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The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux

Jacques, Jojo, Simon, and Marcel were looking for buried treasure when they explored a cave in the south of France in 1940. But the treasure inside was not what they expected, and in fact far more valuable: the walls were covered with stunning prehistoric paintings and engravings, preserved within the sealed cave for over 17,000 years. This is the true story of the boys who discovered theĀ cave of Lascaux, bringing to the modern world powerful examples of the very beginning of art.

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  1. Z Hayes says

    The Amazing Caves of Lascaux Years ago, back in 1940, in Montignac, France, four boys made a startling discovery. Jacques, Jojo, Simon, and Marcel discover a series of tunnels leading to Lascaux, a cave beholding some of the earliest paintings dating back 17,000 years! This book is a retelling of the original discovery, and is conveyed in picture book format, suitable for young children.The story reads like an adventure, with an element of suspense as to what the boys will discover when they go exploring, and later, as to how this discovery changed the boys’ lives; how the Second World War affected the discovery; and, the post-war publicity. The author’s note at the back of the book explains how these 600 paintings, and 1,500 engravings withstood the ravages of time (the cave itself had been sealed, and the protective layer of chalk prevented the erosion of the paintings). Since then, the paintings have been ravaged by time because of exposure to microorganisms brought in by human visitors, and exploration of the cave is presently restricted to scholars. This is a fascinating story that will appeal to young history buffs.

  2. Kirsten G. Cutler says

    lovely historical fiction picture book This is a wonderful picture book story about the discovery of the famous Lascaux cave by some French school boys. Based on memories collected years later, the information about its exact discovery is considered fictional although the cave is real as is the incredible prehistoric art the boys found by exploring the cave. Interestingly, during the war, the Resistance used the cave “as a secret storehouse for munitions” The cave was reopened for visitors in 1948 and two of the discoverers “guided the first visitors and were appointed official guardians and guides. One remarkable fact about this cave is that because it was sealed for over 17,000 years, the artwork was vibrantly colorful. As time went by, the presence of so many visitors began a process of deterioration. Subsequently, the original cave was copied and then closed to all but scholars. The illustrations are stunning, and show the sequence leading up to the discovery of the cave art; a few examples of the cave art are included. The author’s note is very informative, and she includes a brief bibliography for readers interested in learning more about this remarkable discovery.

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