Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
12
Nov 2018

Image result for molly mystery light in the cellar

Title: A Molly Mystery – The Light In The Cellar, a.k.a. “Molly and the Mystery of the Horrible Hoarders”

Author: Sarah Masters Buckley

Cover Artist: Jean-Paul Tibbles

Summary: Molly wishes she and her friend Emily had an exciting volunteer job that really helped in the fight to win World War Two. Instead, they’re magazine delivery girls at Oak Knoll Hospital. Soon, however, Molly and Emily start to suspect something very un-patriotic is going on at Oak Knoll – and their snooping leads them deep into trouble!

Initial Thoughts

I’ve really let myself slip with these reviews and I’ve no one to blame but myself. I apologize again for holding up the schedule and I promise I’ll work harder next year to bring consistent reviews and articles.

It’s incredible good luck I was able to review this book for the website. I found it at the freebie rack at my local library, but I pulled it before I planned to do reviews for the website. This is a change of pace for the other Molly books, being significantly longer (at least three times as long) and has no illustrations. It focuses more on Molly’s friendship with Emily Bennett and sheds some more harsh truths about the effects WWII had on people back then.

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11
Oct 2018

Image result for happy birthday molly american girl

Title: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly is excited to learn that an English girl is coming to stay at the McIntires’, and just in time for Molly’s birthday! But Emily Bennett turns out to be different from the glamorous girl Molly pictured. Emily is shy, and she seems unfriendly. Then Molly discovers that Emily is worried about her family in war-torn London, just as Molly is worried about her father, and the girls become good friends. They even plan to turn Molly’s tenth birthday celebration into a real English tea party. But they can’t agree about what’s important, and it takes a special birthday surprise to patch up their hurt feelings.

Initial Thoughts

I’m really ashamed of myself because of how late this is. Between work and getting sick and things just being God awful over here, I really slipped up and now I have to scramble before the year ends.

This one was difficult to re-read because a lot of the characters display a nasty side that wasn’t totally present in the last few books. But it also presents a much more sobering look at what life during wartime was like for these girls, in a manner different than Molly’s fears about her father’s life. But mainly, this book introduces Emily Bennett, who becomes a semi-reoccurring character in the “Molly” books. She even received her own spotlight tale, “Brave Emily.”

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1
Jun 2018
Molly's Surprise - A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp

Molly’s Surprise – A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp

Title: Molly Book #3 – Molly’s Surprise A Christmas Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly and her family face a disappointing Christmas. Dad is off at war in England, Molly’s grandparents can’t come for the holidays, and it looks like there won’t be many exciting presents. Worst of all, the family hasn’t heard from Dad for a long time, and they’re worried. But Molly decides they should make their own merry Christmas – a Christmas filled with the kind of unexpected surprises that Dad would make. Thanks to Molly, the best surprise of all is waiting for the McIntires on Christmas morning.

Initial Thoughts

Yeah, I know it’s May, but I have a good reason why I’m recapping the holiday book now instead of saving it for December. The main Molly books are all part of a progressive timeline, and if I skipped this one for the holiday season it would just muck up the other recaps.

Regardless, this is my favorite in the main series because I love holiday stories and I love tales taking place in the 1940s, so this is a win-win for me. And after last month I could use some perking up.

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American Girls
20
Mar 2018

Image result for molly learns a lesson

Title: Molly Learns A Lesson, a.k.a. “A Lesson In Te-Am Work”

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly is determined that the third-grade girls will win her school’s Lend-A-Hand Contest to help the war effort. Instead, they choose an idea that Molly knows will never work out. So she talks two friends into planning their own project and keeping it a secret from the rest of the girls in the class. But the secret project turns out to be harder than Molly thought it would be. She begins to worry that it might not win after all and decides to spy on the other girls to see how they are doing. When Molly and her friends get caught peeking in a window, they learn some important lessons.

Initial Thoughts

Here’s our second foray into the world of Molly. I can safely say there’s no underwear or cultural appropriation in this one, but it’s probably gonna leave you craving bread.

[Wing: There’s something off about her face on that cover, but I’m not sure what. Proportions? Location of eyes? If you figure it out, dear readers, let me know.]

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24
Jan 2018

Title: Meet Molly a.k.a. “You Know Who Else Played Pranks? HITLER!”

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: FOR MOLLY MCINTIRE, life seems full of changes. It’s 1944 and the world is at war. Her father is far away caring for wounded soldiers. Her mother is busy working for the Red Cross. Mrs. Gilford, the strict housekeeper, makes her eat terrible things like turnips from the Victory garden. And everyone in America is so serious and practical that glamorous Halloween costumes are hard to get. Molly’s special hula skirt is a huge success – until Ricky, her pesty big brother, plays a mean trick. Molly and her friends are determined to get back at him. One mean trick leads to another until the fighting goes too far.

Initial Thoughts

I am really thankful I didn’t give these books away like I had planned.

When I was a kid I was a big fan of historical fiction books, mainly the “Dear America” series and the “American Girl” books. My interest in the genre started thanks to the cartoon “Histeria” which sparked an interest in Henry VIII and his many wives. I still have a box full of my old “Dear America” and “Royal Diaries” editions in the attic closet.

With the “American Girl” series, my focus gravitated towards the Molly books because they took place during WWII. I’m not as much of a buff as I’d like to admit, but I do enjoy 40s era movies. One year for Christmas I got the (at the time) complete “Molly” set of books. I’ve offered to do bimonthly reviews of all six in the set this year, with a bonus Molly story for October and a different “American Girl” book I still own for December.

Y’know, there’s always been one thing about this sub-series that stuck with me for so many years. I only remember a few bits from the Molly movie they made. Mainly, the housekeeper, Mrs. Gilford, was made younger and given a son named Johnny who was fighting overseas. Mrs. Gilford started watching Molly and her siblings when Mrs. McIntire began working, but she wasn’t their official housekeeper before the war began. It took some time for Molly to get used to Mrs. Gilford’s presence, and she even expressed annoyance about how much Mrs. Gilford gushed about her son on her first day. Time passed and Molly became accustomed to the housekeeper’s presence, and then one day she came home and found her mom back from work early. Mrs. McIntire said she was baking a casserole. Earlier in the film, Molly’s sister Jill mentioned bringing a casserole to a neighbor who had a relative that died in the war. Molly immediately realized why Mrs. Gilford wasn’t there…

As cheesy as this will sound, I still tear up thinking about when Molly brought the food to Mrs. Gilford’s home, and the older woman broke down in tears and hugged the girl. The way Molly spoke “Not Johnny” when she realized what happened was sad on two levels: she was sad for Mrs. Gilford, and sad for Johnny separately instead of only feeling bad because he was Mrs. Gilford’s child.

[Wing: Ah, American Girls. I have such a nostalgia for them even though I never owned the books, much less the dolls. (In case you’re not familiar with them, the American Girl dolls are detailed and fancy and really fucking expensive; there’s no way we could have afforded them). I did pour over the catalog looking at all the fun little accessories that came with the dolls, and I skimmed some books at the library, though never any of the Molly books. I have concerns already over that hula skirt costume in the summary.]

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