Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest

by Clare Vanderpool


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375858291
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 26,462
Product dimensions: 5.24(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.86(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

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.

Read an Excerpt

Santa Fe Railway    
Southeast Kansas    
MAY 27, 1936    

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories. The one just outside of town with big blue letters: manifest: a town with a rich past and a bright future.  

I thought about my daddy, Gideon Tucker. He does his best talking in stories, but in recent weeks, those had become few and far between. So on the occasion when he'd say to me, "Abilene, did I ever tell you 'bout the time . . .?" I'd get all quiet and listen real hard. Mostly he'd tell stories about Manifest, the town where he'd lived once upon a time.   His words drew pictures of brightly painted storefronts and bustling townsfolk. Hearing Gideon tell about it was like sucking on butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. And when he'd go back to not saying much, I'd try recalling what it tasted like. Maybe that was how I found comfort just then, even with him being so far away. By remembering the flavor of his words. But mostly, I could taste the sadness in his voice when he told me I couldn't stay with him for the summer while he worked a railroad job back in Iowa. Something had changed in him. It started the day I got a cut on my knee. It got bad and I got real sick with infection. The doctors said I was lucky to come out of it. But it was like Gideon had gotten a wound in him too. Only he didn't come out of it. Andit was painful enough to make him send me away.   I reached into my satchel for the flour sack that held my few special things. A blue dress, two shiny dimes I'd earned collecting pop bottles, a letter from Gideon telling folks that I would be received by Pastor Howard at the Manifest depot, and my most special something, kept in a box lined with an old 1917 Manifest Herald newspaper: my daddy's compass.  

In a gold case, it wore like a pocket watch, but inside was a compass showing every direction. Only problem was, a working compass always points north. This one, the arrow dangled and jiggled every which way. It wasn't even that old. It had the compass maker's name and the date it was made on the inside. St. Dizier, October 8, 1918. Gideon had always planned to get it fixed, but when I was leaving, he said he didn't need it anyway, what with train tracks to guide him. Still, I liked imagining that the chain of that broken compass was long enough to stretch all the way back into his pocket, with him at one end and me at the other.  

Smoothing out the yellowed newspaper for the thousandth time, I scanned the page, hoping to find some bit of news about or insight into my daddy. But there was only the same old "Hogs and Cattle" report on one side and a "Hattie Mae's News Auxiliary: Charter Edition" on the other, plus a couple of advertisements for Liberty Bonds and Billy Bump's Hair Tonic. I didn't know anything about Hattie Mae Harper, except what she wrote in her article, but I figured her newspaper column had protected Gideon's compass for some time, and for that I felt a sense of gratitude. I carefully placed the newspaper back in the box and stored the box in the satchel, but held on to the compass. I guess I just needed to hold on to something.  

The conductor came into the car. "Manifest, next stop."  

The seven-forty-five evening train was going to be right on time. Conductors only gave a few minutes' notice, so I had to hurry. I shoved the compass into a side pocket of the satchel, then made my way to the back of the last car. Being a paying customer this time, with a full-fledged ticket, I didn't have to jump off, and I knew that the preacher would be waiting for me. But as anyone worth his salt knows, it's best to get a look at a place before it gets a look at you. I'd worn my overalls just for the occasion. Besides, it wouldn't be dark for another hour, so I'd have time to find my way around.  

At the last car, I waited, listening the way I'd been taught—wait till the clack of the train wheels slows to the rhythm of your heartbeat. The trouble is my heart speeds up when I'm looking at the ground rushing by. Finally, I saw a grassy spot and jumped. The ground came quick and hard, but I landed and rolled as the train lumbered on without a thank-you or goodbye.

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Moon Over Manifest 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 256 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know this book is supposed to be for young people, but I'm an adult and I loved it. It was a fast read and I found it hard to put down. I was anxious to see how the story would end, but once there, I hated for it to be over. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
EdNY More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you know why a book is an award winner and sometimes you don't. In the case of Moon Over Manifest (Newbery Award winner), a debut novel by Clare Vanderpool, it is evident from page one that you are reading a wonderful book. The story itself, the characters, the writing all combine into a beautifully woven tale about Abilene Tucker, sent by her father, Gideon, to Manifest, Kansas for the summer of 1936 while he goes off to work on the railroad, a dangerous place for a twelve year old girl. Hitching train rides with her father since she was tiny, Abilene jumps the train before it rolls into the Manifest depot. According to her, it's best to get the lay of the land ahead of time. Gideon had lived in Manifest for a time as a boy and has entrusted Abilene to the care of Shady, the town barkeep (in the time of Prohibition) and (long-term) interim preacher. Shady, knowing Gideon and his traveling habits, meets Abilene as she walks into town, calm as can be. She, and we, are immediately introduced to Hattie Mae Harper, the town's newspaper reporter and author of the column Hattie Mae's News Auxiliary. Abilene begins to get an uneasy feeling about Gideon and his returning to get her from the whispering going on between Shady and Hattie Mae. The following day is the last day of school for the summer and oddly enough, Shady makes Abilene attend-to get to know the local kids. Another omen regarding Gideon's return. There she befriends Ruthanne and Lettie who become her best friends. Crucial to the story is Miss Sadie, a diviner or reader of the earth and its surroundings, who while Abilene tends her garden, tells a tale of Manifest during1917 and 1918, focusing in on two boys, Ned and Jinx and their adventures, travails and dreams. How Ned and Jinx fit into the Manifest of 1936 and the lives of Abilene and Shady is slowly, lovingly unveiled. And, yes, there might have been a tear or two in my eye when I read the last chapter. If I were to ponder forever, I don't think I could think of a way to improve Moon Over Manifest. One can tell it's a labor of love. Every character is just right from Miss Sadie to Abilene and Shady, to the mean Mr. Devlin, owner of the local coal mine. The interspersing of history (Prohibition, World War I, the horrid conditions under which coal miners worked, the Midwest draught) with the lives of the townspeople to the beliefs of the times about such things as elixirs and hair tonic make Moon Over Manifest fascinating. Ms. Vanderpool's wordsmithing couldn't be better. She manages to create suspense, humor, love and heartache in her marvelous story. So take the time to treat yourself. Get carried away in Moon Over Manifest. There are many authors writing books these days. However, there are few 'storytellers' in that grand old tradition and Clare Vanderpool should now be included in their ranks.
TexRogers More than 1 year ago
I have only been really doing a lot of reading for about a year now. In this book, Abilene is cool and when she finds an old cigar box with some letters in that that give reference to a spy called Rattler, Abilene and her friends start a spy hunt. This was my first shot at trying to get into a mystery that also had historical aspects in the book on the recommendation of my teacher. I did get through the book; but, I wouldn't recommend this book for kids my age that have been reluctant readers. If you love reading and have been for years, you will like this book! Tex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably considered juvenile fiction, but I adored it. And I am way past being a juvenile, believe me. The main character, Abiline, is captivating, funny, and believable. I would not hesitate to recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book I'd recomend it to anyone.......ALL AGES!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Moon Over Manifest" by Clare Vanderpool was an amazing novel to read. To sum it up, it was about a girl whose father has sent her off to a mysterious town so the father can work. The girl feels abandoned, but when she meets a fortune teller, some girls, a nun, and the past, her adventures begin. Through heartbreaks, distress, anxiety and happiness, this story sure is a bumpy ride for emotions.
Psyche14 More than 1 year ago
I loved the mixture of characters in this story, and the moment I started reading this book I fell in love with the character and the overall storyline. This is the kind of book you just want to stare at after you've finished it. If this doesn't sound like enought to make you read it, I don't know what will. Read the synopsis.
Savannah Agee More than 1 year ago
At first for me it was hard to catch on to, but once you get a bout halgway through it great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont listnen to any of the reviews that say that this book is fine or that it sucks cause they are wrong! Best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I liked how at the end of the book how all the characters were intertwined.I would definitely recommend this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! As so many others have said, Abeline's father sends her off on a train so he can work. Later on, Abeline finds a box with letters that bring up a spy. I highly reccomend Moon over Manifest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will touch all your emotions. Fast read too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moon Over Manifest is about a 12 year old girl named Abilene Tucker who gets sent by her dad to go to Manifest, Kansas in 1936. There are 2 parts in this book. One part takes place in 1918 and the other part takes place in 1936. When Abilene arrives in Manifest, she thinks Manifest is a gloomy place and not a very cheerful environment to be in. She then finds some letters and wonders who wrote them. Abilene goes to a diviner named Miss Sadie. Miss Sadie tells a story to Abilene about the people who wrote the letters. Abilene thinks the story is false. The thing is that Abilene didn’t even tell Miss Sadie about the letters. Moon Over Manifest was a good book. I liked this book because it was really adventurous. This book made pictures in my head. It was kind of a mystery book too. I liked how the author gave good personalities to each character in the book. Moon Over Manifest is a great book for people who like adventure books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ginnydog More than 1 year ago
Definently one of my favorites! It tells amazing tale through past and present and holds several secrets that just make this book amazing and wonderful.:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Moon Over Manifest is the most clever, chilling and enveloping historical fiction book i have read in yaers!!! Trust me, once you start, there is no stoping the reading rampage you will get!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I trully loved this book! Each chapter fit together like an unpredictable puzzle. Though the ending may be easy to fortell, red-herring ascepts made the book interesting, and made you rethink your predictions. The book was trully intriguing and different! I hope you take the time to try it! I often find it is very helpful to know what other books reviewers liked in order to get an idea of their taste in books so I have written below of some of my favorite books (of this reading level): Walk Two Moons (by: Sharon Creech) The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) Out of My Mind (Sharon Draper) ... ETC.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So gooood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"""
Balina More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing. enjoyed it a lot and would recommend to everyone.
keristars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first description I heard of this book convinced me that I would like it: almost every element is one that I tend to love in my fiction. There's a complex, nested narrative that uses newspapers and letters; there are two timelines woven together, and both are historical; the story involves World War I on the homefront in one narrative thread and the Great Depression with drifters in the other; finally, there are mysteries to be solved as Abilene Tucker learns about her place and the world and what makes a place 'home'.I did like the book. While reading it, I saw other reviews that indicated the fantastic opening was a false start and the story got slow and petered out around the middle, which made me a bit apprehensive about continuing on, but I found that this wasn't the case at all. I do think that the first few chapters are the strongest, but that is mainly because they hold a completely different purpose to the last part of the book. The first part has Abilene wary and ready to run from Manifest, Kansas, and so the observations she makes reflects that. In the second part, she has begun to accept Manifest as a potential home, and she has grown to know the townsfolk well, so her observations and what she feels about everything changes.If there's anything that really bothered me about the book, it's that the second half felt like it was too full of the secondary narrative about Manifest in 1918. However, at this point, Abilene's interests are mainly in getting to the end of the story she's hearing, so it's understandable that she'd be spending most of her time listening to it, and not off doing anything else.I can see why Moon Over Manifest was chosen as a Newbery Award winner. In addition to the themes of finding one's place in the world and what makes a community into a home, there are a lot of historical elements that are interesting to read about - for example, the life of drifters during the Depression, or what it was like on the mostly rural homefront during WW1... there is also some discussion about immigrants in that time, involving the orphan train and the Ku Klux Klan; Prohibition is featured, and so is the Spanish flu, and what it might be like to live in a company town. None of these elements are as important as the thematic ones, but they are nonetheless things that were important at that time, and which would be part of the background noise of any story taking place in 1918 or 1936.Ultimately, the mystery that Abilene sets out to solve when she gets to Manifest has a fairly obvious answer to the reader who knows what the clues would look like, but that's not the point of the book. It's a character piece, and the purpose of the book is to show how these characters all find their place, and I liked it.
KarenBall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"If there was one thing I was learning about the town of Manifest, it was that Secret was its middle name." Abilene Tucker is arriving in Manifest Kansas by train, alone, at the end of May in 1936. Her father, Gideon, will be working on a railroad job in Iowa for the summer, and she can't stay with him. The solution is to send her to the tiny town where he grew up, to stay with Pastor Shady Howard of the First Baptist church. Abilene has been bouncing from place to place with her father for years, and has never had a real home, so she's very interested in finding out more about her father's home. The people of Manifest are a disappointment at first, until she finds a cigar box full of letters and keepsakes, and Miss Sadie the Diviner starts telling stories. Manifest in 1918 had some wild characters, some slimy villains, a scary nun, the spooky gypsy (Miss Sadie), a few visits from the Ku Klux Klan, immigrants from more than a dozen countries, and a spy known only as "the Rattler." Using the old issues of the local paper for more information, Abilene and her new friends work on solving the mystery of the identity of the Rattler, while discovering long-buried secrets from Manifest's past that also affect the present. Historical fiction, with separate fonts and voices for the two time periods, 6th grade and up.
dawnfires on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
SummaryA twelve year old little girl named, Abilene is alone in her hometown in Kansas while her father is off working, and starts to begin to learn about the past because of an article in the newspaper by Miss Sadie. Abilene is learning about the history of her father's hometown during WWI and the depression.Personal ReactionI didn't know what to think of the book when I bought it to read but when I started it I loved it. I really did just pick another book to read for this assignment, but didn't realize how much I would recommend this book for anyone. I loved her name and how she wanted to learn about the history of her father's hometown. I grew up in a small town in west Texas, so I felt like I could kinda put myself in her shoes and truly enjoyed this book. Classroom Extension Ideas1. This book would be for the older kids, because there are things brought out in this book that younger kids shouldn't be reading about. 2. There are so many great history facts in this book about WWI, the depression and many more history facts during the 30"s.
M_Behr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this for my Children's Lit course at UIUC. WOW. The characters are wonderful! I adore their names and personalities. I love how Miss Sadie tells stories of the past (though admittedly sometimes the transition is a bit rough). I can fully understand why this won the Newbery Medal and I am excited to read it again.
Booklady123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool2011 Winner of the Newbery AwardRecommended for the 2012-2013 Pikes Peak Area Battle of the Books ListFrom the back cover: The air in Miss Sadie¿s parlor was hot and thick. I thought that sitting on one of those red velvety couches chock-full of fringy pillows was probably akin to suffocating. I took a deep breath and ventured around the room. The double doors of the parlor whooshed open. A large fleshy woman stood before me in full regalia. Her eyes were all made up; her earrings and bracelets jangled. The sign in the window said Miss Sadie was a medium. From the look of her, I¿d have said that was a bit wistful.Thinking she hadn¿t seen me, I turned to make a clean getaway.¿Sit down,¿ she said, her voice thick and savory, like goulash. She put her hands flat on the table. ¿Let us see if today the spirits are willing to speak.¿ Suddenly, it became clear: A diviner. A medium. This woman was a fortune-teller and a spirit conjurer. If you believed in that sort of thing.What I liked about the book: This was an ok story. I liked the characters well enough, but I just didn¿t think it was special enough to be a Newbery. In the last five years or so, I¿ve had a hard time seeing what the committee members see in their selection.What I didn¿t like about the book: The story drug on on a little too long. There wasn¿t enough excitement in the story to keep my interest for the entire book and I had to force myself to finish. If it had not won the Newbery I wouldn¿t have bothered to finish it.AR Level: 5.3Recommended for 4th Grade and up.Mrs. Archer¿s (aka Booklady) rating: 3 of 5.