Addy and her parents are working to raise money so that her father can go back to the plantation area to search for Esther and Sam. They're going to raise fruits and vegetables to sell. While they're working the plot of land, Addy's wealthy classmate Harriet stops by to make some elitist comments, even rubbing in the fact that her uncle served in the military with distinction, while Addy's brother only might have joined and no one even knows where he is. A few days later the church starts organizing a fair to raise money for freed slaves looking for their families. There Harriet dismisses Addy's idea of a puppet show and then selling puppets, but everyone else likes it and picks it over Harriet's idea (and a few others, although I don't know why they couldn't also do the pie-eating contest someone suggested). Addy crosses the line from happy to prideful, which her parents ask her to try to temper. They know it's difficult for Addy to see how easy Harriet's life is, but they don't want her filled with jealousy and hate. She promises to try, and the news that her father will be able to search for Sam and Esther sooner than planned helps her mood.
But while the church group prepares the puppets (made from spools from the seamstress store where Addy's mother works), Harriet is intentionally antagonistic to Addy. They end up fighting, and to teach them a lesson, the woman in charge of the children assigns Addy and Harriet to perform the puppet show together. The morning of the fair, Addy finds Harriet alone in the church crying. It turns out her uncle was killed. Addy comforts her, and the gravity of the situation gives the girls some perspective, allowing them to make up. Addy suggests that her friend Sarah could take Harriet's place if Harriet isn't up to doing the puppet show, but that the group could use Harriet's lightening quick math skills when they start selling the puppets. Harriet agrees, and the girls head to the fair.
The puppet show and the sales go very well, and they make a lot of money for their cause. Which makes it all the more depressing when the money disappears. Addy is sure it was a girl who was hanging around suspiciously, acting like she had something to hide and carrying a large bag. She and Harriet take off after her, and Addy is able to get the bag from her. The girl escapes, but when the reverend of the church opens the bag, he finds three money boxes inside, totaling about $50 (around $750 today). Despite the excitement, Addy is happy to go back to manning the puppet show. She and Sarah have their puppets tell each other riddles. Suddenly, an audience members answers, saying even his little sister knows that one. Addy jumps out from the behind the stage. It's Sam! He's in a soldier's uniform, and it turns out he lost his left arm fighting, but he's in Philadelphia, reunited with Addy and their parents. Now they just need to find Esther with Auntie Lula and Uncle Solomon.
With the end of slavery, America suddenly gained about four million new citizens. Plus there was a wave of immigration from other countries. The country was recovering from the war, and couldn't afford to help many of the people. The new citizens moved into the cities to find jobs, many of the jobs industrial. The cities were soon crowded and polluted, which made the hot summers even more difficult to get through. People who could afford it would vacation out in the country, and those who couldn't visited city parks when they could. There they could get some fresh air, enjoy the plant life, and swim a bit.
This book is dedicated to the author's nieces and nephews.