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Barbara Reid reads on the canoe dock at her family cottage on Ontario’s Severn River.

Ian Crysler

I fit reading in whenever and wherever I can, most often in subways, airports or waiting rooms. But I always make time to read on the canoe dock at our family cottage on Ontario's Severn River. The spot is shaded by a towering elm; birds, dragonflies, frogs, muskrats and the dog come and go; the light changes. It's perfect.

I first read Gregory Curtis's The Cave Painters as a library book; now, I am enjoying rereading my own copy just as much. The book is packed with information about the prehistoric cave paintings of France and Spain, the personalities around their rediscovery and the artists who created them. The writing is what makes it so special.

Telling stories with pictures is what I do as a children's-book illustrator, so I am fascinated by 40,000-year-old drawings so expressive and lively they could have been made yesterday. What especially sparks my imagination is the evidence of children in the caves, sometimes even drawing along with the masters.

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A gifted storyteller, Curtis explores various theories about the artists and writes movingly about the power, beauty and mystery of the paintings. The Cave Painters inspires as many questions as answers, which makes it a most dock-worthy read.

Barbara Reid is the award-winning author and illustrator of many children's books. Her most recent is Picture a Tree.

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