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Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
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's review
Nov 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: junior-chapter
Read in November, 2011

Moon Over Manifest
By: Clare Vanderpool

Genre: Historical Fiction

A. 12 year old Abilene, who has lived with her father on the rail roads, is sent to live with Shady, the bar keeper/ minister for the small town of Manifest. Young Abilene finds a box of trinkets hidden in the floor boards at Shady's place. These trinkets and the stories from the mysterious diviner of Manifest lead Abilene and her new found friends, Lettie and Ruthann, to discover how Manifest became Manifest. The tale told by the diviner is the history Abilene had been searching for.

B. 1. Critique: The area for critique in this story is the historical connection.
2. Young Abilene is left to the care of Shady, a man she has never met in a town she has never been to. After she lost her compass that her daddy left to her before she was sent to Manifest, Abilene finds it on the mysterious diviner's porch. As she tries to retrieve her compass, she falls and breaks a pot. To make restitution for the broken pot, young Abilene spends days doing different work for the lady. She learns a lot about the town's past. The story is set in the 1930s. This is during the depression. People are poor, times are hard. Manifest is a town of immigrants and a town of coal mining. The flashbacks given by the diviner give insightful looks into the time of prohibition and the time when young Abilene's father ran a-muck through the town.
3. The author provides real life details about the depression, the prohibition and how life was like for the poor, the immigrants and the young. The story takes place during a summer when young Abilene is between the awkward stages of being a kid and becoming a woman. The news articles by Hattie Mae contained ads for various elixirs. This was a time that people were into the creation of the elixirs and the lack of money for medical care.

C. Curriculum Connection:
I would definitely use this story in every class from fifth to eighth grade. I think the story is excellent. The usage of the news articles and the stories from the diviner give the historical details that would otherwise be lost. It can be a connection for history, English and Social Studies.

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