Molly and Susan are finishing up their report on George Washington when Molly remarks that 'this is the best report anyone has ever done' and bets they'll get an A+. Susan agrees and says she's glad that they didn't do Abraham Lincoln like Linda and Alison because of his funny hat. Molly doesn't know what the hat has to do with anything, but she's pleased with the report.
She thinks back to how hard she and Susan worked, marching to the library with sharpened pencils, paper and a special folder labeled 'Our Report'. Molly read about Washington in the 'W' volume of the encyclopedia while Susan read about him in the 'P' volume. They read books from the biography section, took notes and met every day during a week to put their notes together. When writing the final draft, they looked up hard words in the dictionary and rechecked their facts before Molly copied the first half of the draft and Susan copied the second half. At Molly's house, they made a cover for the report, with a drawing of Mount Vernon.
As she signs her name on the report, Molly says she's glad that she and Susan are partners and good friends. Susan agrees as she twirls a lock of hair and looks at a painting in an art book from the library. She tells Molly that she wants to do something completely different for the presentation, like dressing up and acting out scenes from Washington's life. She shows Molly the painting in the book as an example and Molly isn't sure.
She feels horrified at Susan's idea, thinking that making wigs and wearing capes are too difficult and everyone would laugh at them. Molly tells Susan that the proper way to present a report is to stand up in regular clothes and read aloud to the class, which Susan thinks is boring. Molly suggests making a timeline with important details in Washington's life, but Susan protests by saying that everyone does that, but Molly says that's how you're supposed to do it. Susan says their presentation will be different, but Molly says it'll be terrible. Susan looks stubborn, so Molly calmly says that she doesn't want to act out, and just read. Susan suggests that she'll act when Molly reads and when she stops at a certain point. Molly reluctantly agrees and Susan adds that they can sing 'Yankee Doodle' at the end, which Molly doesn't agree with. Susan shrugs and tells Molly not to look so worried, but Molly can't help it and wonders what her friend has lured her into.
As the days go by, Molly keeps on worrying about the presentation and feels resentful of Susan because while she's been making a timeline, her friend has been wasting her time making tricorn hats for the presentation. The day before the presentation, Molly and Susan meet to practice and Molly shows Susan her timeline. Susan likes it, but Molly's feelings are slightly hurt because she worked so hard on the timeline and Susan should've been more enthusiastic. Molly notices that Susan didn't bring her costume asks if she's not going to do 'that dressing up stuff'. Susan says she is when Molly asks why, she says that the cape belongs to her mother, who doesn't want her getting it dirty, and the glue for the hat and wig is still too wet to bring. Molly wants to know what Susan will say for the presentation and Susan agrees. She opens the report and says that she'll draw stars in the margins and whenever Molly comes to one of these stars, she'll stop and let Susan act out.
Molly wants to know what she'll do at the first star and Susan says she'll pretend to cut down a cherry tree before being interrupted by Molly, who points out that the cherry tree story probably isn't true. Susan says that that's not the point and Molly interrupts her again, begging her not to do it and if she does, Miss Campbell might think they didn't check their facts. She says that she couldn't stand it, especially after 'all my hard work'. Susan says that she worked hard too, but Molly thinks that acting out will make them look dumb. Susan's cheeks turn pink with anger as she said that if that's the way she feels, then she won't tell her the other things she'll say for the presentation. She turns to go and Molly calls after her, telling her that she can't go, but Susan slams the door and leaves.
That night, Mom asks Molly what's wrong after noticing that she's fretting. Molly sits up in bed and fells her about Susan wanting to act out and how useless Molly thinks it is. Mom says that 'partnerships can be hard, especially when the partners have a different way of doing things'. Molly says that Susan hasn't been a good partner, but admits that she worked just as hard on the report as she did. Mom says that it would be 'too bad' if their partnership ended their friendship and tells her to get some sleep before kissing her on the forehead. After Mom leaves, Molly thinks about what she said and even though Susan isn't a good partner, she's a good friend. She decides that tomorrow, she'll apologize to her and falls asleep feeling better, although she still isn't sure about the presentation tomorrow.
The presentation starts with Miss Campbell choosing Linda and Alison to go first. Molly listens to the presentation and thinks about how their presenting the right way. She gives Susan a note that says, "I'm sorry about the fight", and Susan smiles before sending a note that replies with, "I'm sorry too. I guess we were both nervous. I'll be glad when this report is over." Molly agrees to herself and Miss Campbell tells them to go up and present. Molly and Susan go to the front of the room and while Susan crouches behind a desk, Molly tacks her timeline on the board. She begins to read form her report and points to her timeline as she does, which the class appreciates. Molly soon comes to the first star in the margins, she braces herself for laughter and Susan stands up to show the class her costume, which the class--including Molly--are amazed by.
Susan talks about the cherry tree story and says that, although it may not be true, the story shows that Washington was honest and it's 'also why we have cherry pie on his birthday', which makes the class laugh. Molly realizes that the class really likes what Susan is doing and continues reading. Susan holds up the art book with the painting in it and talks about Washington's crossing of the Delaware River. After Molly reads some more, she talks about the harsh winters at Valley Forge and puts on mittens and a scarf, sprinkling her cape with power to make it look like snow. Molly reads the end of the presentation and says that Washington was not only the first president, but also one of the greatest, and that's why he's called the Father of Our Country. Susan adds that he will always be a well-loved president and sings a verse about him from "Yankee' Doodle."
Molly and the rest of the class join in and they all sing the chorus of the song. The class cheers and Miss Campbell gives Molly and Susan and A+, saying that they showed the class how good partners can work together. Molly smiles at Susan and Susan grins back. Molly notices that her hat and wig are askew, but she doesn't look funny. Instead, she looks like a good friend--and a good partner.
Meet The Author
Looking Back: Finding Hope in the Past
Discusses George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton. Topics covered:
- George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's roles during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars respectively
- President Roosevelt's radio speech in 1942 comparing World War II to the Revolutionary War
- Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776
- British occupation of New York City
- Low morale among Washington's troops due to losses during the New York and New Jersey campaign against the British army
- Hessians, German soldiers hired by King George III to fight for England
- Johann Rall, a Hessian colonel who was at a Christmas party and ignored a spy's warnings of Washington's plan to attack Trenton
- The Battle of Trenton between the Continental Army and Hessian forces, resulting in victory for the Army and the death of Colonel Rall
- The boost in morale for the Continental Army following the Battle of Trenton
Activity: Make Cherry-Nut Cupcakes
Learn how to make cherry cupcakes.
- ↑ The text uses "Eskimo," which is considered a slur by some Inuit people.