- School Library Journal
The Legend of Zoeyby Candie Moonshower
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… See more details below
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?
- School Library Journal
Read an Excerpt
(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 Tennesseeso 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."
Meet the Author
Candie Moonshower lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I sat down to read Zoey, thinking I would use it as a 'teacher' on how to write a novel for YA......NOT! I started 'getting into' the story....and totally forgot to learn from your writing style.....I just wanted to learn what happened to Zoey! You told about the 19th century conditions for most homesteading families, without making them sound too dreary yet getting across the essence of life without electronics. You gave the 'white man/woman' bias against Native Americans, with out being strident. Yet wove the essential 'goodness' within individual characters but still showed their individual bias. I do indeed have a lot to learn, but really enjoy learning from another friend's (you) 'personal best'. I really feel I've 'met' you for the first time in 'Legend of Zoey'.
When Zoey gets stuck in the past, she doesn't fold up and quit. Instead, she works hard to fix not only her situation, but those of the people who take her in. It's nice to read about a young heroine who, without being obnoxious or pushy, knows she can help and does so. Candie Moonshower has written a lovely book, in which past and present AND future mix and become richer for their connections.
What a way to learn history! Today¿s kids will relate to Zoey¿s distress when she¿s zapped back in time nearly 200 years, finding her modern-day creature comforts are useless. Zoey soon realizes the value of paying attention as she finds herself in a tumultuous place at a tumultuous time, racking her brain to try and remember what¿s coming next. Author Candie Moonshower weaves an intriguing tale from the point of view of not only Zoey, but of Prudence, a 19th century minister¿s daughter. Can she believe the wild tales this strange girl tells? Does she dare not believe? ¿The Legend of Zoey¿ is a fine coming-of-age story of two girls from different centuries, thrust together by happenstance and left with no choice but to trust each other in the face of great danger.
The Legend of Zoey is my idea of good historical fiction. I loved the interweaving of lives past and present and the representation of the ongoing struggle of identity for certain groups of people. I especially loved the differences between Zoey's way of life and Prudence's.