By Sharon Creech


A 13 year old girl named, Salamanca Hiddle, took a road trip from Kentucky to Ohio with her grandparents. She was on a journey to see her mom. Along the way she meets new friends and learns lessons that will last her a lifetime.

Thesis Sentence: Judgments

Characters in the novel misjudge three characters because they fail to “walk two moons in one’s moccasins”; these misjudgments are later proven wrong.

Mrs. Cadaver

Mrs. Cadaver is often misjudged because of her unique look and behaviors. Phoebe and Sal meet Mrs. Cadaver and think she is creepy. “I have seen her chop down trees and lug the remains clear across her backyard. Do you know what I think? I think maybe she killed Mr. Cadaver and buried him in the backyard.” (p.32) Phoebe and Sal watch her and her actions closely and assume she murdered her husband. In the end, they find out they were wrong. “ But she didn’t murder him,” Mr. Birkway said. “Her husband died when a drunk driver rammed into his car.” (p.219) This passage shows that Mrs. Cadaver wasn’t the bad person they thought she was. Sal also does not like Mrs. Cadaver spending time her dad. "My fathers behavior was always different at Margaret's. At home, I would sometimes find him sitting on his bed starring at the floor, or reading through old letters, or gazing at the photo album. He looked sad and lonely. But at Margaret's, he would smile, and sometimes even laugh, and once she touched his hand, and he let her hand rest there on top of his. I didn't like it." (p.87) Sal is showing signs of her jealously with Mrs. Cadaver, and is worried Mrs. Cadaver and Sal’s dad like each other. Then Sal realized she had misjudged Mrs. Cadaver. “Do you love him? I had asked Mrs. Cadaver. “Are you going to marry him?” “Goodness!” She said. “It’s a little early for that. He’s holding on to me because I was with your mother and held her hand in her last moments. Your father isn’t ready to love anyone else yet. Your mother was a one of a kind.” (pp.271&272) Sal realizes Mrs. Cadaver was there as a friend and support system for her dad because she was with Sal’s mom in her last moments of life.

Mike Bickle

Throughout the book, Phoebe and Sal misjudge Mike Bickle. One day, Phoebe meets a visitor at her doorstep looking for her mom, Mrs. Winterbottom. Phoebe thinks he is a lunatic. “Sal do you detect any signs of lunacy? There doesn’t appear to be any place he could be hiding a gun. His jeans are really tight. Maybe he has a knife tucked into his socks.” (p.43) With Phoebe’s vivid imagination, she misjudges Mike as a lunatic and later finds out he was Mrs. Winterbottom’s son. “Mrs. Winterbottom said, “Mike is my son.” (p. 248) Sal and Phoebe misjudged Mike, because all along he was looking for his mom, Mrs. Winterbottom. Mike Bickle is also misjudged when Phoebe finds envelopes with messages inside on her doorstep. She wants to find out who is sending these. “The lunatic again” she said. “If he has already kidnapped your mother, why would he still be leaving messages?” (p.154) Phoebe and Sal think the person who is sending these messages is the “lunatic” Mike Bickle. Phoebe and Sal/ They were wrong about their judgment when they find out it wasn't him sending these. “ We stepped out on the porch just as Mrs. Partridge placed a white envelope on the steps.” (p.250) “It was you wasn’t it?” Phoebe said. “You’ve been creeping around leaving these things haven’t you?” "Did you like them?” Mrs. Partridge said.” (p.253) Sal and Phoebe are proven wrong about their judgment for Mike. All along it was Mrs. Partridge sending the letters and Mike had nothing to do with it. This changed Phoebe and Sal's opinion about him once they knew he wasn't really a lunatic, he was a nice guy after all.

Mrs. Winterbottom

Mrs. Winterbottom gets misjudged by lots of characters in the book. She is judged as a very respectable housewife. "Mrs. Winterbottom baked and cleaned and did laundry and grocery shopping. I had a funny feeling that Mrs. Winterbottom did not actually like all this baking and cleaning and laundry and shopping, and I’m not quite sure why I had that feeling because if you just listened to the words she said, it sounded as if she was Mrs. Supreme Housewife.” (p.30) Sal judges Mrs. Winterbottom as a supreme housewife and being respectable and perfect, but she is proven wrong when Mrs. Winterbottom confesses she was living a small life and wanted a change. “ I’ve lived such a tiny life” (p.248) Mrs. Winterbottom admits and acknowledges that she was done with trying so hard to be perfect and “Mrs. Supreme Housewife”. She didn’t like the feeling of living a tiny life. When Mrs. Winterbottom comes back after she was gone for a few days, Mr. Winterbottom judges her because she brings back her son that nobody knew about. "I said to hell with respectable!” Mr. Winterbottom said. "What’s all this about respectable? It’s not respectable I’m concerned about. I’m more concerned that you couldn’t –or wouldn’t–tell me about any of this.” (p.249) Mr. Winterbottom is mad at Mrs. Winterbottom for lying and not telling him she had a son before they had their two girls. This made him mad because he felt like he had been lied to this whole time. Then he hears Mrs. Winterbottom’s side and starts to understand. "George, I know you will think I am not–or was not–respectable, but it was before I met you, and I had to give him up for adoption and I could hardly bear to think of it and–Mike found me, and at first I was frightened of what that would mean. I’ve lived such a tiny life and I had to go away to sort things out.” (p.248) Mrs. Winterbottom was scared when Mike found her because she didn’t know what her husband and family would think, that made her afraid to say anything. She had to leave for few days so she could let herself do what her heart was telling her to do.


Characters in the book such as Mrs. Cadaver, Mike Bickle, and Mrs. Winterbottom, were quickly misjudged before others walked in their moccasins. The outward appearance and behavior of those characters caused Phoebe, Phoebe’s family and Sal to create assumptions and judgments about them. In the end, they discovered how wrong their prejudgments were. Phoebe, Phoebe’s family, and Sal learned a life long lesson. You need to get to know a person for whom they really are before judging them.