The Dragon Whistler

The Dragon Whistler
Now available in paperback.


Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

For the last couple of years, it's taken me a while to get around to reading the Newbery books -- not sure why that is, or why I don't ever seem to read them before nom time. Maybe I have some baggage from childhood, I only LOVED two Newbery books back when I was a kid (The Witch of Blackbird Pond and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) so I tend to resist. However, the last few years I've adored all the winners and this year is no exception.

Moon Over Manifest is a sweet but intense story of 12 year old Abilene who has spent her childhood "riding the rails" with her father. When he sends her away to live in the small town of Manifest with the Pastor who raised him, Abilene is confused and hurt. The story takes place in the summer of 1936 during the Depression, as Abilene searches the memories of the townspeople -- especially the town diviner, Miss Sadie -- for information about her father.

To give any more details would reveal too much, but with elements of social hardships, prejudice, and social injustice, Vanderpool creates an emotional and telling glimpse into early 20th century life in the midwest. Abilene is real and likable, taking the reader with her on her investigation into the town's secrets in a way that makes the book hard to put down.

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