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From the Central Series
Only in A Spy on the Home Front
Chapter By Chapter Summary
Chapter One: A Dark Cloud
The book opens up with Molly doing a cannonball into a pond. Her friend, Anna Schulz and Molly are competing to see how high their splashes are. Molly is visiting her grandparent's farm for two weeks. Anna Schulz and her family are next-door neighbors to the Culver's, Molly's grandparents. Normally, all of the McIntire's visit the farm, but the war made it unable for the family to come. Molly's mother is working for the Red Cross, Jill is helping at the Veteran's Hospital, Ricky's mowing lawns, and Brad was at camp. Mr. McIntire is a doctor in England, fighting in the war. Also, Aunt Eleanor, Molly's aunt, is training to be a WASP. Aunt Eleanor usually lives at the farm, but she is stationed in Delaware ferrying warplanes.
Between the Culver's and Schulz's farm is a swimming hole. We now meet Max Schulz, who is seventeen and trying to fish. He complains about the girl's competitive jumping scaring away the fish, but decides to show the girls how to do a proper cannonball. It is noted that Molly and Anna are not allowed to swim at the hole unless Max or a grownup is present. After some good-natured teasing, laughing, and splashing, Molly looks up to see Mrs. Schulz on the dock, wearing a sundress. She tells Molly, Max, and Anna that it is time to get out, and she offers milk and cookies.
Mr. and Mrs. Schulz are from Germany, and have German accents. They slip some German words into their speech, so, since Molly has played with Anna every summer, Molly has learned a few German words.
Anna askes is her mother made molasses cookies, which she did, and Mrs. Schulz calls out to Max to ask whether or not he caught any fish for supper tomorrow. Max didn't, and comes shore after tying up his boat. Molly laments that her first week is now over, but dwells on the memories she shares with Anna while walking back to the house. Anna and Molly had, in the loft, built a hay fort, made a tire swing, and even biked into town for ice cream. Approaching the house, Molly hears Mr. Schulz's car and the reader learns he is a farmer, who works evenings at the garage in Weston, Illinois.
The reader also learns that Max works at the Westion airfield. Max fills plane tires with air and pumps fuel, but aspires to be a pilot too. As Mr. Schulz warmly greets Molly and his family, he mentions that he stopped for mail and has a letter from the Krueger's, a German family that the Schulzs' are friends with. The Schulz's haven't heard from the mother, Ruth Krueger for weeks, and is relieved to receive their letter. Molly asks who the Kruegers are and Anna tells her they live in Detroit and have a five-year-old named Hans.
When everyone is settled around the table, Mrs. Schulz opens the letter from the Krueger's. She only gets a few sentences into the letter and falls silent. Mr. Schulz stops eating and asks what's wrong. Mrs. Schulz announces that the Krueger's were taken to an Internment Camp, the whole family. Mr. Schulz leaps up to read the letter and starts pacing, all the while speaking rapid German. Max asks his father to speak in English, as Anna and him don't know German.
Mr. Schulz explains a little bit about why Mr. and Mrs. Schulz moved to America - because it was safe. He also explains why people are suspicious and about internment camps. But, Mr. Schulz reassures Molly and his children that he thinks they are safe on the farm. Anna promises to pray for the Kruegers, and Molly apologizes. Mrs. Schulz cheerfully offers cookies, trying to lighten the mood. However, Molly notes that there is a "dark cloud" over everyone. She wishes the war would end and tomorrow will be a happier day.
Chapter Two: A Mysterious Black Car
Molly is biking over to Anna's house, when a black car, heading from Anna's house, nearly knocks her off the road. Molly isn't injured, but she's a bit angry. When the arrives at the Schultz's, she sees Anna's mom crying. Anna tells her that men came in a black car and searched their house. They determine that it was the same one that knocked her off the road.
Chapter Three: Rumors
Chapter Four: Closing In
Chapter Five: Accusations
Chapter Six: A Hidden Clue
Chapter Seven: An A-1 Detective
Chapter Eight: A Close Call
Chapter Nine: On the Trail
Chapter Ten: Trapped
Chapter Eleven: A Letter for Molly
Glossary of German Words
There are German words used throughout the books in italic text. In the back of the book is a glossary, listing all the words, how to pronounce them, and their definition.
Discusses the internment of German Americans and war planes during World War II. Topics covered:
- Why many Americans from "enemy countries" were suspected by the Federal Bureau of Information (Or FBI), and what questions they were asked.
- Why a family might be interned by the FBI, and living conditions in internment camps.
- The Silver Shirts, which was an organization of Nazi sympathizers, and what they did.
- Why the Woman's Airforce Service Pilot (or WASP) was initially formed.
- How many women became pilots, and where they did their training.
- The dangerous duties that WASPs had to do, including flying an airborne target for a male pilot-in training to shoot.
- How many WASPs lost their lives, and the pride they felt for their work.