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11,000 Years Lost

11,000 Years Lost

4.3 4
by Peni R. Griffin

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A vivid, exhilarating peek at our prehistoric past, now available in paperback

This action-packed, fully-imagined time travel book takes a young Texan girl, participating in an archaeological dig, back to the time of the mammoth. There Esther is adopted by a group of mammoth hunters, who teach her to forage for food, make clothes, build fires, and protect


A vivid, exhilarating peek at our prehistoric past, now available in paperback

This action-packed, fully-imagined time travel book takes a young Texan girl, participating in an archaeological dig, back to the time of the mammoth. There Esther is adopted by a group of mammoth hunters, who teach her to forage for food, make clothes, build fires, and protect herself from the megafauna who roam the land-scimitar cats, panthers, and more. Even as she grows attached to her new family and proud of her many skills, Esther searches for a way home.

Editorial Reviews

Eleven-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
Children's Literature
Eleven-year-old Esther becomes a blooming archeologist after she discovers an eleven thousand year-old spearhead near her schoolyard. Immediately and magically she is pointed into the distant past of Clovis mammoth hunters originating at the quarry and moving about forty miles with her adopted nomadic family group during two and one half months. Named Esster, tagged as star-child, and gifted with wazicat magic, she courageously adapts to the primitive diet, mysterious language, and unusual rituals as she strives to maintain her well being by skirting loneliness and enduring family conflict. Brief chapters laced with suspense, humor, and prehistoric information offer readers a glimpse of day-to-day life during the Pleistocene era. In many scenes, Esther shares the future. The Heimlich maneuver saves adopted sister Tekinit who chokes on a chunk of snake. Sayings prevail as Esther tries to acclimate and accept her fate—"counting mammoth" instead of sheep lends a hand for sleep or "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." The traditions of Hansel and Gretel are alive as Esther marks sites with a neon pink shoelace or forms her initial E with rocks in case she's able to backtrack to her Texas home. A map illustrates the group's territory and travels along with a family tree. Griffin invented a vocabulary (glossary) that includes everyday terms. Males are named after animals while females have plant names. Her research is highlighted with notes, a partial bibliography, and websites inviting readers to make discoveries of their own beyond this fascinating time-travel adventure. Another title readers might enjoy, The Timespinners by Luli Gray, tells of twins traveling back in time to theIce Age and meeting Neanderthals. 2004, Amulet Books, Ages 9 to 14.
—Barbara Troisi
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-This uneven time-travel novel features archaeology-loving Esther, an 11-year-old living in Texas. She spends much of her summer vacation hanging out at a dig near her school. She becomes friends with the scientists who work at the site and is often of help to them. When she unknowingly walks through a simmering light among some trees, she is transported back 11,000 years. Esther is quickly taken in by a small clan of nomads, some of whom believe she brings good luck. Quickly enough, she learns their language and customs and travels along as they search for food, hunt for mammoth, and attend a large clan gathering, all the while searching for a portal back to modern times. The strong point of this novel is Griffin's research, which is clearly thorough. Unfortunately, her attempt to educate readers is at the expense of plot and character development. Conflicts arise from time to time as not all clan members believe Esther is good luck, but the group often settles problems calmly and she is never abandoned. The personalities of the prehistoric people never move beyond being either good or bad. Esther's time in the past drags on for many months and climaxes when she teaches the clan to line dance as a means of conflict resolution. A strictly additional purchase for those libraries in need of prehistoric fiction.-Karen T. Bilton, Somerset County Library, Bridgewater, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An 11-year-old finds herself in prehistoric Texas, where family politics are as confusing as the ways to kill a mammoth. Archaeology-mad Esther falls backwards 11,000 years, to a time of climate change and food shortages. The people she encounters think she's from the stars and either love or fear her. With the help of her new family, Esther learns the language and the rudiments of hunting and gathering-but despite her affection for her clan, she wants to go home. Esther's story avoids the common pitfalls of time-travel tales, in which the plucky heroine bestows modern values upon grateful primitives (although she does teach the Heimlich maneuver). Rather than discuss feminism or equality, she uses the clan's reverence of her as the star-child to improve the lot of an outcast girl. Ultimately, prehistoric people are much like modern folk: some lovable, some not so much. Esther's adventures in the messy world of late Ice Age Texas provide a compelling and believable read. Likable characters populate a fully realized world. (author's note, map, bibliography) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are Saying About This

From Jean M. Auel, author of Clan of the Cave Bear:
"Traveling through time, Peni Griffin's 11-year-old, or 11,000-year-old protagonist, Esther, explores Pleisctocene Texas during a time when megafauna, not buffalo, roamed. She's the perfect hero for young women -- intelligent, witty, inventive, strong, compassionate. Taken in by a family of hunter-gatherers, Esther struggles to survive, as does her surrogate family, by cooperating and sharing as they travel through a harsh landscape looking for food. And, like my Ayla, Esther looks for a way to return to her own people. This is a trip well worth taking, an altogether enjoyable read, regardless of age."

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11,000 Years Lost 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
11,000 Years Lost by Peni R. Griffin is a wonderfully written book for kids (and adults!). A girl finds an arrow head and soon there is an archaeological dig going and she gets to be there during the summer. The last day they are going to be there, she is looking for anything else so the team will stay and dig more. What she finds is a portal. She finds herself 11,000 years in the past. The story is awesome. The people think she is a star-child and has magic or good luck. She learns first hand how the Clovis people really lived and what life back then was like. The whole time she is looking for another portal back. This book keeps you on your toes. There are surprises constantly, great interactions between the characters, great plot and written so well you feel you are back with her experiencing these things. Great job! I would say this book if for kids about seventh grade or so. It is a long book but worth every page, you don't want it to end. Loved it!
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