What is a summary of the chapter titled "February"?
Here's a very short summary: Holling accidentally messes up his dad's chances of winning the contract to design the new school. He also goes on a date with Meryl, and he reads Romeo and Juliet and hates it at first, then slowly starts appreciating it.
Here's a detailed summary:
As the chapter titled "February" opens, it's a Friday night, and Holling and his family are getting very dressed up to go to an awards banquet at the Kiwanis Club. Neither Holling nor his sister wants to wear the flowers they're supposed to, so they dare each other to flush them down the toilet.
Just then, the ceiling in their living room caves in, making a hideous mess and causing their father to yell angrily about the workmen who were in charge of fixing the ceiling.
When the family arrives at the Kiwanis event, Holling gives his carnation away, and his sister actually flushes her orchid. They sit through a boring dinner and some boring speeches, and Holling's dad gives his speech to accept his award for being a model businessman in the community. Holling finds it all a bit ironic, because as soon as they get back home, Holling's dad calls up the workmen and bullies them into coming back over first thing the next morning to redo the ceiling repairs.
Back at school, the rat problem is getting worse and the ceiling tiles are bulging downward. Holling's teacher assigns him Romeo and Juliet, which he reads in just three days, and he thinks the story is really stupid because of how the main characters kill themselves. It's not realistic, Holling argues as he talks to Mrs. Baker about it. But Meryl Lee likes how Holling is reading Romeo and Juliet, and he successfully asks her out on a date for Valentine's Day.
Holling barely has any money and wonders where he can take Meryl on their date, but his dad is just focused on the new modern design for the junior high school. His friend Danny doesn't help, either. When Holling reads some more Romeo and Juliet with Mrs. Baker, he starts to appreciate it more, and when he goes down to see Mrs. Bigio to pick up some cupcakes for the class, she gives him two tickets to see the stage play.
Problem solved! Holling takes Meryl to see the play for their date, and they have a great time. After the show, they talk about their dads' separate plans for the new junior high school, and Holling draws his dad's plan to show Meryl. She keeps the drawing.
Soon afterward, Holling goes with his dad to a business meeting. Everyone is presenting their ideas for the new junior high school, and Meryl's dad's presentation shows that he's totally copied Holling's dad's idea! Mr. Hoodhood is really mad at Holling, and Holling is angry at himself for being so stupid as to give away his dad's design to Meryl.
He argues with Meryl, but she claims that she never wanted her dad to use the design, and her eyes are red from crying.
Holling rewrites his essay about Romeo and Juliet, showing how his own experiences are changing how he interprets the play. Then he takes a rose and some Cokes over to Meryl's house to apologize, and they make up. Meryl's dad withdraws his idea for the new junior high school, and Holling's dad wins the contract for his own company.
The chapter closes when Mrs. Baker receives notice that her husband is missing in action in the war.