Molly's A+ Partner

Short story collection published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp; illustrator Susan McAliley, Nick Backes, Philip Hood, or Keith Skeen


Molly and Susan are partnered for a report on George Washington. They work well together for the written portion, splitting the responsibility evenly and coming up with a lot of good information for a well-written paper. But they disagree about the presentation. Molly wants to play it safe: make a timeline and read highlights from the paper. Susan thinks they could improve on Molly's idea by putting on costumes and acting out key scenes from the first president's life. Molly thinks that would be too embarrassing, even when Susan suggests that she alone dress up to act the scenes. They have a fight the night before the presentation, but in the morning are calmed down and ready to go ahead.

Despite exchanging apologies with Susan, Molly is very nervous that they'll both end up looking like fools. But when Susan dons her impressive costume and acts out the scenes expertly, Molly gains a lot more confidence, and together they give a presentation that engages and teaches the class. Molly sees that because Susan has faith in herself, she's more willing to take risks. The teacher is very impressed with their work, and gives them both an A+.

Looking Back

Throughout American history, George Washington has been revered as a Founding Father. During World War II, his story gained special prominence as an example of the underdog struggling against the odds to win a long war. The turning point of the Revolutionary War, the Christmas morning attack on the Hessian fort in 1776, was an especially inspiring story. Until then, the opposing forces didn't really take the Colonists seriously, but Washington and his army caught them off guard and won a strategic victory.


The first couple pages of this story are basically a how-to guide for writing a biographical report.

The Looking Back section describes the Hessian soldiers as "recovering" from the Christmas party. Delicate way to put hung-over, I assume.

Apparently it's customary for people to celebrate Washington's birthday with a cherry pie. I don't like cherry pie and neither does my husband...but I do have a good recipe for a maraschino cherry cake. Washington's birthday seems as good an excuse as any to bake it. Recipe, from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:

1/2 cup shortening
2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 maraschino juice
16 maraschino cherries, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
4 egg whites

Stir shortening to soften. Sift in dry ingredients. Add juice, cherries, milk; stir until dampened. Beat vigorously for two minutes. Add egg whites; beat another two minutes. Bake in two 8 1/2 inch round cake pans for 30-35 minutes. Let cool, and frost.

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