A Shooting Star: A Novel about Annie Oakley

Overview

Who says boys are the only ones allowed to have talents and use them? That's what Phoebe Anne Moses, or Annie, as she prefers to be called, would like to know. From the day Annie first picks up her father's rifle at age 8, it's clear she has a rather unusual gift. She is the sharpest shooter in the land. Her Quaker mother would rather Annie concentrate on more traditional activities like cooking and sewing. But Annie can't deny what's in her soul. It's only when she's out in the wilderness, alone with the quiet ...
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Overview

Who says boys are the only ones allowed to have talents and use them? That's what Phoebe Anne Moses, or Annie, as she prefers to be called, would like to know. From the day Annie first picks up her father's rifle at age 8, it's clear she has a rather unusual gift. She is the sharpest shooter in the land. Her Quaker mother would rather Annie concentrate on more traditional activities like cooking and sewing. But Annie can't deny what's in her soul. It's only when she's out in the wilderness, alone with the quiet and the trees and the animals, that she truly feels alive. And Annie knows the game she shoots just may save her family from a life of poverty and despair.

As one who prefers hunting over sewing, Annie Oakley breaks free from conventional behavior for girls and goes on to develop her talent as a sharpshooter and entertainer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the age of eight, Phoebe Anne Moses, heroine of this fictional biography, takes up her late father's rifle and shoots her hungry family a rabbit. It proves to be a pivotal moment: she will go on to hone her near-miraculous talent for hunting game and in the process transform herself into famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley. In her first historical novel Klass (Next Stop: Nowhere) limits her story chiefly to Annie's rough childhood. Saddled with a learning disability, abandoned to a poorhouse by her mother and later abused by an adoptive family, the protagonist is also cursed with a cloying tendency to answer rhetorical questions ("Where do ideas come from?") and speak in exclamations ("I am almost up to the happily ever after part!"). However, Annie is consistently plucky and nonconformist, and once she begins to shoot in earnest the hitherto slow-moving story becomes compelling. Her teenage efforts to pay her mother's mortgage by selling game and pelts are enough to swell readers' chests with empathetic pride. The narration sometimes misfires, but Klass's portrayal of Oakley's courageous individualism makes this tale hit the mark. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This is an exciting novel based on the life of Annie Oakley. Annie's early life was tragic. She was sent to the poorhouse where she was teased about her name, Phoebe Anne Moses. She lived with Mr. and Mrs. Wolf who treated her like a slave, and she ran away from them. A stranger paid her train fare: she won the Shooter's Hill match and married Frank Butler before she was 16. These are the facts, but into these facts the author has woven a rich story that will appeal to all who enjoy tales of adventure.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
This is a novel about the life of Annie Oakley, from birth till about the age fifteen, when she meets and marries Frank Butler and joins Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Born into a poor Quaker family, Phoebe Anne Moses is shipped off to a poor farm, then to a family who uses her badly as their servant. Annie runs away to her real family and slowly convinces them to allow her to use her sharp-shooting skills as a market hunter. A visit to Cincinnati allows her to win a shooting match that clinches her future. The first person narrative is fairly believable, aside from young Annie's opening "square-up" in which she justifies her use of guns to today's more politically correct readers.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was a fascinating woman who won her way into the hearts of audiences worldwide. This fictionalized, first-person narrative of her early life in Ohio takes place during the Civil War years and is developed from the documented major events of Annie's childhood and the beginnings of her celebrity status as an incredibly talented sharp shooter. She was born into a loving Quaker family, but after the deaths of her father and then her stepfather, she was sent to the county poorhouse and then, at age nine, to a cruel family who beat her. In desperation, she escaped and returned to her family. Soon after, her natural shooting skills began to emerge and she supported her family with her hunting talents. When she challenged and won a match with Mr. Butler, star of a traveling Wild West show, she won a husband and a new career. This account dwells on the physical abuses of Annie's childhood. The anger she may have experienced is expressed with gratuitous death threats, "I got my Pa's gun....You better be careful or I'll shoot you dead. I swear it." Would Annie, raised as a Quaker and praised by Will Rogers as a "good Christian woman," have made such threats? The "country" colloquialisms and uneven writing style detract from the story of a life that was fascinating without such embellishments.Toni Dean, Patchogue-Medford Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
From the author of Kool Ada (1991), a fictional glimpse of Annie Oakley that combines elements reminiscent of Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and Burnett's story of The Little Princess.

The fast-moving first-person narration begins during the Civil War, when Annie's father dies and the family is in dire straits. One day Annie shoots a rabbit for food, a great blessing that also distresses her Quaker mother who believes that girls should not shoot. When the financial situation becomes impossible, the family splits up and Annie begins a bleak but tolerable existence in a poorhouse. It's a black day when she is sent to help a farm family, where she is beaten, overworked, and starved. She runs away, returning to her family where she resumes the role of provider, thanks to her hunting skills. The inventive plot moves quickly, with pacing and settings that are cinematic and a great happy ending. Readers won't know if the voice of the real Annie has been captured, but this is a terrific story, with moments—e.g., when the usually careful Annie tells her life story to her future husband, or the description of the quiet of her mind when she aims her gun—that are utterly convincing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823412792
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.74 (d)

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