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Painters of The Caves (National Geographic Society) Hardcover – February 1, 1998


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Children's Christmas Books
Visit the Children's Christmas Bookstore to find stories about Santa and his reindeer, cozy books to read by the fire, and sweet stories about family celebrations.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (February 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792270959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792270959
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

The bounty of this art is a celebration. The brief text by a long-admired writer is clear, informed and measured, just right for readers in the middle grades and upward. It is knit into a lustrous set of large color photographs of European cave art, well supported by modern paintings (in particular, reconstructions by Jack Unruh) and by apt photographs of ancient carvings and implements. The vigorous beauty of murals painted by the light of lamps fueled by animal fat is stunning. Here are full masterpieces--bison and reindeer, cave lions and spotted horses--done hundreds of centuries back, when woolly rhinos roamed the south of France. The carbon dating that fixes those times long before history is made credible in a simple page or two. One editorial slip labels a famous Lascaux painting by a caption that ascribes it to the cave of Chauvet. When the old painters were at work in Lascaux, the paintings in Chauvet were already about as old as Lascaux is now. Today the two appear to be of remarkably similar merit.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-8. Beginning and ending in Chauvet cave in southeastern France, this impressive work is rich in both its artwork and its text. Lauber goes well beyond descriptions of the extraordinary paintings found in the cave to give readers a true sense of the times. Drawing on fossil finds and the cave paintings themselves, she looks back at the development of early modern humans, explaining in seemingly effortless prose how the artists fit into the scheme of human evolution. We learn what Stone Age humans ate, where they lived, what they wore, why they painted what they did--with Lauber always taking care to draw clear distinctions between accepted fact, informed speculation, and ongoing controversy. The lavish illustrations are as stimulating as the text. There's an excellent map, a selection of expertly reproduced pictures of the cave paintings (including many close-ups), and some recent artwork (always clearly labeled as such) depicting the Stone Age people and their various activities. One especially fascinating picture is a computer-produced image of what a Neanderthal might have looked like. An appended section explains the process of carbon dating, and a short list of related adult books is provided. Great for browsing and for classroom use at a variety of levels, this is one armchair journey that won't easily be forgotten. Stephanie Zvirin

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Luann Udell on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My artwork is inspired by the cave paintings of Lascaux, France, and this is *the* book I take with me to shows and exhibits to explain my work. Although supposedly geared for elementary age readers, I find the book an excellent, coherent overview to this amazing art. The photographs are first-rate. The modern paintings of imagined scenes from the past are well done--attractive, detailed, well-rendered, keeping in the same spirit as the actual artwork depicted. And the text is well-written, balanced, thoughtful, rich in imagery, and sometimes poetic. The book is actually more beautifully done, and more informative, than the college texts that I studied in the 1970's about the Lascaux cave. I highly recommend this title, not only as a first introduction to this amazingly rich artwork, but as a sweet little book to round out a serious collection on the subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Students studying European cave art will find this an excellent resource. Great color photographs of many of the most famous cave pictures along with text at an appropriate reading level for upper elementary grades make this a worthwhile addition to any classroom or personal library. I use this book with my 6th grade Humanities curriculum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WeeBeaks on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book for kids on cave painters/ice age peoples. The photographs are some of the best I have seen in kids books to show the actual paintings in the caves, but in addition there are large color photos of a computer simulated face of an early modern human, tools, etc.

Chapters are as follows:
1. "Great Discovery" - intro and how Chauvet was discovered
2. "People of the Ice Age" - Brief depiction of early groups, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, what was an "ice age."
3. "A New Way of Life" - Tools invented and how that changed life.
4. "Stone Age Artists" - Early statues, beads, cave paintings including techniques
5. "What the Art May Tell" - Theories on the meaning and purpose of the art to the people
6. "The Importance of Chauvet" - Older yet as sophisticated as later, different animals, better preservation

An appendix goes into some detail on carbon-14 dating.

I found this interesting to all my school-aged children (grades 6, 3 and 1), though my 1st grader liked the pictures and my interpretation for her most. It was detailed enough to interest my 6th grader, and again the pictures helped with interest for my 3rd grader. It was the best book I have found to bridge the simpler books and the more detailed high school/adult level books on the caves, definitely a 5-star read for us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The reader on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because we are making a trip to some caves with my teenagers, and even that we are not going to Chauvet, it explained us very well about prehistoric life and art. Would totally recomend it. It is a very easy way to learn about a theme that if not well explained can be difficult for the kids to understand as it was too long ago.
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By Mrs G on October 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked the book, but it didn't provide the detail that I was expecting. Great book for middle school kids.
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