From the movie
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Vada getting accidentally locked in the basement. It comes a little out of nowhere, is played for a moment of drama but Vada is ultimately fine in the next scene and it doesn't get mentioned again. When Shelly speaks to Harry about her concerns, she references an earlier moment but not this scene - rendering it kind of pointless in the overall narrative.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Vada's grandmother is senile but sometimes occasionally gets up and starts singing spontaneously. One day Vada is supposed to be watching her and she gets up from the living room...and walks right into someone's funeral to start singing. You feel bad for the poor unsuspecting mourners but at the same time it's a hilarious situation.
- Vada and her grandmother also play a darkly hilarious prank on some kids in the opening scene, which plays on the elder's senility.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Jamie Lee Curtis is able to act as a surrogate mother/big sister to a young girl. Fast forward to 2003 where she is completely unable to relate to her own teenage daughter.
- It Was His Sled: Thomas J dies.
- Narm: Vada's habit of singing "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" fast when she's upset tends to ruin what are supposed to be emotional moments.
- Spiritual Adaptation: This was probably the closest we got to a Bridge to Terabithia movie until the actual movie of the latter was made.
- Toy Ship: Vada and Thomas J.
- The Woobie: Vada. Really considering all the constant anxiety she has at such a young age no less, it really make you want to cry for her and give her a hug in the end.
From the manga:
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: At least once in every chapter.