The Druid's Gift

The Druid's Gift

by Margaret Jean Anderson

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School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-- Tall red-haired Caitlin stands out among her dark-haired kin on the remote Scottish island of Hirta. Her father was one of the feared Druids, to whom the islanders pay a yearly tribute of precious food. Inheriting part of the Druids' power, Caitlin travels forward in time 1000 years. She becomes Cathan during the bloody Viking invasions, Catie in the 18th Century, and Catriona in the 19th Century. Having seen life as it will be, she returns to persuade her people to unite with the Druids for the common good. Anderson brings to life the precarious existence of the islanders, who down the centuries depend for food almost wholly on cliff-nesting sea birds, which they catch by swinging down on ropes. The harshness of island life echoes clearly through the story. Characterization is less strong, perhaps because of the time shifts, which are abrupt and not well explained. Readers are sure to be confused when, in one sentence, Caitlin becomes Cathan. Sometimes Caitlin's experience as another girl is quite short; however her life as Catie covers about five years and involves two sub-plots. Also in this interlude she starts out as a much younger child (earlier she had been a teenager). However, Anderson does give readers glimpses into a vanished way of life, and a sense of the breadth and depth of historical time. --Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library

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Random House Children's Books
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