Mini Mighty Merry Molly

Molly is a very impressive toddler, with exceptional fine and gross motor control, artistry and ability to speak two languages. She is very proud of saying she is a big girl. Molly’s vice is her dependency on her collection of 30 soothers. Her parents are conflicted about supporting Molly’s soother habit. The struggle hits a climax when during a ferry boat ride, Molly loses her balance, falls and ends up in a crying jag. Her parents can’t find one of her soothers, but a teenager comes to the rescue. She distracts Molly and reminds Molly that she is a big girl.

Following Molly proclaims she is a big girl and is ready to part with her soothers. Molly’s mom suggests they are given up to the soother fairy. Like the tooth fairy, the soothers are exchanged for a dime and a chocolate. Molly is ready to give up one more soother each night thereafter until she relinquishes her 7 soothers in exchange for seven chocolates and dimes. The book offers the reader the opportunity to use the pattern to make math predictions about totals and remainders.

The front cover of Mini Mighty Merry Molly

The back cover of Mini Mighty Merry Molly

Conflict arises when Molly thinks that she has given them all away but finds two more hidden under her bed which trigger her habit. Faced with the decision to keep these last two or give them up, she concludes she can give them up and does so without a thought of receiving a treat, stating “I’m a big girl now!”

Recently I received feedback on the story. It was suggested that the story end without an answer as to what Molly would do, hence it would be up to the reader to decide. Feedback is always welcome. It is a great opportunity to ponder whether changes could offer improvement and think about one’s commitment to the reasoning behind a story structure or character development. Ultimately, if no changes are made,  it allows the writer to strengthen the justification of the story structure and characters. I decided that I wanted Molly’s choice of giving up the soothers to be strongly proclaimed, emphasizing Molly’s confidence, independence and maturity. It is up to the adult sharing the story to provoke the listening audience to stop before finding out what Molly would do. The reader can simply ask what they predict will happen. See More in the PRC section.

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MC Rolston reading at a school visit

School Visit: What Can You Expect?

  • In costume, I will read the story to a group of students, (The suggested maximum is no more than three classes. The reading would be more effective with one or two classes)

  • A copy of the book for the school

  • The option to use the book as a fundraiser. I will ask for $7.00 to cover my cost and the school or the classroom can set their own price for instance, the book could be sold for $12 which is almost 5 dollars less than regular retail price

  • Depending on time availability, I will conduct a writing workshop with the students in your class

Inspiration for the Story

This story was inspired by our adorable neighbour Molly. We met Molly when Michael and Ann Sofie moved next door to our townhouse  on Bear Mountain. Molly was under two. We quickly became friends with the family. Given that they were new to Canada, and their family was back in Europe, and I was missing teaching the wee ones, our support evolved into periodically babysitting or engaging in fun learning activities. We revelled in our let’s pretend we are grandparents, lol.

We were particularly struck by Molly’s maturity and resilience at such a young age. It was mind blowing to watch her learn two languages. As mentioned in the story, she at her young age ate proficiently with cutlery, exhibited exemplary gross motor skills riding her bike, a scooter plus she could balance on narrow beams, catch a ball and showed exceptional fine motor skills in her detailed drawings. She at a very young age took to colour and design through her fashion choices. She was and still is extremely good-natured. Although resilient and adaptable, Molly is no push over when she is committed to a goal or an idea, she will stand her ground.

Her one vulnerable spot, weakness if you want to call it that, was her attachment to her soothers. Yes, she had at least thirty of them. One day I was visiting and saw the whole assortment washed and laid out on the counter drying. In time Anne Sofie was pregnant with their second child. Michael and Anne Sofie were thinking that it was approaching time to encourage Molly to give  up her soothers. Consequently, Anne Sofie introduced the soother fairy.

It is this family’s story that inspired this story. Molly will always be our ‘pretend grand-daughter’ and have a special place in our hearts.

Mark & Keith taking in the views

About the Illustrator

Mark Rolston became Mary Catherine Rolston’s Elf King May 21, 1983. He spent 44 years as an insurance claims specialist. As an avid sports fan, he is a walking sport trivia reference bank. He is passionate about the game of golf. Since retiring and moving out to Vancouver Island in 2016, he has worked on perfecting his game. When their eldest had his First Communion, Mark drew an adorable stick figure sketch of Matt praying. Since then, for years MC has encouraged Mark to engage in painting and sketching. Although he did produce a couple other sketches, it wasn’t until the move to the island that Mark began to investigate and play with his inner creativity. You can see more of his journey by watching I’m Not An Artist on YouTube.

Since fully retiring the summer of 2021, he took on the project of digitally illustrating Mini Mighty Merry Molly with his endearing stick figures.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections

Predictions

Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predicable events.

Ask the following questions:

Do you think Molly has a weakness? If so, what might it be?

How many soothers do you think that Molly owns?

What do you think happens when Molly can’t find a soother?

Do you think her parents will find the soother on the ferry?

What might stop Molly from crying when they can’t find a soother?

Will Molly give up her soothers?

What will Molly do when she finds the lost soothers?

Reflections

Reflecting throughout a book helps make a read personal and come alive. It reflects a readers level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveals and higher understanding as oppose to simple literal comparisons. They also allow for a reader to reflect and retell part of the story as they digest the story. The first level of reflecting is in a simplistic retelling with minimal details. The next level of comprehension unfolds when the reader more details and explains the nuances.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Describe Molly.

What are Molly’s strengths and what are her weaknesses?

What does Molly do to show she is a big girl at the start of the story?

What does Molly do to show she is a big girl after she meets the teenager?

What does molly do to prove she is a big girl at the end of the story/

How many soothers does Molly have?

Why does Molly use her soothers?

Does she need them, wnat them or both?

Do Molly’s parents depend on the soothers? Why?

Why are Molly’s parents in a panic when they can’t find her soothers?

Does giving up her soothers require Molly to have courage? Why or why not?

Connections

Making connections allows a reader to develop their understanding of a story by relating the story to their own personal experiences and other people, places, things and other heard stories.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you ever had something that helps you calm down or secure?

Did you use soothers? How many did you have?

Can you think of another story where the main character showed courage giving up something?

Have you ever experienced giving up something special like soothers or a special blanket?

How did it feel?

Have you ever been caught trying to hide something like Molly was hiding her found soothers, then had to tell the truth?

Additional Resources

Math – Language Literacy Link

Look at this chart. What pattern does it reflect?

1 1 dime + 1 flower
2 2 dimes + 2 flowers
3 3 dimes + 3 flowers
4 4 dimes + 4 flowers
5 5 dimes + 5 flowers
6 6 dimes + 6 flowers
7 7 dimes + 7 flowers
How many soothers were given away in total? How much money had Molly made after the seventh day?
Additional Questions

Why were two soothers found under the bed?

How much money did Molly make total after she gave up the final 2 soothers?

Parenting

Patterning for Preschoolers

Taken from the conclusion of this study:

The finding that cognitive flexibility is an underlying factor for some patterning performance may influence future work on patterning instruction. It is known that patterning facilitates later mathematics performance and is related to some early reading skills (cf. reviews by Burgoyne et al., 2017; Pasnak, 2017). Elementary school curricula already place emphasis on detecting patterns. The present results suggest that educators may find it beneficial to also place emphasis on the switching component of completing the patterning tasks. For number-specific patterns, teachers may stress the importance of mentally manipulating the number sequence in one’s mind to complete the pattern.