Frances Bradburn (Booklist, November 15, 1998 (Vol. 95, No. 6))
In this sequel to Dar and the Spear Thrower (1994), 13-year-old Anooka, a child of the Salmon People, finds herself dealing with her sister's pending marriage, her intensifying sorrow and curiosity at her mother's disappearance when Anooka was a small child, and her own reluctance to take on the roles and responsibilities of a budding clans woman. Once Anooka convinces the village shaman to tell her why her mother left the clan, the old man reveals a horrible secret, and Anooka vows to find her artistic, misunderstood mother and follow in her footsteps. Although the story is set in southern France during the Upper Paleolithic era, Cowley does a remarkable job of conveying the similarities of all humankind, regardless of time period: a child's grief over and feeling of responsibility for the loss of a parent; the fear, stress, and incredible love of the caretaking parent; and society's cruelty to those who are perceived as different. These universal themes, which transcend time and place, will link today's readers with Anooka and her prehistoric clan as they begin to understand that, in spite of our differences, deep inside we are one. Category: Middle Readers. 1998, Clarion, $16. Gr. 5-8.
C. Leonard (Parent Council Volume 6)
An interesting and emotional novel about a young girl who, near the end of the Stone Age, deals with the separation of her father and mother. This is a wonderful book for comparing and contrasting the parallels between daily life in Neolithic times with the events of today. An excellent fictional choice about the prehistoric era for a young girl. 1998, Clarion Books, $16.00. Ages 10 to 12.