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Cover image for Molly McGinty has a really good day
Molly McGinty has a really good day

Publication Information:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2004.
Physical Description:
105 pages ; 20 cm
When supremely organized seventh-grader, Molly McGinty, loses the notebook she relies on to keep her life in order she spends the day in chaos.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader MG 5.8 3.0 81644.

Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.8 3.0 81644.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.4 7 Quiz: 35976 Guided reading level: W.


Call Number
J Paulsen

On Order



TODAY MOLLY Learned her wacky grandma was coming to spend the day at school with her; Lost her Notebook with Everything that Matters in it, including her homework; Got a black eye. Tore her skirt. And it's only 9 a.m. Could things get any worse? You bet!

Author Notes

Gary Paulsen was born on May 17, 1939 in Minnesota. He was working as a satellite technician for an aerospace firm in California when he realized he wanted to be a writer. He left his job and spent the next year in Hollywood as a magazine proofreader. His first book, Special War, was published in 1966. He has written more than 175 books for young adults including Brian's Winter, Winterkill, Harris and Me, Woodsong, Winterdance, The Transall Saga, Soldier's Heart, This Side of Wild, and Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books. Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room are Newbery Honor Books. He was the recipient of the 1997 Margaret A. Edwards Award for his lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Molly McGinty, a sixth-grader at Our Lady of Mercy Middle School, is panicked over the loss of her three-ring binder. In it she keeps everything she needs to be organized, such as homework assignments, addresses, and due dates of library books and her grandmother's bills. To make things worse, her extraverted and unconventional grandmother and guardian, Irene, comes to school on Senior Citizens' Day. The woman introduces the French class to vocabulary that sound like swear words, gets busted for smoking in the girls' room, initiates a poetry slam, and talks Father Connery into letting the social studies class listen to a baseball game as an example of democracy in action. Despite her embarrassment, Molly comes to appreciate the school's social misfits and also snags a boyfriend. And by the time she recovers her notebook, she's learned, thanks to Irene, "to go with the flow." Although the overexuberant woman is a little hard to believe, the character still works. This light, breezy romp is humorous and as unpredictable as Grandma Irene.-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Prolific author Paulsen (Hatchet; Nightjohn) aims for laughs but misses in this slight story about an anal-retentive girl forced to work without her net. The "exceedingly organized" Molly keeps life tidy in a three-ring binder with sections for school, social life and family life, in order to manage the home she shares with her grandmother, Irene, since her parents' death in a car accident (a loss treated matter-of-factly). Irene and Molly are not ideally suited as roommates: for each of Molly's strictures, her grandmother has a corresponding wild hair. The morning that the binder disappears, Molly must prepare for a test without notes. It's also Senior Citizen Day, an event Irene hasn't missed-to Molly's horror-since kindergarten. The broadly farcical plot careens from one implausible event to the next. In Molly's mind, the loss of the notebook sets off the chain of mishaps. She gets a black eye before leaving the house ("Come on, princess, we'll grab an ice pack for that eye on the way to the bus stop," Irene says). She also tears her skirt, finds herself lugging around both Irene's huge handbag and a friend's cello, and delinquents who are lighting matches singe her hair. Unfortunately, Paulsen never explores the real motivation behind orphaned Molly's need for structure, and the revelation that Irene deliberately swiped the binder seems cruel, not funny. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Not only has super-organized Molly lost her essential notebook, but her grandmother is coming to school for Senior Citizens' Day. Molly is kind of stuffy, her grandmother is predictably madcap, and their day together is one slapstick caper after another, as Molly learns the virtues of spontaneity. There are some funny moments, but even in its celebration of nonconformity the story is too formulaic. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

There's only one problem with organizing one's entire life in a multi-pocketed three-ring binder: it might get lost. Alas, this is the fate of sixth-grader Molly McGinty, black belt in the art of maximum productivity. Molly has to be organized, because her grandmother/guardian, a talent agent for animals, lives life as if her creativity would be threatened by "paying bills on time, dressing sedately, and dusting." In fact, the eccentric bon vivant wears purple suede jeans to Senior Citizens' Day at Molly's Our Lady of Mercy Middle School, marking the beginning of Molly's "really good day," whose highlights include a black eye (dashing to the bus), getting set on fire, and having her hair braided against her will. Molly's perpetual battle against "widespread fundamental uncertainty" (and everything her grandmother stands for) is hilarious, and children with embarrassing relatives and those with obsessive-compulsive tendencies will understand completely. Early readers will no doubt devour this somewhat slapstick, atypically girl-centric Paulsen offering. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. In his latest novel, Paulsen easily moves from wilderness and military adventures to farce about survival at home and at school. Molly is organized, you might say obsessive, so when she loses her multipocket three-ring binder, which contains lists of Everything She Needed to Live, she is devastated--especially since it is Senior Citizens Day at her middle school, and her flamboyant, embarrassing grandmother, Irene, is attending. Clad in purple suede pants and glittering beads, Irene wants her dear Molly to forget effective organizational techniques and loosen up. Irene is a hit as she challenges silly grammar lessons, pals with the delinquents, and gets busted for smoking in the girls' bathroom. Some of the jokes may appeal more to adults than to children, but middle-graders will enjoy the wild schoolyard and classroom slapstick, even as they feel for the kid who has to watch over her unpredictable, loving caregiver. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist