What the Moon Said

What the Moon Said

5.0 3
by Gayle Rosengren
     
 

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Fans of the Little House books will fall in love with Esther.

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can't keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther's family leaves their comfy

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Overview

Fans of the Little House books will fall in love with Esther.

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can't keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther's family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/18/2013
A ring around the moon, a dream about a wedding, and rain at the outset of a journey are all causes for alarm in the mind of Esther Vogel’s Russian immigrant mother. Her superstitions, combined with a lack of physical affection, make (nearly) 10-year-old Esther wonder if Ma loves her. In 1930, Esther’s life changes dramatically when her family moves from Chicago to a Wisconsin farm after her father loses his job. The house is dilapidated, with no electricity and an outhouse instead of a bathroom. Optimis-tically determined to see the situation as an “adventure,” Esther is thrilled to have horses, cows, and (best of all) a dog, and she finds beauty in the quiet landscape and excels in school. Yet what she really wants—approval, a steady best friend, and relief from poverty—are elusive. Rosengren, in her first novel, offers an intimate account of a family’s adjustment to country life and the hardships of the Great Depression. It’s easy to root for Esther, who makes the most of each day, wants little, and gives much. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Rosengren’s depiction of the Great Depression from a child’s perspective rings true . . . Sensitive and engaging." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“It’s easy to root for Esther, who makes the most of each day, wants little, and gives much.“ —Publishers Weekly

A Junior Library Guild Selection

School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 5–8—Growing up in Depression-era Chicago, Esther desperately wants her immigrant mother to be more affectionate. Faced with her father's job loss, the family moves to a small farm in Wisconsin to start over. Esther welcomes the adventure to be had in this new life-a dog, a good friend, and especially the chance to be like the pioneers. Embracing a home without electricity or running water doesn't daunt her mother and Esther hopes that by emulating that fortitude, she will earn her mother's love and warmth. It takes losing the farm and a serious illness for Esther to realize that her mother does, in fact, love her and her acts of affection may not be found in words or hugs, but rather the way in which she uses her superstitions to protect and guide her family. Told over the course of a year, the story triumphs in its small vignettes. Esther's relationship with her siblings, however, has little depth, and while the ups and downs of life on a farm are poignant, there is more telling than showing. Though the ending resolves the story neatly, it does not build to a truly satisfying conclusion. Still, readers who enjoy historical fiction or mother/daughter relationship stories may enjoy this quiet tale.—Beth Dobson, Weatherly Heights Elementary School, Huntsville, AL
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-07
A coming-of-age tale gets to the heart of family dynamics in the face of drastic life changes in the earliest days of the Depression. Esther's family moves to a farm in Wisconsin when her father loses his job. She comes to like farm life in spite of the hardships of a house with no electricity, an outhouse instead of a bathroom and lots of chores. But her overwhelming mission is to win her mother's love by being obedient and helpful, for she believes that her mother doesn't really love her, as she never hugs or kisses the girl and seems to recoil from any display of affection from her. Esther's mother sees dangerous omens everywhere: in dreams, in the configuration of the moon and in small daily occurrences. Some of these beliefs cause even more painful difficulties in their relationship, as when she demands that Esther end a friendship when she sees the girl has a mole that is, to her, the mark of angry fairies. Esther is often confused, but she's able to withstand everything that happens with resilience and a measure of hope. Every episode, whether ordinary or momentous, fills in a bit of the puzzle and leads Esther and readers to a growing understanding and acceptance of the nature of love and home and family ties. It's a quiet, old-fashioned story; Bean's black-and-white chapter heads reinforce its cozy, mid-20th-century feel. Sensitive and tender. (Fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399163524
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/20/2014
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
380,691
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Rosengren’s depiction of the Great Depression from a child’s perspective rings true . . . Sensitive and engaging." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“It’s easy to root for Esther, who makes the most of each day, wants little, and gives much.“ —Publishers Weekly

A Junior Library Guild Selection

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