Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Boy of the Painted Cave

My first read for the new year!

I started and finished Boy of the Painted Cave this morning. I'm still undecided whether I would recommend this book to another adult. For a child, I would, definitely. The pre-historic setting shows a life far outside the modern child's imagination. I can only imagine what Spyder will say about eating mice!

It's a very easy read, and there is enough excitement to capture most young boys. The main character, Tao, is an outcast in many ways. He wants to be a Chosen One to paint on the cave walls, but he cannot. Because of a lame foot, he should have been left to die at birth, but his mother (an outsider herself) chose to keep him. Upon her death, he was raised by an older woman in the clan. He is already an outsider because of his differences, but even more so because he challenges the traditions of the clan in wanting to create the cave pictures. Ultimately though, he is cast out from the clan because of befriending a young wolf.

The book has several elements of conflict: man vs. nature, man vs. society, man vs. man. One idea that I hope would resonate with readers is that Tao is steadfast in his desire to learn his art. He is respectful to his leaders, but he takes his separation from his clan as an opportunity rather than the punishment that is intended.

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