Quennu and the Cave Bear
Lorraine Douglas is the youth services co-ordinator at the Winnipeg
Quennu lives in Ice Age Europe, and the only thing she is afraid of is
cave bears. A shaman takes her people on a trek to a narrow opening in a
cliff, but Quennu has forgotten her bear tooth. When she returns to the
cave, she finds that everyone has gone inside. She overcomes her fears
and comes to a cavern where her people are singing and chanting in a
ceremony. They are also drawing images of animals on the walls; Quennu
joins in the painting.
The earthen-colored charcoal, pastel, and gouache paintings that
accompany the text are expressive in their energy and style.
This picture book would be most appreciated by children who like
stories such as Jan Andrews’s Very Last First Time (1985). In both
stories, the heroine overcomes her fears in an unusual world filled with
myth and magic. The story would also be a good tie-in for classes
studying the origins of art, since the paintings in the book’s
illustrations are similar to those at Lascaux. An explanation of the
cave art appears at the end of the book. Recommended.