Cave Paintings

House of Anansi/Groundwood. Oct. 2020. 52p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781773061726.
Gr 1-3–In a future in which space travel is the normal way to get around the universe, a young boy embarks on a trip to visit his grandmother on Earth. Waiting at the space port to board while surrounded by all manner of alien creatures, our protagonist’s travel anxiety will be familiar to any child who has traveled alone or set off on a new adventure. The variety of aliens (including tentacled beasts with odd-numbered eyeballs, anthropomorphic animals, and spooky humanoids) are fascinating, and worthy of exploration. Amazed at the infinite breadth of space, the boy arrives at his beloved grandmother’s Earth, which is part technological wonder as travelers disembark the spacecraft on hoverboards with futuristic architecture in the background, part natural paradise filled with waterfalls and wildlife ripe for exploration and adventure. On one of their adventures, the boy and his grandmother enter a stalactite-filled cave, discovering paleolithic-style art from long ago. The boy contemplates the shadow of his own hand over an ancient imprint, leaving the strong impression that all are connected regardless of the passage of eons or distance across the galaxy. Longtime collaborators Buitrago and Yockteng, like Anthony Browne, are masters at creating seemingly simple tales which, upon closer consideration, conceal sophisticated themes and emotions. This book is no exception, demonstrating that there is both joy to be found in the mundane and wonder to be found in the infinite expanse of the universe.
VERDICT A work at once both limitless and grounded, the imaginative illustrations will be especially appealing to lovers of science fiction and fantasy.

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