cover image Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art

Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art

Hannah Salyer. Clarion, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-3584-6984-1

“The lives of our ancestors were filled with difficulties and danger,” explains this visually stunning global survey of cave and rock art, “and yet, for thousands of years and despite their struggles... they took the time to create.” Ancient artists carved and painted on rock walls, wielding handmade tools and pigments to make drawings whose “figures dance, leap, and run” in glimmering sunset or firelight. Salyer employs ceramic sculpture, photography, colored pencil, charcoal, pigment, and digital media to recreate the settings and details of artistic “time capsules” both ancient and modern-day—one magnificent double gatefold depicts lantern-bearing explorers coming upon extensive cave drawings reminiscent of those at Lascaux. Representing the figures mostly in shadow and silhouette, the vibrant spreads attend time- and place-spanning information about symbols used, now-extinct animals depicted, site specifics (many, for example “have unique soundscapes: Deep, resonant chambers”), and connections to Indigenous communities. It’s a fascinating look at a still-unfurling human history. Extensive back matter includes a geographic overview and a brief background of Lascaux. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)