Tuesday, January 27, 2009

“We’ll be back in New York in four or five weeks….”BSC # 13: Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye

Memory Reaction

I only remember the very end of this book. The BSC is trying to figure out a replacement for Stacey, and eventually decide to call Mallory Pike. So, it ends with Stacey calling her and asking Mal to come to the next meeting. Which, of course we see in “Hello, Mallory.”

Revisited Reaction

The company Mr. McGill works for in closing their Connecticut office, so he is transferred back to New York. Stacey is sort of excited about moving back to the city for about two seconds. Then she talks to Laine and remembers that most kids at her old school made fun of her because of all the diabetes drama. So, Stacey remembers this and realizes how much she’ll miss Claudia and the rest of the BSC – then she decides it is a horrible idea.

All the girls are upset because they’ll miss Stacey and because they will need to replace her in the BSC and don’t know anyone good enough. They decide to throw her a party, but try to think of something “special” for it. Their big idea? To invite all the kids they sit for instead of their other friends. I know baby-sitting is what I would want to do at a going away party. Anyway, the BSC also helps Stacey have a yard sale to condense their stuff into a pile that will fit in the apartment. But that goes well, they have the party, and then Stacey leaves.

Oh, and she does call Mallory but I was wrong about it being the last chapter of the book – there is actually another chapter covering the actual move.


  • Ha, Stacey is upset earlier in the book, because Howie Johnson (this guy she went to some dances with) asks Dorianne Wallingford to go to the library. It is nice to see them still acting like kids about dating, you know?
  • For a minute, Stacey thinks her father is going to say he lost his job. So she thinks about how to stretch her baby-sitting money will go. I am sure that will pay the mortgage.
  • Stacey hopes her parents will get her charge cards for all the stores she will be close to in NYC. Keep dreaming Stacey…you’re 13!
  • Oh, Stacey. She asks her parents if they can stay in Stoneybrook until the end of the year so she can graduate with Claudia. How sweet that she thinks she’ll ever finish 8th grade. And that she thinks Claudia won’t flunk out.
  • Stacey is surprised to learn Claudia didn’t have a best friend before her. Did she just not think about it?
  • Stacey and Claudia think their parents will let Stacey live at Claud’s for the rest of the school year. Aren’t they a little old to think anyone would go for that?
  • The outfit they were jealous of each other for, “off-the-shoulder sweatshirts and sneakers.” Okay, it was the 80s. I’ll give that to them.
  • Mary Anne sits for Jeff, who apparently only needs a sitter at night. I think that is actually reasonable for a ten-year-old, but why do other 10-year-olds get sitters all the time?
  • Dawn has pierced ears in this one, but doesn’t she get her ears pierced in that book when Mal and Jessi do? Then she gets two in each ear. Or…was that just when she got a second hole?
  • So, the other girls are all worried about how they can have a cool party when they are broke. Stacey tells them that if they help out with her parents yard sale, the five of them can keep the money, but it doesn’t dawn on them until pages later that they can use that money for the party.
  • The Pike kids spy on the couple that lives in the house behind them. It is lame and annoying, but I just mention it because that must be the house Stacey eventually moves back to. So, it is kind of funny to have it mentioned here.
  • Mal helps out at a sitting job at the Pikes, but Claudia still thinks she is too young to join the BSC.
  • Stacey wants to sell a sweater at her yard sale for $40, because she thinks her mom bought it for her for a lot more. This was published in 1988, so spending that much on a kid’s sweater seems like a lot. They end up marking it for $3.50.
  • Morbidda Destiny (I can’t call her anything else) just walks into Kristy’s yard and invites the crowd of kids hanging out there to come to her house for lemonade. She practically begs them because she is lonely. I am going to believe she knows Karen claims she is a witch and is trying to scare her. Cause that is a better image then Karen making fun of a sad old lady.
  • Mrs. Barrett kind of sucks in this one. Buddy and Suzi want to have thier own yard sale, to make money off their toys. Mrs. Barrett just drops the whole job in Dawn’s lap, with no advance warning.
  • Suzi asks if she can come to Stacey’s good-bye party, and Dawn is just all, “hey, great idea!” Then she calls Kristy and they decide inviting kids is a great way to have a party. I guess this was the first time they did – but it became a standard thing.
  • Someone tries to buy the shutters on the McGill’s house and their car at the yard sale. The car? Who goes to a yard sale and makes an offer on the car? Also, did they really only have one car? I can see that working in Manhattan, but in suburban Connecticut?
  • Claudia outfit: “Purple-and-white striped body suit under a gray jumper-thing. The legs of the body suit stretched all the way to her ankles, but she was wearing purple push down socks anyway. Around her middle was a wide purple belt with a buckle in the shape of a telephone. And on her feet were black ballet slippers.”
  • Dawn was wearing, “a very short kilt, an oversized red sweater, and yellow socks over red tights. On her head was a red beret with a sparkly initial pin attached to the side.” That doesn’t seem like a very-Dawn outfit.
  • Mary Anne: “A navy mini-dress with a pink sash, blue tights, and black slippers like Claudia’s.” Stacey helped her pick it out.
  • Stacey reveals her real name is “Anastasia Elizabeth.” And Dawn’s is “Dawn Read.”
  • Mary Anne points out that when they started the club, they were only a year older than Mallory is now. But apparently that is still a big enough difference to everyone else.
  • Stacey’s parents get her cards with her address on it that say, “The New York Branch of the Baby-sitters club.” I remember Dawn calling herself the “California Branch” in later books, but I thought it was something she made up herself. I guess it came from Stacey.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

“What we talked about could have filled pages”…..BSC Super Special # 11: The Baby-sitters Remember

Memory Reaction

I always considered this a “special” Super Special – because the original copy I got had a gold cover that was different from all the other ones. I think it also came with a BSC necklace…. that I am pretty sure I still have. Not out or anything, and I certainly don’t wear it, but it is saved in a box of mementoes somewhere.

Revisited Reaction

This book is a little different then most Super Specials because, instead of the girls taking turns as narrator, all the Kristy chapters are lumped together, then all the Claud, etc. Each section is like a mini book with the flashback of one girl. So, they are not really connected, except each one is a flashback. Because of that, I am writing it up a little differently then usual.

The basic set-up is that everyone at Stoneybrook Middle School has to write an essay over the summer about their vacations. The BSC talks about how it is a dumb assignment, and start throwing out more interesting questions. They settle on thinking of their “most vivid memory”, and the rest of the book is each girl’s (and Logan’s) flashback.


Kristy’s most vivid memory is about her first baby-sitting job. Because this is Kristy, so of course it would be about baby-sitting. It happened when she was ten and her mom’s sitter for David Michael cancelled at the last minute. Charlie and Sam couldn’t watch him, so Kristy begged her mom to let her do it. She did, and then Kristy was super-nervous about doing a good job. But, of course it all went well, Kristy baby-sat more and more, and a monster was born.

  • Kristy is old enough to not have a sitter at age ten (even before she watches David Michael), but when she turns 13, all the kids in Stoneybrook magically still need sitters at ten?
  • Kristy says if she were a teacher she would assign essays and tell the kids they can write any length they want. I don’t think that is really a good idea. Aside from the fact that she will have to read them – any job where you have to write in the real world, involves writing to a specific length. It is an important skill.


Stacey’s story is about when she first got diagnosed with diabetes. It basically is a detailed version of the summary she gives in The Truth About Stacey – she starts being really thirsty, she wets the bed at a sleepover, she goes to a doctor and finds out she is a diabetic. It is very dramatic; her friends turn against her blah, blah, blah. So, she is happy to move to Stoneybrook a year later.

  • Laine is totally Regina George. Or Blair Waldorf. She calls her and her friends “the group,” makes rules for the group, and even gives a hard time to whoever is late.


Claudia’s memory is from when she was in first grade and already hated school. But she did like to draw pictures with crayons. So, when she gets a first-grade homework assignment of drawing a self-portrait, she decides to draw a colorful butterfly. Her art teacher basically calls her an idiot for this, which leads to Claudia crying to Mimi. Mimi then awesomely goes back to school to talk to the teacher, and tells her Claud was being metaphorical and understood the assignment better than anyone, and that she had no right to stomp on Claud’s creativity. So, the teacher apologizes.

Claud claims Mimi really understood what she did, but you never know with Claud. But, it is still pretty bad to tell a little kid they are dumb for a picture they drew, so I still think Mimi is awesome. So anyway, Claud says this is when she decided to be an artist.

  • Janine has always been able to top Claudia with insults. Six-year-old Claud tells her she probably can’t even draw a house, and Janine is all, “Why would I want to do that?”
  • I can’t tell if Claudia’s drew a butterfly because she just wanted to use all her crayons or because she was actually thinking that abstractly as a kid. Regardless, her teacher shouldn’t have insulted it.


Jessi’s memory is about when Squirt was born. Jessi didn’t want a new sibling, which is probably standard for nine-year-olds (her age at the time). She doesn’t want to say it out loud cause it might jinx the baby (her mom had a couple miscarriages before this pregnancy). So, she just pouts a lot. Then her mom has the baby, and he cries a lot. Jessi is the only one who can get him to stop, and she falls in love with her brother (not in a gross way).

  • Jessi’s description of her hometown makes it seem like she lives in Mayberry or a fifties sitcom or something. Seriously, she talks about how everyone sat on their porches and talked to the neighbors every night, and how all the adults watched each other’s kids, etc.
  • Nine-year-old Jessi freaks at the idea of packing a bag for her mom to go to the hospital. Her biggest concern? How much of that “big underwear” she should pack. It makes me rethink my image of Mrs. Ramsey


Logan’s memory is basically the events of Logan Likes Mary-Anne, but from Logan’s point of view. Which makes it even less interesting than most Logan chapters. The only things of note are, Logan was totally stalking Mary Anne. Seriously. He spies on the BSC and finds out they need more sitters and so he makes a point of sitting next to them at lunch and joining the club. The rest of the chapters are really a replay of book 10.

  • When Logan’s family moves, his parents insist on driving to show the kids the country. But all they do is drive in circles to go through different states: Kentucky Ohio to West Virginia to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey to Connecticut. They don’t stop or anything. They just drive through for the sake of setting foot in different states. What is the point of doing a route like that if you don’t even stop anywhere?
  • In the car, Logan keeps ripping pictures out of his little brother’s coloring book to color.
  • Logan worries that the boys in Connecticut won’t like football. Where does he think he is moving that guys won’t be into sports?
  • Logan can’t remember Stacey’s name when they meet. She must have been too sophisticated for him.


Mallory’s memory is from when she was ten and wrote a fan letter to her favorite author. In the form letter response, there is a message that the author will be signing books near Stoneybrook, so Mal’s mom agrees to take her. Mal is all nervous and has a speech prepared for the big meeting. When she meets the woman, she is actually brought to tears out of emotion. She claims that’s when she knew she wanted to be an author, but I swear she wanted to be one before then. Also, I am noticing a pattern here…most of these are about a girl realizing what she wants to do with her life.

  • Mary Anne tells Mal all about the time she wrote a fan letter to Louisa May Alcott. I thought Mary Anne was supposed to be kind of smart.
  • Mal recognizes that she gets a form letter back, but thinks the “handwritten” note telling her about the book signing came from the author herself. Mal, honey, that is what assistants are for.
  • Oh, Mallory. She had sent the author her school picture and she tries to wear the same outfit so she’ll be “recognizable.” Even though it is like a dark sweater and this happens in the spring.


Shannon’s memory is from the beginning of 8th grade…which throws in that time warp thing, since now it is summer and she is still in 8th grade. But anyway, it is all about how some new girl at her school only wanted to have one BFF, so she would attach herself to all the girls in Shannon’s social circle (one-at-a-time). As soon as they do something “wrong” she cuts off all contact.

Shannon is all impressed when she is the chosen one, and almost blows off studying for a test to get in the astronomy club. But she comes to her sense and the new kid moves on. But it made Shannon wary of new kids and that is why she was mean to Kristy at first. Of course, that doesn’t really make sense, since Kristy moved at the beginning of 8th grade too. So, the timeline is a little fuzzy too. Unless they are saying that this all happened when Kristy already lived at Watson’s but Shannon didn’t meet her until later.

  • In eighth grade, Shannon takes psychology, philosophy, and joins an astronomy club. I know it is private school, and she is supposed to be smart, but that is still pretty unbelievable. She is only in 8th grade.


Apparently, telling other perspective of Mary Anne books is really popular, cause Dawn’s story is about her parents getting divorced and moving to CT, where she meets….Mary Anne. Which is kind of a re-telling of Mary Anne Saves the Day.

The part that is original, is about Dawn’s parents having violent fights and then Dawn being a brat about them splitting up. Seriously, she tells her mom that she wouldn’t have wanted to be married to her, and then tells her that she keeps driving people out of her life.

  • I kind of want to know more about Dawn’s parents divorce. They tell the kids that they disagree on lifestyles, but Dawn hears one of their fights and it is about how Mrs. Schafer thinks Mr. Shafer is a liar. It is way too bitter for simple lifestyle differences. I think we should have gotten a “Dawn and the illegitimate half-sibling” books.
  • Dawn is a brat. And she acts all shocked at the divorce even though all she had thought about for weeks was them fighting.
  • Dawn’s mother comes this close to slapping her, but walks away. Then Dawn’s grandmother comforts her even though she totally doesn’t deserve it.

Mary Anne

Mary Anne’s memory is from when she was eight and her father was still hiring tons of annoying baby sitters for her. When he has to go out of town for a weekend, Mary Anne guilts him into letting Claud and Kristy sleep over. The sitter doesn’t let Mary Anne have cookies after school, so Kristy decides to get revenge by playing all these practical jokes. But the sitter just plays it cool and ignores/smiles at the jokes. So, everyone ends up having fun, and Mary Anne talks about how she learned to not always be serious. Then she claims if any of her charges ever played jokes on her, she would laugh it off. Even though, they totally didn’t do that in BSC 19.

  • Mary Anne talks about all the sitters she had as a kid....one used to bring her to bridge games with her friends. And that’s the one Mary Anne liked (although her dad didn’t).
  • One of the jokes the girls learn is about putting saran wrap over a toilet seat? That’s just disgusting.
  • Mary Anne and Kristy think her sitter is the most awful person in the world because she tells Mary Anne to only have an apple as an after school snack (because they are having junk food later). I guess when you’re eight that was a big deal. But just a few years later the BSC is mature enough to say the same thing to kids they sit for.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

“Time to saddle up your horse and head back to the corral”…BSC # 54: Mallory and the Dream Horse

Memory Reaction

The main thing I remember from this one is how Mallory gets invited to a party that a girl in her riding class is having…and she goes all by herself. I would never have had the nerve to go to a party for someone I barely knew, when I didn’t know anyone was going to be there. However, I can’t recall if I was impressed or horrified by her.

Revisited Reaction

Mallory’s love of horses has led to her wanting her own horse to ride. Since, that will never happen to a girl with seven siblings, she settles for the next best thing: riding lessons at some stable near Stoneybrook. Mal and Jessi both ask their parents if they can sign up, but only the Pikes agree.

So, Mallory starts her classes and sees this white Arabian horse that she loves. She also awkwardly tries to make friends with her classmates, but they all blow her off. After her first lesson she calls Jessi all excited about how great they are, but Jessi is jealous so she kind of ignores Mal. This confuses Mallory, because she isn’t smart enough to figure out why her friend wouldn’t want to hear about all the fun she is missing.

After a couple lessons, Mal falls off her horse. But instead of getting back on, like the expression says, she goes home and cries and her parents take her to the doctor. After this, Mal is always really nervous at class, and feels awkward on the horse. She also gets invited to the party of someone in her class, but stands out like a sore thumb and doesn’t talk to anyone. Eventually Mal tells Jessi that she is miserable, Jessi tells Mal why she was mad, and they make up. Then Mallory has to ride in this horse show where she takes 6th out of 12th place. Her parents are excited, and offer to pay for more lessons, but Mal admits that she no longer wants to ride. She still totally loves reading about horses though.

Meanwhile, the younger Pike kids are putting on a talent show and recruiting kids from the neighborhood to be in it. It is about as lame as when the BSC does it, only they laugh at it (in a oh, isn’t it cute way).

Also, Nina Marshall suddenly has a “blankie” that she insists on carrying around with her. This makes it hard to make friends at her nursery school, because even little kids can be clique-ey. Finally, it rips apart in the dryer, and Nina freaks out. Fortunately, Dawn gets the wonderful idea to give Nina small pieces of the blanket to stick in her pocket.


  • If Nina Marshall had always insisted on carrying her blanket with her, why have we never heard about it before? Wouldn’t it have been in the stupid BSC notebook they all have to read?
  • Mallory and Jessi make this big deal out of how to ask their parents about riding lessons. Like, they script out what they will say, plan to do chores first, etc.
  • Mal is really a crappy friend. She keeps babbling excitedly to Jessi, without even figuring out why Jessi wouldn’t want to hear about it.
  • Nina Marshall had her first day at preschool, and Mrs. Marshall tells Jessi that Nina wouldn’t really talk about. But of course, Jessi gets Nina to open up. She’s a baby-sitter and obviously knows more about kids than a parent!
  • I hate when they try and compare Jessi being black to stupid things like carrying a blanket around. Kids at preschool are picking on Nina because of her blanket, and Jessi is all, “I know what it is like to be picked on, people do that to me because I’m black.” There is a major difference between kids teasing each other and out and out racism.
  • Mallory thinks she will automatically be friends with her classmates at riding school, and they all ignore her. She actually gives her phone number to all these people, and then is surprised they don’t call her. This includes two guys, and I am thinking they thought she was hitting on them and ran away scared.
  • Mal’s parents take her to the hospital after she falls off her horse, and call their family doctor to meet them. Even in the eighties, would a family doctor show up at a hospital on a Saturday? The guy shows up in a golf outfit, so it is not like he was working.
  • A girl in Mal’s riding class invites everyone to her birthday party, and Mal goes even though she doesn’t really know anyone and the other people in class already know each other. I have to give Mal credit, because I wouldn’t have done that in middle school – but then she stands around by the punch bowl all night, not talking to anyone.
  • Mal doesn’t know what to wear, so she opts for conservative: “A brown-and-gold kilt, a matching gold sweater, and penny loafers.” Mal should give up this dream she had of being cool.
  • The girl who invited Mal to the party doesn’t even remember her name. That hurts.
  • Mal calls Jessi to blab about how “awful” the party was, and you can tell Jessi wants to slap her or something.
  • When Jessi finally tells Mal why she is mad, Mallory can’t believe it came across like she was bragging. She usually isn’t that clueless is she? I think I figured it out, even as a kid.
  • So, Mal talks about how there are six kids in her riding class for most of the book, which confused me because I remember it ending with her in 6th place – and Vanessa telling her that meant she was better than half the class and worse than half the class.
  • During the show, Mallory does start saying there are twelve people in the class. It makes me feel good to know I wasn’t totally making things up.
  • There is this part where Mal says that Charlotte and Becca refused to be part of the talent show after their experience with Little Miss Stoneybrook. But, um, Becca was not in the talent show. Only Charlotte. And why does the BSC keep being surprised about Charlotte and Becca declining to perform in something?


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

“This was definitely going to be the most exciting baby-sitting job I’d ever had”…..Mystery # 15: Kristy and the Vampires

Memory Reaction

This is going to sound stupid…but, I remember when I read this, I was all proud that I could call my town “cooler” than Stoneybrook. Because in this mystery, a TV movie is being filmed in Stoneybrook. But they filmed Welcome to the Dollhouse in my hometown, which was a “real” movie that went to the theaters. So, I thought it was cooler than the BSC. I know, it is sad. I still like to think I was cooler than the BSC, but not for that reason.

I also remember reading it more recently (when I must have been feeling nostalgic) and thinking that the reference to the press was way too much for a TV movie. But now that I think about it, some TV movies to get a lot of press.

Revisited Reaction

So, the set up is that they are filming some lame TV movie in Stoneybrook. One of the leads is Derek Masters, Stoneybook’s own “TV star” who shows up every few books. There is also some hunky teen heartthrob that everyone is in love with. Now, so far it is not so unbelievable. But, don’t worry, the ridiculousness stars soon. Mrs. Masters calls the BSC because Derek needs someone on set with him every day, and his parents don’t want to do it. Now, the part about Derek needing a guardian on set makes sense, because there are labor laws about child actors. But by definition, the guardian usually has to be someone OVER 18! I mean, really. A 13-year-old would still need a guardian themselves. So can one watch Derek? Argh.

But anyway, Kristy ends up with the job, and the book pretends Jessi isn’t the ones who is supposedly closest to Derek. Claudia ends up with a similar job for Derek’s little brother, which is even more ridiculous because he is four. What kind of set lets a four-year-old run around without their parents? But regardless, Kristy, Claud, and various BSCers get to spend their summer hanging around a movie set.

At first things go okay, but Derek has a few minor accidents (breaking a lamp and stuff) that are written off as him being a klutz. But then the accidents get a little more serious (the harness for a stunt being tampered with) and Kristy finds a threatening note in Derek’s trailer. The BSC starts to investigate, but really don’t do as much “detective work” as in the other books. They just talk about people on set who would want to hurt Derek. The main suspects are the hunky teen actor and his manager, both of whom are annoyed that Derek is getting more attention in the movie. Eventually, Kristy figures out that the accidents are caused by this girl who is in love with the teen hunk. She was mad that Derek looked like a better actor. Kristy stops things just before Derek rode off in a limo with cut breaks. Yes, it is that melodramatic.

We still get a happy ending though, because the girl gets treatment and the movie is finished and gets great reviews, blah, blah, blah.


  • Kristy talks about how much she admires her mom for not falling apart when her dad left. I like when they let Kristy get into her family history, it gives her more depth.
  • Kristy says the BSC counts the Masters as “regular clients” because they have a house in Stoneybrook. I think they count them as regular clients because they think it sounds cool to say they sit for an actor.
  • The Masters need someone everyday for Derek and occasional days with his brother. Mary Anne can tell from the record book that Kristy is free for Derek (really? Kristy has no jobs at all?) and that Claud can sit for Todd (the brother). My question is, how does she know Claud can do it, when they don’t have a list of days she is needed? I hate plot holes like that.
  • Kristy says Stacey never complains about being a diabetic. I guess she never read any of the Stacey books, huh?
  • Kristy just shows up on the set looking for Derek and is able to walk right in. No security, nothing. Maybe this is why the movie has crazy fans sabotaging the set. These producers might want to invest in a little thing called security guards.
  • Did Kristy really not know that movies are filmed out of order? I am trying to remember when I learned that, but I am sure it was before I was 13.
  • So the movie is called Little Vampires. The only thing stopping me from calling it the most ridiculous vampire story ever, is that I just discovered the Twilight books.
  • So Derek trips during a scene because the crazy fan put oil on the floor. And the director is all, “we have to reshoot this, but can’t do it now.” That makes NO sense. Wouldn’t they be doing multiple takes of each shot anyway? It would take a few minutes to get one more take of Derek walking out of the room. Doing it later adds hours to the process. Sorry. I studied video production, so when I see it portrayed so badly, I go crazy.
  • Claire Pike is scared of vampires, so they have her dress up like a witch (cause witches are scarier than vampires). Again, they just let this little girl in costume walk around the set.
  • Awe, Charlotte is “playing detective” and following the teen actor. She ends up walking right onto the set and the director yells at her. I feel her embarrassment. Although, I will ask again. Where the hell is security?
  • Mallory gets to be an extra in the movie, which boosts her self-esteem a little.
  • Kristy uses the line, “That’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question?” and no one gets it. Kristy only repeats it because Watson said it, and doesn’t know where it is from. I feel old. And I wasn’t even alive when that show was on.
  • Cokie Mason hangs out on the set all the time and throws a party for all the actors. The only people who go are the crew members and the child actors. But honestly, I have a hard time believing even those people would attend some random teenager’s party.
  • Kristy actually feels bad for Cokie when no one good shows up at the party. That’s…out of character. But then everyone gets food poisoning from her food, and she hates her again.
  • When the movie finishes filming in LA, Dawn gets hired to watch Derek. Of course.
  • The last chapter is a “scrapbook” of articles/press clippings about the movie. Some of them include references to Derek as someone girls are flipping over. But he…is eight. I think it is supposed to be from some teen magazines, but even so, that is just wrong.