By Sharon Creech


The main character Salamanca Tree Hiddle takes a road trip with her grandparents away from her home in Bybanks, Kentucky, to find her mother. On the trip she talks about her friend, Phoebe, whose life is just like Sal's. Phoebe's stories help Sal get over all the sadness and gloominess in her life.

Thesis Sentence: Judgements

Characters in the novel misjudge other people because they fail to "walk two moons in their moccasins;" these misjudgements are later proven wrong.

Mrs. Cadaver

Mrs. Cadaver is misjudged many times in the novel because of her name, what she does at certain times, and her appearance. Mrs. Cadaver is misjudged by Phoebe Winterbottom when she was vigorously digging up a bush (pg.86). Phoebe thought that under the bush was Mrs. Cadaver's husband, who Mrs. Cadaver had murdered, but all Mrs. Cadaver was doing was...well...digging up a bush. Mrs. Cadaver is misjudged again by Phoebe when Phoebe says that Cadaver means dead body; but just because her name is Cadaver, it doesn't mean she's bad or a murderer (pg. 22,23).

Mike Bickle

Mike Bickle is misjudged for many things, including him being considered a lunatic. Mike is misjudged by Phoebe when she sees him at the store. She whispers to Sal, "Look, quick, it's the lunatic (pg.64)." The reason she thinks Mike is a lunatic is because he came to their house earlier and he seemed very sweaty and nervous. Again Phoebe misjudges Mike for being a lunatic when she asks Sal if she thinks he has a knife (pg.143-145). All of these misjudgements are later proven wrong when Mrs. Winterbottom says Mike is her son (pg. 246-247).

Mrs. Winterbottom

Mrs. Winterbottom is misjudged for many things, including her attitude and feelings. Mrs. Winterbottom is misjudged by Sal when Sal thinks that Mrs. Winterbottom doesn't like being the supreme housewife (pg.30,31). Sal thinks that she doesn't like it beacause she seems sad when she gets no love and affection for what she does, like cook and do chores (pg.31,32). Mrs. Winterbottom is misjudged by Phoebe when Phoebe sees her kissing another man/boy and thinks she's having an affair (pg.235). This is later proven wrong, along with many other misjudgements, when Mrs. Winterbottom says that the boy is her son (pg.246-247).


People in the novel misjudge certain characters like Mrs. Cadaver, Mike Bickle, and Mrs. Winterbottom for their attitudes, actions, appearances, and more. None of the characters know the truth of those being misjudged until later in the book, when their misjudgements are proven wrong. Sal, Phoebe, and many other characters learn that they should think before they act, because most of the people in this story had a reason to do what they were doing. Just as the mysterious note said, "Don't judge someone until you've walked two moons in their moccasins."