Tuesday, December 2, 2008

“If I become the sister of Little Miss Stoneybrook, I will absolutely die”…..BSC # 15: Little Miss Stoneybrook…and Dawn

Memory Reaction

I remember reading this, and not fully understanding why Mal and Jessi called beauty pageants sexist. I watched Miss America as a little kid, but never really thought about the sexism angle. I do now, so maybe I have the BSC to thank for being a feminist. But probably not.

Revisited Reaction

Stoneybrook is having some lame little girl beauty pageant, and Claire and Margo Pike want to enter. Dawn gets a job helping them prepare, because, God forbid Mrs. Pike help her kids with something. Dawn is jealous of Mal and Jessi, because Kristy makes a big deal out of formally inducting them to the club, and everyone gets jealous because Charlotte Johnassen requests Claudia sit for her (so that she can feel close to Stacey, who just moved). Because of all this jealousy, Dawn wants to make sure one of the girls wins, so she can prove what a great person she is.

Claire and Margo are not exactly beauty pageant material – Claire sings a Popeye song as her talent, and Margo peels a banana with her feet (which is just gross). But, they seem to be having fun. Meanwhile, other kids sign-up and the rest of the BSC coaches them – Kristy helps Karen, Mary Anne helps Mariah Perkins, and Claudia helps Charlotte Johanssen. Mal and Jessi refuse to have anything to do with it. The rest of the sitters, all get a little competitive about who will win.

On pageant day, the BSC decides the pageant is kind of silly, and the kids (except Mariah) all kinda suck, so they just naturally shrug off the competitiveness. They also realize Mariah is the only one with a chance of winning and root for her. She ends up coming in second, and the winner is this chick named Sabrina Bouvier who encompasses everything wrong with little kid-beauty pagents. She also somehow ends up in eighth-grade by book 60. I’m thinking Ann M. Martin knew somebody with that name. If you haven’t already seen it, this did inspire an awesome fan fic.

Subplot: Jeff Schafer hates Stoneybrook and wants to go back to California. This is in the intro chapter of every book, but this is the one where it actually happens.

High/Lowlights

  • When Charlotte requests that Claudia sits for her, Kristy gets mad at Claud for taking the job. Jessi and Mal don’t get why…shouldn’t someone have explained the club rules before they joined?
  • Jeff is surprisingly self aware of the fact that he acts out because he misses California.
  • Dawn tells us how even though she misses California, she could never leave her mom. Sure, Dawn.
  • Dawn doesn’t really help Claire and Margo very much. She knows their talents are lame and just lets them go ahead with them. I guess it is good she is letting them be themselves, but she should prepare them for not winning.
  • How is Mariah Perkins so talented? She is five and has taken ballet, tap dancing, theater, and gymnastics. Plus, she can sing a ridiculous number of songs. I was in some kind of tumbling when I was that age, but I couldn’t really do much.
  • Mrs. Perkins is the only sane parents, because she tells Mariah she can be in the pageant, but she should know some people will take it really seriously, and to only do it if you can have fun without winning.
  • I like Charlotte and all, but reciting something from a book isn’t really a talent. Also, Claudia thinks this is unique, but really it is the same as Margo’s talent (She recites a poem while she eats the banana she peeled with her feet).
  • Mal and Jessi are sitting for the Pikes and they get really annoyed with Claire and Margo rehearsing for the pageant. I kind of like that they actually show these girls getting annoyed by the little kids they are around.
  • The girls also train the kids to answer the questions right. Mallory thinks it is awful that they are not letting the girls be themselves or creative. I can’t help but kinda love Mal in this book.
  • When Jeff leaves for California, Dawn and her mom get to go right up to the gate and wait for him to board. Remember when that was possible?
  • There are only fifteen girls in the pageant, which means a third of them were coached by the BSC.
  • Margo picks out who Sabrina Bouvier is just by looking at her. She thinks only someone with a name like that would wear makeup at age six.
  • Backstage, most kids have their pushy stage moms with them, but do the Pikes (or the other BSC parents)? Nope, that is what they pay someone for.
  • I don’t care where you are, putting makeup on a six-year-old is wrong.
  • Karen Brewer sings the Wheels on the Bus as her talent, and Dawn thinks she is making up verses as she goes along. The judges can’t stand her though, and they keep looking at their watches.
  • Charlotte freaks out, forgets her speech, and runs off the stage crying. That’s what happens when you force a kid to do something they don’t want, Claudia.
  • After Charlotte runs off the stage in tears, Claudia has to go find her parents. If you were watching a beauty pageant and saw your daughter run off stage crying, wouldn’t you go look for her?
  • Dawn, Claire, and Margo think it is funny that the pageant coordinator thinks Dawn is their sister. Well, maybe she assumes most families want to do things together.
  • Karen gets asked what three things she would rescue in a fire, and Karen can’t pick between her brother and a pen that writes in three colors for her last item. I guess it is at least realistic.
  • Margo is asked what she hopes will happen by the year 2010. It is freaky to be reading that now, when we are actually close to that.
  • When Jeff gets back to California, he talks about how his dad helps him with his math homework, and Dawn points out she and her mom never did that with Jeff. Way to ruin the book’s feminist message with a message that girls can’t do math.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maraiahs an overscheduled wunderkind. How come her parents need the BSC so much if her parents are schlepping her around to all these classes? They don't even really babysit the other sister on her own alot do they?

Like Maraiah, I knew the words to all kinds of songs when I was that little. My dad was a big country and oldies rock & roll music fan and played records for us all the time, so I always figured the Perkins parents were that way too. However, even at that age I knew 'Blue Suede Shoes' was really by Carl Perkins and only covered by Elvis- Suck on that little miss prodigy!

nikki said...

Have you ever seen any of those shows on TLC or A&E about beauty pagents? It's so scary the number of parents who will let their dughters as young as THREE get all tarted up and strut for the judges. Why do these parents want to turn their kid into a pedophiles dream??? It is disgusting.

And like you, I do think that this is the book that introduced me to the concept of sexism in pagents. So when one of the girls in my high school won Miss Teen Maryland and wore her sash and crown to school (I kid you not) I got to lecture my friends about how she is really a victim of an out-dated sexist event.

Susan said...

Nikki, you mean you lectured like Dawn? ;)
Pageants...I don't know. Something like this, which the girls mostly seemed to enter for fun is very different than those TLC/A&E shows. Like most things (that is, things that aren't illegal or harmful) if someone wants to do it have fun! But those moms who force their girls...not so much.
Was it this blog or another that brought up the question of why Dawn is so outspoken on so many issues, yet was the first to jump at a chance to help with a pageant?

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

I never thought about issue crazy Dawn being the first to do the pageant...It just goes to show you how much a hypocrite she is.

Katie said...

Hello...recent lurker, first time poster. Great blog, btw. I love everything BSC!

I do love Mal in this book because while my friends and I used to parade around in my mom's formal gowns and pretend like we were in the Miss America pageant, I never really wanted to be in a pageant. I just liked dressing up. :)

I could sing a lot of popular music songs by age 5, especially "oldies" music (motown, Beach Boys, Beatles, Sinatra, etc). Music was always a big part of my life growing up.

So I could see Mariah knowing a lot of songs if the Perkins were listening to a lot of music.

As for all of the dance stuff, well...5 may be a bit young for that. Most of the 5 year olds at my dance studio are still in "pre-dance." Now if she were 7, that would be different...:)

zanne said...

I agree, peeling a banana with your feet is pretty gross. But I thought at least it was original. I don't know anyone who can do that.

Yes, I remember when you could sit with people at the gate before their flight took off! I was just thinking about that actually.

Anonymous said...

Ha! The thing about waiting with friends or family at their gate really does date this book.
I always remember the bit about Jeff being excited about a whole hall of vending machines at the airport and wanting to blow his money on crap from them.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

That always made Jeff seem more normal....he ate healthy stuff like Dawn, but was still a kid how would eat a candy bar when it was shoved in front of him.

Is it wrong, that after thinking about it, I really want to try peeling a banana with me feet? It is kind of like wanting to try that lipstick thing that Molly Ringwald does in The Breakfast Club.

colleenn said...

When I was five I had been taking ballet since I was two (almost three though) and had probably just recently started tap. And I also knew words to tons of songs but wasn't exactly a great singer.

Maraiah and especially Gabbie just always struck me as being way too advanced for their ages, in the way they would talk and by how crazy-talented they were. Like, Gabbie can sing and dance and talk more or less like an adult, but Marnie Barrett who is also two can barely speak.

Emily said...

I actually HAVE tried peeling a banana with my feet...it's actually kind of tough. Margo actually WAS talented. :)