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The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux

by Emily Arnold McCully

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-374-36694-0

Ages 6 - 10

French schoolboy Jacques Marsal had seen remnants of prehistoric drawings on cave walls in France on a school field trip. But people had scratched their initials in the walls, too. “Years ago people didn’t understand what this was and added their own marks,” his teacher explained. “They desecrated this place.” Jacques remembered that desecration a few years later in 1940 when he and some friends stumbled upon a tunnel that they were sure led to a count’s buried gold. Instead, they found a different kind of treasure—undiscovered cave paintings. The works covered the walls of the hidden cave, perfectly preserved. Emily Arnold McCully’s fictionalized account of the discovery of Lascaux is based on anecdotal stories. Her author’s note provides additional information about Lascaux and cave paintings, as well as the role played by Jacques and his friends in the cave’s discovery and preservation. McCully’s illustrations, especially of the cave art, illicit a spine-tingling response not unlike that visitors to the cave must surely feel when looking at the extraordinary ancient art.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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