really brings the story to life, creating a wonderful array of children's voices from all social classes. Thoroughly recommended.