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No Moon Paperback – April 13, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9–Watts offers a compelling story of a British servant girl's experience on the Titanic's catastrophic voyage. Wanting to provide financial support for her large family, Louisa, 14, takes the post of nursemaid for a wealthy family. The overbearing nanny criticizes her every move, but Louisa thrives in the position. Then the nanny has an accident days before the family is to sail to New York, and Louisa must either go in her place or lose her job. Haunted by the drowning of her baby brother when she was younger and for which she feels responsible, Louisa insists that the children practice putting on their life vests. When the fateful collision with the iceberg occurs, Watts documents the chaos and emotions realistically. Some of the encounters that Louisa has with the famous and infamous passengers are a bit contrived given Louisa's stature in society, but the encounters do aid in creating a glimpse of the environment on the ship. This book doesn't cover new ground, but the author's portrayal of Edwardian life for both the wealthy and the working classes and her creation of a believable Louisa make No Moon worth reading.Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* After her baby brother's accidental drowning, Louisa develops a fear of water that will haunt her in ways she can't begin to imagine. As a young teen in 1911, she jumps at the chance to become a nursery maid for a wealthy London family, even though it will mean living apart from her own tight-knit family. Lou then enters a world of titled English privilege, the details and nuances of which will intrigue many readers. She has to tread carefully around the harsh dictates of Nanny McIntosh and navigate the complex household while growing to know and love her young charges. When asked to accompany the family on the Titanic's voyage to New York, Lou is fairly terrorized at the prospect. Off she goes with forbearance and courage, however, and Watts provides a fascinating account of what the great unsinkable ship was like. The catastrophe is rendered in a heartbreakingly graceful style, and Lou performs heroically in shepherding her two little girls to safety on a lifeboat in this uniquely engaging and satisfying coming-of-age historical adventure tale. Grades 6-8. --Anne O'Malley
Top customer reviews
The Good Things:
This is a great book for children who are reluctant or beginning readers. The story is simple, easy to follow, short, and moves along quickly. It provides a nice contrast between the people of the working-class and upper-class in England during the early twentieth century, and even hints at the burgeoning of the women's rights movement. I could see elementary school teachers reading this aloud in their class to complement a history unit for this time period. It brings up a lot of things to reflect and learn about, such as women's rights, marriage practices, work practices, family dynamics, etc., which makes it a great starter for a unit.
The Bad Things:
As an adult reader, I was a little disappointed in story's lack of complexity. I think that the emotional response of the Titanic's sinking could have been explored further. Instead, the characters said something along the lines of, "Oh, this is so terrible!" And then the story moved on. On a related note, the characters also seemed over-simplified, and I would have liked to see more growth or change within the side characters.
Overall, I think this is a great introduction to the story of the Titanic and it introduces topics that children could research and explore on their own. It'd be a good pleasure read for kids interested in the subject, but I could definitely see elementary school teachers using this in their classroom as an introduction to early twentieth century England and the Titanic.
*I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.*
In 1902 when Louisa Gardener was five, her parents took her, her older sister and two-year-old brother on a rare holiday to the seaside. Little brother Johnny was tragically drowned, and since that time, Louisa has wanted nothing to do with the ocean.
A few years pass, and older sister Kathleen is in service, working outside the home to bring in badly needed money. Even though she longs to have a job like Kathleen, her mother needs her to stay at home to help with cooking, cleaning, and caring for her younger brothers and sisters. Finally Louisa gets her chance, becoming a nursemaid to a wealthy London family. Even though she's bullied unmercifully by Nanny Mackintosh, Louisa loves her work, and she loves the children for whom she cares.
Everything is all right until the fourteen-year-old learns that the family has booked passage on the Titanic. Is Louisa going to be able to overcome her nightmares and fear of the sea to go with her employers, or will she stay home, lose her place and any chance of rising above her working class life?
The narrative moves quickly-- everything seen through the eyes of young Louisa. She chafes at being made to stay home with the endless cleaning and cooking, just like any other young girl would, but she doesn't complain all that much. She's working-class, and she knows that the only way she'll ever rise above is by hard work.
When she moves on to work as nursemaid to a wealthy London family, she lets us see the differences between her own home and a home of a privileged family. Her quiet struggles with Nanny Mackintosh really made me cheer Louisa on because it showed that the girl truly did have the gift of raising children.
Throughout the book, Louisa was full of practicality and common sense without ever seeming like an adult in disguise, but her story really came to life at the end. It was a pleasure to watch Louisa make each choice that would effect her life. It was a pleasure to inhabit her world for a little while. I would be very pleased indeed if Watts shared more chapters of Louisa's adventures.