Moon Over Tennessee

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Overview

A moving personal narrative in the form of a journal, this powerful poem tells the story of one boy’s journey into war—and the horrible climax at Gettysburg.

A thirteen-year-old boy sets off with his father from their farm in Tennessee to join the Confederate forces on their way to fight at Gettysburg. Told in the form of diary entries.

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Overview

A moving personal narrative in the form of a journal, this powerful poem tells the story of one boy’s journey into war—and the horrible climax at Gettysburg.

A thirteen-year-old boy sets off with his father from their farm in Tennessee to join the Confederate forces on their way to fight at Gettysburg. Told in the form of diary entries.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"I rode from Gettysburg to Tennessee and I saw the country weeping," says the unnamed 13-year-old narrator to his mother after the spring and summer of 1863, during the Civil War. Told through free-verse stanzas in diary format, the novel communicates the boy's strong love of his Tennessee farm: "I've lived here long as I remember,/ carved into this family like my daddy's name/ cut deep into the oak that stands/ there at the corner of the field." The narrator explains that he's going off to war "not because my daddy thinks the South should fight against the North but we've been so long a piece of Tennessee." Some readers may think the book's disavowal of slavery as a decisive factor in the war teeters close to revisionist history, but Crist-Evans supports the main characters' stance throughout the text; the narrator's best friend is a free African-American, and the father shares their meager rations with an escaping slave family on their journey. The boy himself does not engage in combat, but cares for his father's horse until the battle at Gettysburg, which exacts a devastating personal price. Christensen's (An Edible Alphabet) haunting black-and-white woodcuts capture a broad emotional range. A casual scene of soldiers and horses resting under a tree on their way to battle offers a marked contrast to a searing image of men with lanterns searching for bodies on the abandoned battlefield. A map of the route and a concise afterword provide a historical context for this personal take on a monumental event. Ages 8-up. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
This series of prose poems traces the journey of a man and his son to join the Confederate Army in Gettysburg and the fateful battle that doomed the South. The boy narrates the story as they make their way. He describes their departure from their farm and family, the desolation of war they witness in burned buildings, injured and dead soldiers lying in fields and smoke rising everywhere. It's also the story of the boy's coming of age. On their trek, he experiences hunger and other deprivations but he's borne up by the courage of the men around him and his optimism that they will go home again. The poems are interspersed with beautiful wood engravings of the farm, their horses, soldiers resting under a tree, the battles and one of a hand waving after the boy's father has been killed. This collection would be an interesting adjunct to a unit on the Civil War for middle school students and might inspire them to write their own journals in the character of someone who lived through that period. KLIATT Codes: J-Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Houghton Mifflin, 60p. illus. map., Ages 12 to 15.
— Sue Budin
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Written in free verse, this first-person narrative tells the story of a 13-year-old Tennessee farm boy who accompanies his father to join the Confederate army in the spring of 1863. The boy cares for the horses and helps with the camp responsibilities until his father's death at the Battle of Gettysburg. This book is an evocative work, capturing the voice of innocence and hinting at the horrors of war. However, very little is made of the father-son relationship or the drama of their journey. There are a number of ripe elements that come into play, but they are dropped almost as soon as they are introduced. Still, though much of the writing is too loose and merely adequate, this book has moments of real poetry, as when the boy, watching the corpsmen lift the bodies of the dead, sees their lanterns "bob like boats," or when a yellow dog opens its wide mouth in a "fiery yawn." Beautifully illustrated with wood engravings, this selection might be good for introducing readers to poetry and thinking about history, but if you want a really good narrative poem about the Civil War, look to Andrew Hudgins's After the Lost War (Houghton, 1989).-Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618311071
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 713,223
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Crist-Evans's first book, MOON OVER TENNESSEE, won the prestigious International Reading Association/Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. The sequel, The Shadow of My Father's Hand, is currently appearing in newspapers around the country through Breakfast Serials, a nationally syndicated serial story publisher. Crist-Evans has published poetry in such journals as Artful Dodge, The Paris Review, The Prague Review, Cimmaron Review, The Kansas Quarterly, and Passages North, and has received four Pushcart Nominations. Crist-Evans teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Mercersburg Academy..
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