Ostrich and Lark
By Marilyn R. Nelson, illus. by San Artists of the Kuru
32 pages, ages 4-8
Boyds Mills Press 2012
“Ostrich and Lark started each morning together at first light, day in and day out. And they parted at nightfall.” What Ostrich and Lark do in between makes up this delightful tale set on the African veld. You see, Ostrich is very big, and Lark is very small. Ostrich is very quiet, while Lark sings and sings. Then one day Ostrich finds his voice and surprises everyone – including himself.
The illustrations are colorful! Bold! Based on the traditional paintings of the !Kung San people who have inhabited Botswana since before time. At times Ostrich wears a red feathered cape; other times he sports a rainbow of tail feathers and speckled leggings. One spread features insects on one side – striped flies, spotted beetles, long-snouted stylized critters that bear little resemblance to anything in my field guide – and the other page shows the Hornbill, Bee-eater, Hoopoe and other birds that feed on these insects.
The San artists of the Kuru Art Project continue the artistic tradition of their ancestors, a tradition recorded in rock paintings thousands of years ago.
Beyond the book:
There are many books about ancient cave paintings and rock art. Here are some you might find in your library:
Native American Rock Art : messages from the past by Yvette La Pierre
Stories in Stone : rock art pictures by early Americans by Caroline Arnold
African Rock Art : paintings and engravings on stone by David Coulson
Painters of the Caves by Patricia Lauber
Try your had at painting your own "cave art" or stylized drawings. You might want to paint the birds at your feeder this winter, or illustrate your own story.