The Witness Tree and the Shadow of the Noose: Mystery, Lies, and Spies in Manassas

The Witness Tree and the Shadow of the Noose: Mystery, Lies, and Spies in Manassas

by K. E. M. Johnston

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—In Discoveries, George Shriver, of Gettysburg, PA, joins the Cavalry after the Civil War breaks out. As Union and Rebel soldiers march into town, his wife, Hettie, and daughters head for the presumed safety of Hettie's parents' farm. However, she soon finds herself tending to the wounded while the girls hide in fear. Cook vividly depicts the sights, sounds, and smells of the fighting and its aftermath. Unfortunately, the battle story is brief. The remainder of the book concerns the children discovering long-forgotten family items and reminiscing about their father, who died in Andersonsville prison. Although replete with facts about the war and the Shrivers, a real family, the novel lacks great storytelling. Cook's simple pencil drawings and photos from the Shriver House and Museum are welcome additions. In the gripping Witness Tree, sixth-grader Jake has moved with his family to Manassas, VA, where strange noises in his new house awaken him. Cold drafts chill his skin, and a hangman's noose appears on his bedroom wall. The boy enlists his brother, Danny, a Civil War fanatic, and their friend Raj to help uncover the truth about the house's poltergeist. Along the way they learn the history of the area and the importance of the witness tree outside the house. Readers will relate to Jake, whose voice is real and true to his age and gender, and will laugh aloud at his exploits. Both books' back matter includes historical facts and discussion questions.—Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY

Product Details

White Mane Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.28(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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