Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE SECRET CAVE by Emily Arnold McCully Kirkus Star


Discovering Lascaux

by Emily Arnold McCully & illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2010
ISBN: 970-0-374-36694-0
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Part Hardy Boys, part archeology, this mesmerizing look at the discovery of the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux invites today’s readers to experience the wonder of the event. McCully has written and drawn a stunning fictionalized account based on historical records and interviews. The endpapers entice with the rendering of the maps of the caves, and soft, wide watercolor strokes capture the essence of the prehistoric art. When the action is aboveground, the realistic illustrations are her characteristic ink-and-watercolor style, but below the ground the edges soften and the images become shadowy and mysterious. The Caldecott winner gets the emotions of the secret descent for buried treasure just right, drawing readers' eyes down the tight shaft to the light of the first boy’s lantern in the large art-filled chamber. In one glorious wordless spread, the boys (and readers) are filled with awe at the revelation of the pristine art. What to do with this knowledge? The boys know just whom to trust. Budding historians will be amazed by this story of curiosity and serendipity. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-7)