When the holidays were over, my grandmother gave me some presents.
They were my grandfather’s, and before that, his grandfather’s.
They were good for making marks on paper. She gave me that too.
And I used them on the way home to draw what I could see out the window.
Because what I could see was infinity.
A young boy travels on a spaceship to visit his grandmother on Earth for the summer holidays. Before takeoff, the boy eagerly looks out at the wide expanse of stars surrounding the space station. Around him, other travelers say goodbye to their families and chat with new acquaintances. To reach its destination, the spaceship crosses swirling galaxies, flying past suns and planets as Earth appears in the distance. The boy is overjoyed to see his grandmother. Together, they explore a cave with a hidden secret. At the very back, there are ancient handprints and drawings of animals made by humans. The boy marvels at the paintings. As a parting gift, the boy’s grandmother gives him a set of pencil crayons, and the boy draws scenes from his holiday, giving shape and colour to his precious memories.
Like many of Buitrago’s previous books, Cave Paintings is a study in understatement. With few words, Buitrago conveys a young boy’s inner world, tracing his journey of discovery. The boy’s grandmother is his beloved guide as they enthusiastically explore the natural wonders of Earth, celebrating their bond through shared curiosity. The boy is amazed to encounter the cave paintings and to learn about his grandfather’s love of drawing, showing readers that knowledge of the past can produce beauty and meaning in the present. Yockteng’s panoramic and nuanced illustrations depict a colourful and multi-textured landscape that spans the cosmos. Lovers of space will pour over the planets, comets and spaceships while others will enjoy exploring the diverse array of aliens, animals and humans living in this futuristic society.
Cave Paintings is an intergalactic triumph sure to inspire wonder and creativity.
Chloe Humphreys works as a Youth Services Librarian at Surrey Libraries in beautiful British Columbia.