Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #6: Changes For Molly by Valerie Tripp

Changes for Molly Cover
Changes for Molly Cover

Title: Changes For Molly

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Bakes

Summary: Molly can hardly wait for Dad to come home! She’s especially excited because he’ll arrive in time to see her dance the part of Miss Victory in the big Red Cross show. Molly isn’t worried about her tap dancing because she’s the best in Miss LaVonda’s dance class. But she wants to look sophisticated so Dad will know how much she’s grown up while he’s been away at war. Unfortunately, Molly’s hair is all wrong. When Jill finally finds a way to give Molly glorious curls, everything seems to be perfect. Then Molly gets sick. Things couldn’t be worse – until the doctor comes just in time.

Initial Thoughts

Why the hell did I agonize about putting this off for so long when that back summary gave away nearly the entire book?

Seriously though, this project shouldn’t have taken as long as it did for me to complete. That’s all on me, but, I think maybe it’s for the best I did wait until now to finish this recap. Things right now are a nightmare because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are dying and this country’s healthcare system’s finally been exposed as the joke it is. Unemployment’s on the rise and toilet paper’s being hoarded like gold. [Wing: This recap has been waiting awhile for me to comment on it, and I want to recognise the ongoing violence against Black people, including the extrajudicial murder of so many by a corrupt, over-powered, unchecked police force. This is not new, of course, but the wide-spread coverage is bringing light to a problem that Black people deal with daily. I hope the protests and demands bring actual, practical change. The Nostalgic Bookshelf family of recap sites have made donations to various bail funds and community support systems, but there is so much more fighting to do. Here is one potential resource, a Google doc, of things people in the USA can do; it also links to a Google spreadsheet with more.]

Right now both my stadium and census jobs have been delayed and my biggest fear’s losing the comic shop. My sibling works at a Trader Joe’s and my dad’s a security guard at a nursing home, so both of them are dealing with worse shit. In fact, my grandpa’s staying at the very same home and the virus has gotten into the building. Thank God he’s okay for now, but my dad doesn’t feel well and he doesn’t know if it’s the virus or not.

So, re-reading this book, it talks about the way life changes during a time of crisis. This isn’t a war we’re dealing with, but it feels like it. This also talks about doing what you can in similar situations, which makes me realize I need to do more writing for myself and others. I’m not sure how much these recaps can help, but if they put a smile on at least one person’s face that’ll be worth it.

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #5: Molly Saves The Day by Valerie Tripp

Molly Saves The Day Cover
Molly Book 5: Molly Saves The Day Cover

Title: Molly Saves The Day

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly loves Camp Gowonagin from the moment she arrives. She spends two wonderful weeks there singing, hiking, canoeing, and making arts and crafts projects with her friends Linda and Susan. When the camp director announces the beginning of Camp Gowonagin’s Color War, Molly is afraid that the fun may end. Molly and Susan are on the Blue Team. They have to capture the flag hidden on Chocolate Drop Island by the Red Team. Linda is on the Red Team. She is their enemy and their friend. Will the Color War ruin camp for everyone, or can Molly think of a way to save the day?

Initial Thoughts

WOW SO GUESS WHO TOOK LIKE FOUR MONTHS TO FINISH THIS.

Guys I’m really, really sorry for how I let the Molly recaps slip so badly. I lost steam focusing on these and I hope I didn’t wreck the schedule too badly. I wanted these done by the end of 2018 but clearly that didn’t happen. So here’s hoping I’ll have the last two done for real before the year is over.

I’m not good at this.

Head’s up Wing there’s a prank involving bugs and spiders, but it focuses more on worms.

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Posted in American Girls

A Molly Mystery: The Light In The Cellar by Sarah Masters Buckley

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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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #4: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story by Valerie Tripp

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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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #3: Molly’s Surprise – A Christmas Story by Valerie Tripp

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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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #2: Molly Learns A Lesson – A School Story by Valerie Tripp

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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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #1: Meet Molly, An American Girl by Valerie Tripp

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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