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VOYAEleven-year-old Esther Aragones is fascinated with an archeological dig near her home in the Texas Hill Country. Early one morning, Esther sneaks off to the site and finds two girls gathering pinecones. Esther does not understand their language or why the little one wears no clothes, but her curiosity gets the best of her. She steps between the trees and into Pleistocene-era Texas. The sisters are part of the Clovis clan of mammoth hunters. Esther is "adopted" by their family and slowly learns how to survive in harsh living conditions where mega-fauna, such as scimitar cats and giant bears, are a constant threat, as are starvation and superstitious fears that Esther has come from the stars. Two and a half months after her disappearance, Esther walks back into present-day Texas to share her tale of time travel with Dr. Durham, the archaeologist whom the Clovis mage saw in his dreams. Griffin's research of the Clovis peoples is clearly evident in the detailed descriptions of the ancient tools, clothes, and shelters. The use of Clovis terms (glossary included) complicates reading, but young teens with an interest in prehistoric peoples will enjoy this tale of friendship and survival. Also included is an annotated bibliography of books and Web sites about mammoths and the Clovis peoples. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, 332p.; Glossary. Biblio., Ages 11 to 15.
—Ruth E. Cox