Middle School Accelerated Academy Summer Reading – Book Report/Review Example
Ramakrishna Surampudi 17 August Book Report: Boy of the Painted Cave Boy of the Painted Cave, by Justin F Denzel, is a book of history and adventure. It vividly brings to the reader a portrait of the primitive man through Tao, an unloved fourteen-year-old boy, who was born with a deformed foot. Set in Cro-Magnon times in the Dordogne Valley in Southern France, the outcast’s longing to become a cave artist and his struggle for survival stir one’s imagination as to what life would have been like during the Middle Stone Age, some 20,000 years ago.
Tao, Ram, Volt and Graybeard are the main ones in the story’s motley assortment of colorful characters. Tao yearns to be a painter but it is taboo in his tribe unless he becomes the Chosen One. Chosen Ones are special men qualified to paint in the secret caverns. Tao is prevented by default from becoming a Chosen One on account of his twisted foot. Volt who is the leader of the tribe despises Tao but in the end it turns out that he is the latter’s father. Ram is a Tao’s wolf dog companion with whom he identifies himself. They go hunting together in the Slough, the forbidden woods. Graybeard, the greatest cave painter of all, is the Shaman of all tribes. He becomes Tao’s mentor and gives him lessons in painting and the true secret of the hunt.
Tao is an orphan. His club foot is looked upon as a curse. Painting is his love but he cannot follow that dream unless he is the son of either a shaman or a hunter. He has no idea who his father is and his deformity does not allow him to be a good hunter. One day, as he has forgotten a dead rabbit that he caught, he is doomed by Volt to live in the wilderness where he befriends Ram by removing a bone splinter from his jaw. Accidentally he meets Graybeard who teaches him how to make his paintings come to life. Volt is furious to see Tao painting and he orders that he face Saxon, the sacred bull. With the help of the mirror stone given by Graybeard, Tao beats the bull and realizes his dream of becoming the cave painter. Volt, rescued by Ram from Saxon’s stampede, does not despise Tao and wolves any more.
The story, with Tao’s ‘identity crisis’ as the center of its plot, is a perfect example of how historical fiction can closely relate to the events in the lives of people in the contemporary world. Tao disobeying his clan and boldly pursuing his dream of painting, pulling through seemingly impossible hardships, is an inspiring lesson on why it is important to do what one believes in. The story depicts an average kid’s steady and miraculous transition from superstition and magic to common sense and knowledge. The book is worth reading for every one not only because of its profound theme but also because of its elements of action, excitement and suspense that leave behind a highly gratifying reading experience.