In this compelling new series for older readers, each story follows a band of children living in prehistoric times. Noli has an amazing gift--the spirit of the Moonhawk comes to her in dreams and guides her. But then the spirit deserts her when she needs it most--when her world is rocked by earthquakes and floods, and the band is stalked by a demon lion.
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Grade 4-8-Noli and Suth and four younger children are journeying through Africa in search of "Good Places"-sources of food, water, and shelter-after a volcanic eruption separates them from the rest of their Moonhawk Kin. Noli has always been a channel for the spirits that advise her people and Suth has real leadership potential, but they have responsibilities far beyond their years and experience. As members of a human tribe that lived 200,000 years ago, the Kin make and use tools, store and carry fire, communicate with language and share a mythology to explain the world around them. The story of their journey is related in a simple, direct style in keeping with their relatively new ability to communicate, and in chapters that alternate with retellings of Moonhawk mythology. During their travels, they meet some lighter-skinned canyon people who still communicate in simple grunts. The initial difficulty in getting to know, tolerate, and eventually cooperate with one another highlights their varying stages of development and, in a larger sense, the overall stages of human development. Noli's Story is less sophisticated than Dickinson's A Bone from a Dry Sea (Dell, 1995) and is an easy, approachable, and evocative look at early human times. It is the second in a series of four books about the Kin, but stands on its own as a lively, concise, and convincing novel.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In this thought-provoking prehistoric adventure tale, part of a new series, Dickinson considers evolution, revisiting themes he explored in A Bone from a Dry Sea. Separated from the elders of the Moonhawk clan after an attack by a horde of "ferocious strangers," Noli and five other children roam the land in search of new "Good Places" in which to hunt and gather. After a volcano eruption drives them even further afield, the youngsters rescue and befriend a wounded man they dub Tor. Skilled with tools yet unable to speak beyond simple hoots and grunts, enigmatic Tor forces the children?and the reader?to examine what it means to be human. Likewise, Noli's various shaman-like encounters with her own clan's totem animal and the hitherto voiceless spirit guide of Tor's people provide an opportunity for Dickinson to ponder the nature of the sacred. The Moonhawks' encounter with the rest of Tor's people and their joint battle against a marauding lion make for an exciting read. But the real adventure here is the exhilarating mix of ideas the novel so nimbly sets forth. Ages 10-up. (June) FYI: Also due in June is The Kin: Suth's Story ($14.99 ISBN 0-399-23327-X; paper $3.99 -448-41709-X). Two more installments are scheduled for October publication.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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