When I was a kid I had the good fortune to read Jim Kjelgard’s Fire-Hunter. After we had almost given up hope, the San Bernadino County Library located its copy and lent it to us via inter-library loan. So I had the good fortune to read it again. Wow. What a great book.
Fire-Hunter is the story of Hawk, a sort of “stone-age Tom Swift,” and his main squeeze Willow. Hawk is banished from his tribe for a crime he didn’t commit (more or less; I’ll breeze past details like that so as not to spoil it). You might think Willow is along for romantic interest, but you’d be wrong. None of that mushy Clan of the Cave Bear stuff in this book. (Although she is, to the very limited extent that Willow factors in the book at all, a sort of a strong role-model for any girls who might inexplicably find themselves reading this book.))
Left alone to die in the paleolithic wilderness, Hawk turns the tables on fate. Instead of dying, he invents the throwing stick, the domesticated dog, and much much more. He also fends off the bad guys (and bad animals, like dire wolves and sabertoothed cats) and generally demonstrates that Bill Gates wasn’t the first high-tech entrepreneur to become rich and famous in their own time.
Of course it’s all fiction. But it’s fun. My kid joins me in giving it two thumbs up.