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Moon Over Manifestby Clare Vanderpool
2011 Newberry Award
Synopses & Reviews
In West of the Moon, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America.
After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent andldquo;goatmanandrdquo; in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.
Praise for West of the Moon
FOUR STARRED REVIEWS
andquot;Like dun silk shot thought with gold, Preus interweaves the mesmerizing tale of Astriandrsquo;s treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century emigration to America with bewitching tales of magic. A fascinating authorandrsquo;s note only adds to the wonder.andquot;
--Booklist, starred review
andquot;Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story.andquot;
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
andquot;Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.andquot;
--School Library Journal, starred review
andquot;Astri is like a girl out of a fairy tale, and the native folktales that Preus weaves through the narrative serve as guides, lessons, and inspiration for her.andquot;
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Set in 1936, this memorable coming-of-age story follows 12-year-old Abilene Tucker's unusual summer in her father's hometown of Manifest, Kans., while he's away on a railroad job. Having had an itinerant upbringing, Abilene is eager to connect to her father's childhood, a goal that proves difficult. The immigrant town has become rundown, but is populated with well-developed, idiosyncratic characters and has a dynamic past involving the KKK, an influenza scare, and a bootlegging operation. Manifest's history emerges in stories recounted by Miss Sadie (a Hungarian medium) and in news columns written in 1917 by Hattie Mae Harper, 'Reporter About Town.' With new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene pieces together the past, coming to understand, as Miss Sadie says, that 'maybe what you're looking for is not so much the mark your daddy made on this town, but the mark the town made on your daddy.' Witty, bold, and curious, Abilene is as unforgettable as the other residents of Manifest, and the variety of voices allows the town's small mysteries to bloom. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights, while giving insight into family and community. Ages 9 — 12. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Winner of the 2011 Newbery Award.
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.
About the Author
Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool’s first novel, is set in the fictional small town of Manifest, Kansas, which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac, home of both of her maternal grandparents. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her story. Clare lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and their four children.
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