Molly Saves the Day

Published in 1988; author Valerie Tripp; illustrators Nick Backes and Keith Skeen


Summer camp is almost over now, but there's still the Color War to enjoy. Except that Molly and Susan are on the Blue Team while Linda is on the Red Team. Still, the three girls think the Color War could be fun, if no one takes it too seriously. Too bad Molly and Susan's team is led by Dorinda, who acts like an Army general. No way they're going to be able to have fun with her in charge. She's also one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. Her plan for capturing the other team's flag (thus winning the Color War) isn't a very good one. Molly tries to tactfully point out that the Red Team will be able to overcome them quickly, but Dorinda shuts her down by bringing up how Molly is afraid of swimming with her head underwater. Sure enough, the entire Blue Team is quickly "captured" by the Red Team...with the exception of Molly and Susan. Their canoe tipped over, and in uprighting it they accidentally evaded capture. But can they still win the Color War?

Molly has a plan: while Susan paddles her canoe erratically around the Red Team's camp, Molly sneaks up to the "prison" and dumps a can of worms all over the guard (she also overcomes her fear of swimming underwater during this) and frees her team. Unfortunately, the Red Team guard is Linda, and Molly feels terrible for what she's done to her friend. But the Blue Team wants to press on, and convenes back at their base to plan. Since Dorinda is still in a special "captain's prison" they elect Molly the new leader. Inspired by the newsreels she's seen of the D-Day invasion and armed with the knowledge of the inlet she and Susan found when their canoe overturned, Molly is able to lead the Blue Team to victory.

There is one problem, though: the inlet was in a part of the map labelled Poison Point. It was covered with poison ivy! So instead of getting their victory ice cream, the Blue Team must celebrate with showers and calamine lotion. Molly and her team still get to feel proud of their hard work though, and Linda meets Molly and Susan on their way back from the showers with ice cream for them. She understands that the worms were just part of the war/game, and doesn't hold a grudge.

Looking Back

During World War II, it was difficult for most Americans to go on vacation as a family. Often the men were in other countries fighting the war. The men who were in the States worked long hours, and so did many of the women and some teenagers too, to support both the war effort and their families. The few families who had the time for a vacation together couldn't really go anywhere; gas was rationed and public transportation like trains were primarily for soldiers. But younger children, like Molly, could get away for a couple weeks to summer camp, where they would live in tents and enjoy roughing it in the great outdoors.


This book is dedicated to "Pleasant."

The way Molly talks about D-Day sounds like it's very recent, like it happened the month before instead of the year before. Is it 1944 again?

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