The Legend of Zoey

The Legend of Zoey

4.9 10
by Candie Moonshower

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Zoey's family has a strange feeling about the two-tailed comet in the sky. But that doesn’t mean Zoey will let them chaperone her class field trip to Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee—especially since Grandma Cope grew up near there. What if Grandma tells everyone about being a Native American? Zoey has no interest in her family’s past. All she wants is

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Zoey's family has a strange feeling about the two-tailed comet in the sky. But that doesn’t mean Zoey will let them chaperone her class field trip to Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee—especially since Grandma Cope grew up near there. What if Grandma tells everyone about being a Native American? Zoey has no interest in her family’s past. All she wants is for her parents to get back together, and for herself to fit in at school. She doesn’t know what’s hit her when, during the bus ride to Reelfoot, she’s propelled back in time to 1811, when the lake was formed!

Now Zoey’s cell phone doesn’t work, there’s no fast food in sight, and massive earthquakes keep rattling the land. Prim, proper Prudence Charity and her way-too-pregnant mother are the first people Zoey sees, but they don’t believe her story—until they meet up with Chickasaw Chief Kalopin and his beautiful Choctaw bride. Kalopin is convinced that the Great Spirit has cursed him for stealing Laughing Eyes from Chief Copiah, and that soon, the river will swallow up his village and everyone in it. Zoey knows they’re headed for disaster, but can she find the courage to save them?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Riveting . . . a compelling first novel."
- School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
Stuck with a midwife mother and embarrassed by her Native-American grandmother, Zoey struggles to be a normal teenager. Being thrown back in time does not help the situation any. During a field trip to Reelfoot Lake, Zoey is struck by lightning and wakes to find herself in 1811. She is found by Prudence, a young girl her own age. As they travel to escape an earthquake that will destroy the whole region, Zoey learns to respect her family history and accept her destiny. This book follows a fairly typical format: unhappy teenager hates her life, travels back in time to realize how good she has it, and learns to appreciate everything right before she is magically transported back the present. Despite this, the story is both challenging and engaging. The author wastes little time on the search for why and how of the time travel and instead focuses on Zoey's personal transformation. As Zoey learns the importance of the past, she also finds connections with the people she meets. Rather than state the connections directly, the author allows readers to discover and infer them from the clues that Zoey finds. This is just the type of book most girls like. While low-level readers may have trouble with comprehension, most readers will be able to easily follow the action, even if they miss some of the clues. Most boys, however, will have a hard time relating to the story.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Set in two time periods, Moonshower's novel is a riveting look at actual earthquakes in New Madrid, MO, in 1811-12 and a compelling drama. Zoey, a modern 13-year-old, is embarrassed by her Native American heritage and her midwife mother. While on a school field trip, a storm hits and she is whipped back into the past. She meets Prudence, whose mother is struggling with a pregnancy and whose minister father is away converting Indians. Prudence is enamored with Chief Kalopin, a legendary Chickasaw chief who fell in love with a Choctaw maiden. Their marriage is said to have caused the curse that changed the course of the Mississippi River and created Lake Reelfoot. The lives of these characters, some fictional and some real, intertwine amid the famous earthquakes. The narrative alternates between Prudence and Zoey, using a journal/diary format to relate the story. Zoey helps Prudence's mother with the birthing process and gains a new respect for her mother's work. The experience makes her appreciate her background and gain a knowledge of history and her ancestors. Some clever details are mixed in with the conclusion to give readers a feeling that the whole time-travel incident really happened. Moonshower captures the perfect blend of fact and fantasy, past and present, adventure and characterization to make this a compelling first novel. It's is a must-purchase for libraries in the Tennessee and Missouri regions. Other libraries should also consider it worthwhile.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.50(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Journal of

(on being 13 and other important facts)

November 23, Saturday

I turned thirteen today. Finally! I'd been dreading my birthday for weeks, because of the current situation with the Parents, but it turned out all right. We went to Grandma Cope's house and celebrated the way we have every year of my life.
Mom and Dad let me take Jillian along. I think they wanted another body there to keep things normal. But that's okay. Even though she has gotten on my last nerve since seventh grade began, I love Jillian to death. We've been friends since our diaper days at the Rainbow of Peace Preschool.
Anyway, we were all at Grandma Cope's acting like everything was normal, which was hard. Nothing has been normal for a while now. It was time to open presents (the best part!), and I opened a bag from Grandma Cope and found this gorgeous journal that I'm writing in right now.
The outside is a light brown leather and has colored beads sewn on it in a design that looks like a river flowing through a forest, with a guy riding a horse beside the river. In the sky is a shooting star, I think, but Grandma might have sewn too many layers of beads on one side. It looks kind of lopsided. But I'd never say anything. "This is so cool, Grandma!" I said, and meant it.
"What kind of design is that?" Jillian asked.
"I combined beadwork patterns from the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes." Grandma Cope laughed her rusty-sounding laugh. "Something I learned from my grandmothers."
I fingered the beads. "You love rivers, don't you?"
"Yes." Grandma looked at me. "Rivers are the lifeblood of the land. Rivers take us away, and rivers bring us home."
Sometimes Grandma Cope says deep stuff I don't understand.
"Grandma Cope lived near the Mississippi when she was a little girl," Mom said for Jillian's benefit.
"Yes, in Chickasaw Country." Grandma always calls West Tennessee Chickasaw Country even though it hasn't been called that for almost two hundred years.
"Who's the man on the horse?" I asked her.
"That's a Chickasaw chief." Grandma's eyes twinkled. "And that's a mule."
Jillian and I took one look at each other and burst into laughter. "Mule Day!" we both shouted. In sixth grade, our social studies teacher, Ms. Simpson, took us to Columbia, Tennessee, Mule Capitol of the World, for Mule Day. Who'd ever think of celebrating a mule?
"Why would an Indian chief be riding a mule?" I asked Grandma Cope. "Wouldn't he be on a fast stallion?"
"A stallion is fast. A mule is strong. For a long journey, a chief might decide a mule served him better." Grandma smiled.
All the talk of mules and journeys began to bore me. "How about some cake?" I said to Grandma Cope.
She gave me one of those piercing looks of hers. I guess I never realized that mules are one of her favorite things.
"Yes, let's have cake," Mom said. "I've got to head over to Mrs. Brady's house soon. Her baby might come today."
"Oh, great," I mumbled. Mom must have heard me, because she shot me one of her looks. But I didn't care! This was my birthday. I didn't like the thought of sharing it with some squalling newborn.
Dad patted my arm, but I could tell by how he was biting his lip that he was mad, too. Mom and Dad separated after Mom quit her nursing job to be a midwife. During one of their last arguments before Dad moved out, I overheard Dad tell Mom that he resented her throwing away her career to birth babies. Mom hollered that she was pursuing her calling. Dad hollered back that he guessed he would never pursue his calling. I didn't even know he had a calling. I thought he liked being an accountant.
Mom bustled into the kitchen and reappeared with my cake. The candles were burning. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to me.
"Time to make a wish!" Jillian said.
I closed my eyes and wished that Dad would move back home. I blew out all the candles with one big puff, but I didn't have much hope that my wish would come true. I'm thirteen now, and it's time to get over birthday wishes, shooting stars, and junk like that.
But I love my new journal. Grandma Cope always seems to know just what I need.

November 25, Monday

Today in social studies we talked about the geography of Tennessee—so boring. I do not care how many rivers run through Tennessee, or that we live in one of the top states in the country for camping and fishing. Rivers mean nothing to me. I hate camping and I detest fishing. Camping is just a weird way to be separated from indoor plumbing.
And fishing is just as bad. My counselor tried to teach me how to fish at Girl Scout camp one year and I hated it. It's smelly and disgusting. I'd rather sit around listening to Grandma Cope's olden-days stories all summer than go camping or fishing!
But I digress.
Social studies is still my favorite class of the day, though, because I do like history, and Ms. Drummond talks more about history than she does about social studies, whatever that is. Robbie Jamison and Quentin Williams are in my class, and so is Mike MacPherson. Mike's not as cute as Robbie, but he's smart, and he knows some weird stuff. I remember weird stuff, too, but I try not to advertise it.
"We're going on a two-day field trip next month," Ms. Drummond said at the end of class as we were all trying to stuff our junk into our backpacks without her seeing us. She hates it when we don't wait for the bell to ring to pack up. "We'll travel to West Tennessee to see Reelfoot Lake in Obion County, a lake formed during the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812."
"Yeah, but what'll we do that's fun?" Quentin asked. Everyone laughed.
"I'm glad you asked. We'll take a steamboat ride on the Mississippi. The first steamboat that traveled down the Mississippi was the New Orleans. Nicholas Roosevelt and his wife were on the river when the earthquakes struck the area. Roosevelt built boats and was the grand-uncle of future president Teddy Roosevelt."
The bell rang and we started rushing toward the door.
"Hang on! The cost of the trip is one hundred dollars, and we need some parent chaperones," Ms. Drummond shouted. "Take these permission slips home."
"I bet Mom'll be glad to get me out of her hair for a few days," I said to Jillian as we headed to lunch. "She says I've been 'sullen and uncommunicative' lately. What does she expect?"
"I'm sure she'll want you to have fun," Jillian said.
"I guess so," I said, "and Reelfoot Lake is better than nothing."

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