Ms. King Salamanca Tree Hiddle- “Sal “for short- needed to find out why her mother had not returned from a trip she went on to “find herself” in Lewiston, Idaho. Therefore, she and her grandparents set off on an adventuresome road trip to follow her mother’s footsteps. Sal was convinced she had to do this by her mother’s birthday. Sal and her father had recently moved from Bybanks, Kentucky to Euclid, Ohio because Sal’s dad needed to clear his mind and get a change of scenery from the memories that were haunting him. In Euclid, Sal met a girl-much like herself-Phoebe Winterbottom-who became her close friend and confidant. Their stories would take this intriguing plot on a rollercoaster ride full of twists and turns as Grams and Gramps drove with their “chickabiddy” and listened with fascination to mysterious messages from the potential lunatic. • • • • • • • • Salamanca Tree Hiddle-Sal-protagonist Mr. Hiddle-Sal’s dad Gram and Gramps-Sal’s grandparents Phoebe-Sal’s best friend Ben-Sal’s friend Mary Lou Finney-Sal’s friend Mrs. Cadaver-Mr. Hiddle’s friend Mrs. Partridge- Mrs. Cadaver’s mother • The problem is that Sal needed to find her mother, and this took her to Euclid, Ohio from Bybanks, Kentucky and across the United States to Lewiston, Idaho and back to Euclid. • “Once it was settled the the three of us would go, the journey took on an alarming, expanding need to hurry that was a walloping, great thundercloud assembling around me. During the week before we left, the sound of the wind was “hurry, hurry, hurry,” and at night even the silent darkness whispered, “rush, rush, rush.” • The story took place in the middle to late 1900s. • There are a myriad of themes in this novel. Because Sharon Creech skillfully weaves messages about life throughout her story; she reveals to the readers that everyone has his or her own “agenda”-or story- that is important in each person’s life. Sometimes, when a person is following his/her agenda, he/she doesn’t see another person’s pain or problems. The day before Sal’s mother left, she didn’t realize that her mother desperately wanted to take a walk and be together. • “You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.” • This is one of the messages left by the “lunatic.” It fits perfectly with the theme that you must move on after a disturbing or traumatic event in your life occurs. You just can’t let it pull you down into the depths of depression. • Creech’s tone is hopeful, positive, and inspiring. • Sharon Creech moves the plot quickly with Sal’s adventures during the road trip with Grams and Gramps -and with the adventures of Phoebe and her family. There’s humor, sadness, and suspense built in with figurative language and imagery woven throughout the story. • “Gramps barreled through Wyoming like a house afire. We snaked through winding roads where the trees leaned close, rustling rush, rush, rush…The road curved alongside rivers that rolled and gabbled hurry, hurry, hurry.” • All readers would enjoy this story filled with life messages and what it’s like growing up and facing an adversity. It’s especially appropriate for middle school students. • Sharon Creech uses “messages” from the lunatic to reveal a cornucopia of themes that can apply to anyone’s life. For example: • You never know the wealth of the well until the water runs dry. • In a course of a lifetime, what does it matter? • Everyone has his own agenda. • Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins. • All of these messages have meaning in the scheme of life and give the readers much to think about. It makes one realize that we are all really the same and go through situations that can be very similar, just like Sal and Phoebe. • “All of these messages had invaded my brain and affected the way I looked at things.” (Sal) There are many symbols in this story, and they are even mentioned in Mr. Birkway’s English class. The symbol that is most important in my opinion is the tree because they are seen and talked about everywhere in the story; they are ubiquitous. It is even Sal’s middle name. The tree represents life, nature, and love.