The author/illustrator's simple story follows closely the conjectures that experts have put forth about the probable origins of the cave paintings at Lascaux. This describes a day in the life of a boy assigned to aid the magician/painter. The old man's scenes of the chase are done before, not after the hunt, to give the cave men courage. Collecting the clay paints, making the brushes, setting the lights and carrying messages to the waiting hunters, the boy learns by watching and listening (and the readers will, too). When the picture is finished, there is a ritual dance and all go off to take up their positions on the trail. The old man is killed, and after his ceremonial burial in the cave, the boy takes over his job. The easy vocabulary is used to good effect here. Mr. Bate has skillfully captured the manner of the cave paintings in smoky blacks and clay yellows-- animal panoramas of the sort that can be found on the cave walls at Lascaux.