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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: December 2, 2015

Submitted by on December 2, 2015 – 3:36 PM15 Comments


This is a book my mother used to read with me back in the day (late '70s, early '80s), and we used to laugh and laugh. Somewhere along the way I lost the book. I have tried Googling this and I got nothing.

What I remember is there was a little girl who was generally bad. She got up to a lot of shenanigans and the one very distinct thing I remember is her throwing cornflakes out the window and saying to the people below, "Unusual weather we are having." This is not a lot to go on. I remember the book being softcover (one of those shiny flat books) and illustrated.

I can say, definitively, that it is not Horrible Hepzibah. I just bought that book off of Amazon, thinking I had found the one. It is funny. And she is horrible, but it is not the book.

This has been bothering me for decades, so any help you can give me is appreciated.

Horrible Heather

It's been a while, readers, but I'm sure your skills have not eroded. Hee. Any idea what book Heather means?

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  • Maple Donut says:

    A new Vine! Squeeeee! Unfortunately, I don't know what the book is. However, I now want to throw cornflakes out the window…

  • Robin says:

    It might be one of the Amelia Bedelia books. I seem to remember something about cornflakes from one of them…

  • Cat_slave says:

    I have no idea either, but I think I'd like to read it. Just wanted to say I've missed you!

  • Sandman says:

    However horrible Hepzibah's behaviour, I'm sure it was justified; I trust the book relates how her parents got what they richly deserved for naming her Hepzibah. I mean, honestly.

    I don't have a clue about how to find the book, unfortunately. I just wanted to say how much I missed Sars and the Nation.

  • Horrible Heather says:

    I am starting to believe that I really did imagine the whole thing! Nobody knows what I am talking about.

  • Sandman says:

    I don't have a clue about the book that Heather is actually looking for, I meant to say. Got a little carried away, there.

  • Jo says:

    Yay! The Vine is back.

    I have no idea what the answer is.

    Did you try the book sleuth forums at

  • Nanc says:

    It kinda sounds like one of the Katie John books, although those were published in the 1960s. And I just discovered there's a fourth Katie John book! Off to order from my library.

  • Kristin says:

    Loganberry books "Stump the Bookseller" is made for stuff like this. I've done a preliminary search of their solved books and didn't find anything that sounded right, but you may have better luck.

  • Courtney says:

    It sounds like something Pippi Longstocking would do.

  • Cat_slave says:

    @Courtney Definitely not Pippi Longstocking. Nobody had even heard of cornflakes in Sweden until, I don't know, the 1980's-90's maybe. Certainly not when Pippi was written in the 1940's.

    Pippi does put sugar on the floor, though. I have no idea how or if that scene is translated, but the idea with it is a play on words. In Swedish granulated sugar is called "strösocker", which means "sugar to be strewn", and sugar lumps (cubes) are called "bitsocker", which translates as either a piece of sugar or "bite sugar". So on this fancy tea party she strews sugar lumps on the floor and immediately rectifies it by biting into the granulated sugar. Perfectly logical.

    You can probably tell I grew up on these stories and know them by heart. :-)

  • --Lisa says:

    I am so glad I am not the only one who was missing the Vine!

    I did some Googling but didn't find your book. Good luck!

  • CasminaJ says:

    Eloise? Terrible Horrible Edie?

  • Horrible Heather says:

    I found it! I am so relieved to know that I didn't make the whole thing up. Turns out is is actually Hepzibah by Peter Dickinson. Its a very weird book, but not really how I remembered it. Of course, I last read it 30 years ago! So, thanks for all your help.

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