- Molly McIntire
- Linda Rinaldi
- Susan Shapiro
- James McIntire
- Helen McIntire
- Ricky McIntire
- Gladys Gilford
- Mrs. Hargate
- Alison Hargate
Only in Molly Learns a Lesson
Chapter by Chapter Summary
Chapter One: Eight Times Seven
It's the beginning of the school day and Molly is admiring her teacher, Ms. Campbell. Molly compares Ms. Campbell's 'long, glossy curls' to her own hair which she criticizes as being 'straight as sticks'. Ms. Campbell plays the national anthem on the piano in the classroom to start off and begins her lesson on geography. Howie raises his hand enthusiastically, telling Ms. Campbell that today was the day of the multiplication bee. Molly groans and hopes the teacher will say no, but Ms. Campbell says they'll have it today and the winner will get a gold badge. Howie says cheerfully he'll get the gold badge and Ms. Campbell tells him to take his seat. As the lesson starts, Molly starts to daydream. She thinks about the ring her teacher wears and how Susan thinks it's an engagement ring from her boyfriend who's fighting in the war. Linda said nobody knew for sure if it was true or not, but Molly hoped that it was true. She daydreams that Ms. Campbell's soldier would come home and her teacher would ask her to be the flower girl at her wedding. Molly's daydream is interrupted as Ms. Campbell asks her the capital of England. Allison answers the question in Molly's place and Ms. Campbell asks who knew why it was important to know about England. Molly raises her hand before anyone else and explains how the Americans and English are allies in the war. She makes a small mention that her father is there helping the injured and Ms. Campbell thanks her for telling the class about her father. Ms. Campbell explains how it's important to work together and asks the class to write a paper about cooperation. She then starts the multiplication bee and Howie jumps out of his seat in excitement. He shouts "Boys against girls!" and they split up as such. Molly starts to feel gloomy about the competition and stands at the end of the line. While everyone answers the questions quickly, Molly leans back on the poster with the planets and she wishes she was on a different planet. Soon it's almost Molly's turn and she's asked what's eight times seven. Molly recalls that the answer was somewhere in the fifties and guesses fifty-nine. The girls groan as Howie happily says the correct answer. Ms. Campbell tells Molly she needs a bit more practice with her multiplication and Molly takes her seat in shame. It's a long time until someone else got a wrong answer and soon enough, there was only Alison and Howie left. Ms. Campbell asks twelve times thirteen and as Howie hesitates, Alison answers correctly. All the girls except for Molly cheer for their victory and everyone except Molly claps as the badge is pinned onto Alison. Ms. Campbell tells Alison she is proud. Molly pulls out her notebook and writes in big handwriting '8 x 7 = 56'.
Chapter Two: Lend a Hand
Chapter Three: Top Secret
Chapter Four: Spies and Allies
Looking Back: School in 1944
Discusses education in World War Two America. Topics include:
- How children traveled to school.
- The strictness of schools, such as desks being fastened to the floor and separate playgrounds and entrance doors for boys and girls.
- What children studied, from school subjects to the war, and songs sung in class.
- What "evacuated" British children taught their American pen pals.
- Why many items, such as sugar, metals, and rubber, were scarce or rationed during the war.
- What was collected for a school's scrap drive.
- How the Junior Red Cross, the Scouts and church groups helped soldiers.
- What children bought with their allowance and why they didn't have enough for other things.
- Other things children were taught at schools, such as taking care of their items.
Items associated with Molly Learns a Lesson