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Book Review

Meet Molly, an American Girl by Valerie Tripp has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Molly" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Nine-year-old Molly McIntire has been pouting for two hours because the housekeeper, Mrs. Gilford, has forbidden Molly to leave the dinner table until she eats her mashed turnips — and Molly hates turnips. She reflects that if her father were home, she wouldn't have to eat turnips. Her father is a military doctor currently overseas because of World War II.

Since the war effort requires tin, the housekeeper now grows and cooks vegetables such as turnips, instead of using canned vegetables. When Mrs. McIntire comes home, she reheats the turnips for Molly, adding cinnamon and sugar so they don't taste so horrible.

After school the next day, Molly and her friends Susan and Linda discuss their Halloween costumes. They pass Alison on the way home, an only — and somewhat spoiled — child who will be going as an angel. The girls are discouraged at their lack of ideas, especially when Molly's 12-year-old brother, Ricky, teases them. When Molly sees that Ricky is attracted to Dolores, her sister Jill's friend, the girls tease him right back. Ricky swears to take revenge on the girls for their teasing.

Mrs. McIntire suggests the girls dress as hula dancers for Halloween, and she helps them make grass skirts out of newspaper and green dye. After trick-or-treating, the girls return to Molly's house only to be soaked by a bucket of water and a hose wielded by Ricky. Their costumes are ruined, and their treats are soaked. When Mrs. McIntire learns of Ricky's actions, she makes him apologize and give the girls all of his candy. Molly and her friends are not satisfied with this punishment and plot to embarrass him in front of his admired Dolores.

The next morning, Molly and Susan gather Ricky's laundry while Linda keeps him outside playing basketball. Susan then lies to Dolores and Jill, saying a friend from school is waiting for them outside. When the girls are outside, Molly dumps her brother's laundry on Dolores' head while Ricky watches.

Mrs. McIntire sees all of this and lectures all the children about their petty fighting — with the rest of the world at war, they certainly don't need the children fighting as well. She gives each of the children a chore to do as punishment for their bickering and teasing. Molly and Ricky reconcile after realizing they have been foolish to keep up this battle.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Susan crosses her fingers when she tells a lie.

Authority Roles

Mrs. Gilford says Molly can't leave the table until she finishes her turnips. Even when Mrs. Gilford isn't there to watch her, Molly doesn't leave the table or try to hide the turnips. Mrs. McIntire deals out instructions and punishments when they are due, and she insists the children stop their vengeful teasing and hurtful actions.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 and up


Valerie Tripp






Record Label



American Girl


On Video

Year Published





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