"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

The Vine: August 2, 2013

Submitted by on August 2, 2013 – 2:00 PM6 Comments


So I read this book at least four times as a kid, but I can't remember the title or even the characters' names; it's a middle-reader book that takes place in America, sometime during World War II, I believe.

It's about a rich girl who moves to a new town (so rich she has a chauffeur and maids). She makes friends with another girl who is German-American. They become really obsessed with the Shakers and they hang out in the woods. At one point they bake potatoes by covering them in mud and putting them in a fire (I think the friend claims the Shakers cooked this way, but I can find no such evidence).

Eventually other people in the town turn against the German friend's family — I think they throw a brick through her window. During a climatic scene, the friend starts shaking and singing like a Shaker (I think??). Eventually, the friend's family has to move away and change their name because of the plight of Germans in America.

I'm at wit's end over this book — I have spent so much time paging through Amazon and WorldCat trying to find this thing. I am desperately hoping that the Tomato Nation can save me from this obsession.


Too Much Time On My Hands


Hi Sars,

The great Tomato Nation was so helpful last time I wrote in with a book question that I am hoping they can perform another miracle.

This book is an illustrated children's book about a fish in a pond and it, like, tricks a cat into moving it to a bigger pond. The fish was lonely in the pond or the pond was too small for it or something. And the cat wanted to eat it. The cat might have tried fishing for it using ketchup as bait? Also, the cat may have rode a bike.

I am hoping some of this rings a bell for someone because it is now driving my entire family crazy.

Please help!

Still unclear on why a ketchup package would be effective fish bait

Be Sociable, Share!



  • CJ says:

    Wow, I have no idea guys but I'm hoping for a nation miracle because I want to read these books!

  • Lianne says:

    Aaagh, I think I remember reading that fish and cat book. But I have no idea about a title/author/anything. Will be watching with interest for other replies, though. :-)

  • Jo says:

    I also want to read these books, so I keep checking back, and I'm amazed that not one, but two people seem to have stumped Vine readers. Wow.

  • Wehaf says:

    I can only offer this – in one of the Boxcar Children books (I think), the Boxcar children made friends with someone who was living in the woods, and who showed them how to bake fish in clay, like the Indians did. Is it possible that Too Much Time is conflating this with the other book, and thereby making the search impossible?

  • Melissa says:

    I keep checking back too! I really thought it was Lois Lowry, but I was conflating two books she wrote, one about a Shaker community and one about a rich girl who befriends a boy during WW II.

  • Too Much Time On My Hands says:

    OP of the first letter here- I REMEMBERED THE NAME OF THE BOOK!!

    Here it is: Friends True and Periwinkle Blue by Marilyn Gould

    I just remembered the word "periwinkle" out of nowhere! After YEARS of racking my brain about this damn book!

    Now I will order a used copy and see if it was worth all the effort. Thanks for keeping my hope alive, dear readers!

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>