Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This is exactly what I needed for my autobiography”…….BSC Portrait Collection: Dawn’s Book

Memory Reaction

I remember thinking how much of a hypocrite Dawn was in this book. Because when she was a kid, she apparently hated Sunny (at least at first), and thought she was weird. And in the “present,” Dawn’s the one always so proud of how she’s an “individual.” It was one of the few times (as a kid) that I really disliked Dawn…most of her more annoying traits didn’t seem SO bad when I was younger. At least not usually.

Also, there’s a section where Dawn’s family’s in San Francisco and they walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. When I was in San Francisco a few years ago, I felt like I should walk over the bridge. I’m afraid it may have been influenced by this book.

Revisited Reaction

This is right after Dawn has moved to California (for good), and it turns out she has to write her autobiography too.

So, Dawn was born in California. Her mother was past her due date, so her parents went for a walk on the beach, and then her mom went into labor. But they still had time to get to the hospital, so it’s not that interesting a story. When Dawn was little, her parents took her to the beach a lot and it was clear even then that she was a beach-loving-California-girl. But she supposedly did normal stuff too.

When Dawn was six, there were no kids her own age in her neighborhood, until Sunny Winslow’s family moved in down the street. At first, Dawn thought her new neighbors were weird, because the Winslows were hippies (hence naming their daughter Sunshine Daydream Winslow). They also planted flowers in the shape of a peace sign, didn’t have a TV, didn’t buy Barbie dolls for Sunny because the plastic they’re made from are bad for the environment, etc. They also tie-dye their own clothes in their lawn, which sounds totally fun to me. Dawn tries to avoid Sunny, but their mothers arrange to go on a shopping trip together. Because they’re awful parents, Dawn’s mom and Mrs. Winslow leave Sunny and Dawn (at age 6) in the toy section while they go look at other stuff. A power failure hits, and the adults get stuck in an elevator. But since Sunny and her mom know Morse code, they can communicate with each other by tapping on the doors, and Sunny translates to the crew working on getting them out. So, Dawn decides that she likes Sunny and doesn’t care if people think she’s weird.

When Dawn was ten, her grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary. The Schafers decide to take them on a weekend away in San Francisco. First, Mrs. Schafer tells the kids that they have to schedule “resting” time because her parents are “elderly” and not able to walk all over the city. But, “Pop-Pop” puts a stop to that and says he wants to do all the active stuff. But he and “Granny” don’t seem all lovey-dovey, which worries Dawn. But when Pop-Pop’s late for dinner (Jeff told him the wrong time), Granny’s all worried. So then Dawn realizes they do love each other, and thinks that her parents will follow their example. Which, of course doesn’t happen.

When Dawn was twelve (and still in California) she was obsessed with fire safety. She makes her family draw up an escape plan and then runs drills, where she blows a whistle in the middle of the night to see if her parents and Jeff actually get up and leave the house. Then, when she’s sitting for her neighbors, she smells smoke, so she takes the kids next-door to her house and calls 911. They fire department comes, puts out the fire, and Dawn gets the hero treatment. I think this story’s actually mentioned in Dawn’s first appearance in the series, but she leaves off the annoying obsession part.

When Dawn was thirteen (and in Stoneybrook), she totally disappoints a little kid. She’s the first BSC member to sit for a new client. While there, the parents get a phone call, but before they leave a message, they put her on hold. So, while she’s waiting, Dawn looks through a pile of mail on the counter and finds a note from the school saying that the girl needs to repeat second grade. At a second job, Dawn mentions this letter to the little girl, who had no idea that she was being held back. The parents yell at Dawn, because they weren’t planning to tell her until the end of summer. They vow to never use the BSC again, and the girls are so busy, no one else notices they lost a client.


  • If Dawn’s birthday’s in February, how come she’s always 13? Shouldn’t she be 13 for the first half of her 8th grade career and then 14 for the second half? I understand why they couldn’t show that, but they really should have just made all their birthdays in the summer. Then they would be same age for an entire school year and the issue’s less obvious.
  • Wasn’t Jeff’s comedian thing a new habit in one of the early books? So, why are we seeing it happen in all of Dawn’s flashbacks?
  • Dawn says that in first grade, two of her closest friends were Jill and Maggie, who are in We (Heart) Kids later on. But, I seem to remember Dawn saying that she wasn’t that close with them when they’re introduced.
  • Dawn also says that of her friends, Jill’s the one who’s best at surfing. But I seem to remember Dawn saying that she and Sunny were the surfers, and Maggie and Jill weren’t into it.
  • Dawn thinks it’s weird that the Winslows have a waterbed. I would think Dawn would be into a waterbed, since she’s all about water. I remember in elementary school, this girl in my class had a waterbed, and everyone liked going to her house because of that.
  • When Dawn was in preschool, she and a friend would build an Eiffel Tower out of blocks, and then get mad when other kids wanted to knock it down to build something else. So, she and this other girl glue the blocks together. I think that’s an early sign of Dawn’s ‘all about me attitude.’ Her teacher did make them clean up all the blocks.
  • The guy in the store tells six-year-old Sunny he hopes he would have her with him if he ever got stuck on a desert island. Too bad Dawn didn’t have Sunny with her when she was stranded.
  • Sure, Dawn. You and Sunny, Jill, and Maggie aren’t an obnoxious clique. Just like the BSC isn’t one.
  • Dawn’s mother says, “my parents are having their golden anniversary next month.” And Dawn asks, “Granny and Pop-pop?” Like it is a question. I mean how many sets of parents does Mrs. Schafer have?
  • Dawn’s so obnoxious about the fire stuff, it kind of reminds me of her attitude about the environment. When she brings the sitting charges into her house during the fire, her mom thinks they are just playing. There’s a reason to not want to be the girl/boy who cried wolf.
  • Dawn gets some kind of medal for “saving” the kids in the fire. It’s some community award of the month…she gets one and a woman who had been a foster parent to twenty children (over a long period of time) gets one. Because those things are totally comparable.
  • While I like the reference to the BSC actually making a mistake, and not impressing a parent, I find it hard to believe that no one realized it had happened. With the obsession the BSC has about keeping records, they just don’t notice that they lose a client? I guess it’s more realistic than thinking a parent would call and tell Kristy about the problem, but it doesn’t jive with the rest of the series.
  • For those who care, Dawn’s grade was an A- for content and a B for presentation. I wonder how exactly those categories were made up…content seems like a weird term to use when they’re writing about themselves.
  • Who writes stuff in their autobiography that they wouldn’t tell anyone else? I mean, their teachers are reading them. Again, I get that they need to make the stories interesting to work as a book, but I would think they could come up with a better framing device.


Dementia said...

How does thinking Sunny was weird make Dawn a hypocrite? People change as they age.

Kait W. said...

In one of the early Dawn books, Dawn's grandparents are described as being in their early sixties. So it would be a little soon for them to have their 50th wedding anniversary when Dawn was 10!

Anonymous said...

Actually, it said Dawn's grandparents were in their eighties.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

The hypocrite thing was what I thought as a kid.

Kait W. said...

From Dawn and the Haunted House, chapter 9 (British version): "Mum says it's Granny's way of making sure she gives the things she loves best to the people she loves best before she dies. (As if she's going to die any time soon. She's only about sixty or sixty-three or something.)"

maria said...

dDawn is my least favorite babysitter. Even in the tv show she was the most annoying. (side note: in the tv show, she has a northern accent!!)

h said...

good post, but i don't have anything to add as i haven't read this one yet. =)

h said...

this is the same person as before - just realized how odd that sounded. i mean, i haven't read this BOOK yet. :D

Lenora said...

The age thing (Dawn's grandparents being two very different ages, depending on the book) is a pretty well-known continuity error.

Amiee said...

Dawn was my fave as a kid but I don't really remember this one. It's funny how now everyone seems to hate her, but I think my younger self liked her so called hippiness.

Megan said...

I know I'm late joining this comment thread, but I just found this blog, and it's great! As for this book, I always thought it was strange that these were their school projects, and yet the bios were something like 100 pages, typed. We're really supposed to believe that they hand-wrote all that out, and that was the expectation for an 8th-grade assignment? I write an autobiography in 7th grade that was maybe 3 handwritten pages, front and back. I did another one in 10th grade that was about 20 pages and I thought that was really long.

Anyway, I always thought it was odd that Dawn thought Sunny was weird, since she was much like Sunny at age 13. I always thought Dawn was most influenced by her parents, but I guess young Sunny had a hand in it too.

Leah said...

Why are they going to SF all the time when San Diego is "too far"? San Diego is waaaay closer than SF. I bet Ann Martin had never been to CA before she wrote these books.

Anonymous said...

Dawn could learn a thing or two from Jess Aarons from "Bridge to Terabithia.". He accepted Leslie Burke even though she didn't have a TV and everyone thought she was weird! I think TV offers good things like showing you other countries and how to do things, but it also offers trashy things like pageant moms who whore up their 5 year old daughters and people who hoard. I think the Winslows were shocked by what they saw on TV and decided to give it up!

Anonymous said...

As for "Toddlers and Tiaras" I think Julia Roberts was probably shocked when 3 year old Paisley dressed like her Vivian hooker character from "Pretty Woman"!

Anonymous said...

um, Kait, they would be more like sixty. You are right, if her grandparents were in their eighties, that would mean that they had Mr. Schafer probably in their 50s or 60s.Maybe it is her great-grandparents?