Join a small community in Vanderpool’s MOON OVER MANIFEST

Every morning at breakfast, my son turns on the CD player. Right now, we are listening to Hullabaloo’s Road Trip album, which I love, not only because it’s fun kids’ music, but also because I love road trips. I love everything about them–the details in the scenery that you miss from airplane, the local family restaurants you get to stop at, the greasy drive-through meals, the stupid car games, the fact that my family is stuck in a confined space, forced to answer my questions and converse with me. I love checking how many miles we have left and watching the number tick down. I love a long day of driving where you cover a lot of ground, and a long day of sightseeing where you cover almost none. I love people and places. And, even though it’s not about a road trip, that’s why I loved this book. Because it’s also about people and places, in the best possible way.

Title: Moon Over Manifest
Author: Clare Vanderpool
Genre: Fiction
Age: Middle School

Summary and Review:

I did not want to put this book down.  Ever since I met Abilene in the first few pages as she jumps off train outside of Manifest because “any fool worth his salt knows you have to get a look at a place before the place gets a look at you,” I wanted to spend some time with this girl. Abilene feels abandoned by her father, who has sent her to Manifest to live with some old friends while he stays back and works on the railroad. But she makes the best of her situation, quickly making friends and becoming a person of influence in the small town community while she strives to learn the story of her father’s past here and maybe–just maybe–figure out why he left her and whether or not he will ever come back.

The story jumps beautifully from 1936 when she lands in Manifest, to the early 1900s when her father was growing up there.  The town is full of colorful characters, made even richer because you get to know them at two different points in their lives. Propelled by mysteries large and small, the story moves along quickly powered by great writing that will make you feel that you, too, are part of this town’s history.

This would be a great book to read if you liked Chasing Redbird or Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

3 Responses to “Join a small community in Vanderpool’s MOON OVER MANIFEST”

  1. OK, I love road trips too but I’m thinking perhaps you haven’t embarked on too many since having kids (or maybe you have and you just have much easier kids than me). Watching the miles tick by is almost unavoidable in our car since we’re asked after every 5-10 if we’re almost there…and if you have any good “stupid-car-game” recommendations, I’m all ears because we’re about to embark on an 8 hour beasty in early august and I’m wide-open to entertainment ideas for a 5 and 2 year old (heavens, if only naps lasted 4 hours instead of 1…)

    • 🙂 I’ve actually taken most of my road trips since having kids. And no, mine doesn’t sleep well in the car, either… My older one is a great traveler, and the jury is out on the younger one…he’s still an infant, so we did have to stop a lot on the last one and rock him to sleep a lot because he didn’t like falling asleep in the car. I’m not sure I have any tricks, just a big basket of games in the back seat. The ones we get the most mileage (literally!) out of are flashcards (my son loves flashcards for some reason) :), magnetic games (Melissa and Doug make a magnetic tangram puzzle that is really fun), and erasable white boards or clipboards and crayons. We also bring a small journal (because it has a hard back and the paper won’t fall out) that he can draw in and stamps he can stamp with.

      Another thing we do now is let him eat in the car…it’s messy, but keeps him very happy for a long time (he’s a slow eater). 🙂 Our favorite (if you are willing to completely forget nutrition for a minute) is to stop at a McDonald’s with a play house; my husband and I eat while my toddler runs off energy. Then we get his food to go and he eats it in the car…after the apples are gone, he dips his chicken strips in the caramel sauce. Disgusting, but it’s not something he eats a lot. 🙂 And then we usually reserve a TV show or movie for late in the afternoon, before dinner when we’ve been driving all day. We used to do Sesame Street on the iPhone; now we’ve upgraded to an iPad. We have a great attachment that hangs it on the back of the front seat and he can watch a show or movie. I like to joke that my Prius with a roof rack and iPad attachment is my own personal version of a minivan with a DVD player. 🙂 Lots of good kids music is essential, I think…just listening keeps him entertained for awhile (we like Hullabaloo, 23 Skidoo, Muppets, etc.)

      What are some of the things that you do? I am always looking for good ideas! I have friends who sometimes drive through the night and let their kids sleep, but I’m not sure I’m up for that…


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