- Alabama Moon
For as long as he can remember, Moon has lived deep in the woods with Pap, depending on the land to provide for their needs and maintaining a deep disdain for the government. When Pap dies, ten-year-old Moon figures he can continue to live on his own, but the state disagrees. After initially thwarting attempts by authorities to pick him up, Moon runs afoul of a renegade constable with an axe to grind against "militia" folk. Moon ends up in a boy's home but soon escapes and goes on the lam with two boys; when one of his comrades sickens, Moon is forced out into the open. Moon's guileless approach to life makes him an appealing character, especially when his vulnerability surfaces; he can handle just about any circumstance except the loneliness that threatens to overwhelm him. His adventures, however, are more readable than believable: his survivalist skills and woodsmanship are a mixed bag of reasonably credible and downright impossible feats—for instance, there isn't always water at the bottom of hills, as he asserts, and even the most determined hunter couldn't bring down a full-sized doe with an arrowhead of bone and a shaft of cattails shot from a bowstring of shoelace. The obsessed but inept constable smells strongly of Dukes of Hazzard and the big-city lawyer is a mite convenient, but readers will be glad that Moon finds a home at last, no matter how it comes about. For boys who dream of unfettered life in the great outdoors and aren't too fussy about reality testing, Moon's a bona fide hero.