cover image Stone Age Boy

Stone Age Boy

Satoshi Kitamura, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3474-2

Kitamura's (Me and My Cat? ) invites readers to explore the Stone Age with this accomplished story of a boy who falls through a hole in his dull, gray environment and somehow emerges into a grassy, wild world. There he meets a girl: “I don't think I looked like any of the boys she knew,” he says as she feels his navy-blue pullover, inspects his pale-blue sneakers and tries on his glasses. She leads him to her family's settlement, where “people had no knives or forks, no plastic—not even any metal.” In step-by-step, captioned illustrations, readers observe how to start a fire; dry meat on wooden racks; and warm liquid “by putting a red-hot stone into a leather bag.” The tribe also spears a reindeer and dances to celebrate. “I joined in on air guitar,” the boy jokes, jamming in the background. Without superfluous gore, Kitamura depicts dead caribou and draws Lascaux-like cave paintings that acknowledge the importance of animals. (The author pictures mammoths and other fauna on the end pages too, but only a bear participates in the drama.) An imaginative way to kindle interest in, and admiration for, the people of a far distant era. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)