Tuesday, December 13, 2011

“Heaven help the little kids of Stoneybrook”……BSC # 98: Dawn and Too Many Sitters

Memory Reaction

When I found a copy of this book, I realized this was the one where the girls spend a lot of time raising money for their trip to Hawaii….I was trying to remember where it happened when I read the actual Super Special. I have to say, I’m surprised I never read the Super Special itself…the last one I read as a kid was book #99, where Stacey and Robert break up. Aloha, Baby-sitters happened before that, so it’s weird that I missed it. But, whatever.

At the time, I thought it was a big deal that they had Jeff and the triplets be “baby-sitters in training” because it seemed like a forward step. Even though the boys quit in the end, I remember that the Pikes decided to stop requiring two sitters. I feel like every ten books we got some type of movement that impacted all future books, and this was one of them. They were always my favorites.

Revisited Reaction

Dawn’s visiting for the summer, and as soon as she gets there, two things happen. The first is that the BSC finds out about a school-sponsored trip to Hawaii and the second’s that Jeff and the Pike triplets decide they’d like to start baby-sitting.

With regards to Hawaii: After some begging, the parents agree to let all the BSC members go, except for Kristy (who’s going in August with her family), Mallory (who’s running some day camp with Mrs. Stone that week), and Shannon (who will be at summer camp). Dawn even gets to go when she’s no longer a student at SMS…this is because not enough SMS kids signed up. The wrinkle’s that the girls need to pay for half the trip, which means they each need to raise $250 dollars by the middle of July. If you’re counting, that means, yes, a supposed 10-day trip to Hawaii’s costing them $500. They had a bigger budget when they went to California and stayed at Dawn’s house. Anyway, they baby-sit like crazy, wash cars, mow lawns, and finally arrange a bunch of games/food stands at the local Fourth of July fireworks display and make the money they need.

Meanwhile: Jeff and the triplets have been asking about baby-sitting, but admit they aren’t ready to start their own club. The BSC decides to make them BITs (baby-sitters-in-training). One boy tags along on each sitting job to get in practice (for 25% of the pay, despite the girls needing to make money). This is not as successful as they hoped….Jeff gets grossed out at changing a diaper, Byron bails on a job for little league (but does come back), Adam gets into a fight with Haley Braddock, Jordon turns Jamie Newton’s art work into paper airplanes, etc. They also eat all of Claudia’s junk food up, then stop showing up for meetings. The girls finally decide that they need to “fire” them, but the boys quit first….saying they aren’t ready. But, later Mal reports that her brothers were helpful when she was sitting for the rest of her family, and it sounds like the 2-sitter rule will no longer be needed at the Pikes.


  • Dawn tells us how she’s gotten used to going away parties, which I think is her way of saying she likes the attention. But really, why do people feel the need to give her going away parties every time she goes between CT and CA?
  • They also give her welcome back parties….all the BSC members give Dawn gifts when she returns (lotions, a jumpsuit, snacks, etc). The two worst gifts are Logan’s (he gave a pack of gum that he happened to have in his pocket) and Jessi’s (who gave a biography of some famous ballet dancer that she wants Dawn to lend her after reading).
  • The trip to Hawaii's supposed to be the start of many trips where SMS students get to travel for reduced prices. It would have been better if they introduced this deal earlier in the series to explain all the other BSC vacations.
  • I would think a high school would be the one to arrange a travel program, not middle school.
  • I have to say this again….$500? For a ten-day trip to Hawaii that includes airfare, hotels, and three meals a day? Even for 1996 that seems low.
  • When the girls are trying to earn money, Kristy has to point out that they’ll actually need to make more than $250, since they’ll probably want to buy souvenirs and stuff. It’s a bit of a duh moment.
  • It’s a bit contrived that the one other BSC member who had agreed to help out Mallory with the day camp was Kristy, who was already going to Hawaii herself.
  • Stacey “jokingly” asks whether Kristy can bring her on her family vacation, but I actually think it should be taken as a serious question. When was the last time Kristy took a family vacation where she didn’t get to bring friends?
  • The girls also complain about how the boys eat/drink a lot of the client’s food. But they are ten-year-old boys, so that shouldn’t really be a surprise.
  • Jeff comments that “nine’s little, ten’s not.” I think this is supposed to sound silly, like only a little kid would say it….but the BSC does the same thing, when they talk about Mallory and Jessi vs. Jeff and “JAB” (Jeff’s nickname for the triplets).
  • Haley’s mad that Adam might sit for her since he’s only a year older than her, and that’s “like the same age.” Again, I’m sure if this is intentionally ironic, or what.
  • The BSC parents all call each other, and then Sharon calls other parents, th school vice principal, the tour group, etc. to find out more about the trip. It makes me laugh because I feel like these kids have been allowed to go on so many other trips…..I’m surprised Sharon would need to put so much thought into another.
  • One way Dawn and Mary Anne try to make money is by selling healthy food that Dawn made. I’d think even a thirteen-year-old would know that’s a limited market. Dawn used to recognize that.
  • Speaking of selling food, did they buy the ingredients themselves? Because if they were just selling food their parents bought, they are probably costing them as much money as they are making.
  • On one of his sitting jobs, Byron drinks up a bunch of baby formula. That seems disturbing….who would think to try some?
  • So, the parents all give the girls $250 for the deposit when they first sign up. And supposedly, if the girls don’t each make the additional $250 by the date the final amount’s due, they can’t go on the trip and the deposit’s lost. Would their parents would really just let them lose the deposit? It seems wasteful. I get trying to teach the kids responsibility, but just make them pay back the cash at a later date.
  • When sitting for her siblings, Mallory walks into the living room and sees Claire playing with carrots, peppers, and lettuce like they’re dolls, and Mal’s reaction is not to tell her to stop playing with food, but that she should be doing it in the kitchen.
  • One of the reason’s the girls are nervous about letting the boys join the club, is that they think they’re too young to be responsible with money. I guess when people turn 11, they somehow have financial responsibility zapped into their heads or something.
  • They make the bulk of their money running “games” for kids at the Fourth of July fireworks in town. But wouldn’t they need a permit for something like that? It’s a bit different than having a show in Mary Anne’s backyard.


Anonymous said...

I always thought $500 seemed way too cheap too...I can't imagine that would even buy the plane ticket from Connecticut to Hawaii in 1996.

And as for the 10 year old baby-sitters, that does seem very young. But then again, I wouldn't let an 11 year old babysit my newborn, either.

Kathy said...

I haven't read the book, so maybe they said this, but I do think at that age girls are usually more mature than boys.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

That's actually a good point, and I agree with that....but it isn't mentioned in the book at all. If it was, I wouldn't have minded as much.

SJSiff said...

I remember reading the preview blurb for this book in #97, and it was the scene that had one of the boys passing gas during a BSC meeting. My whatever-aged sensibilities were horrified and I never read the book until I decided to go through the series again as an adult. :)

toscler said...

I remember when I first read the book, $500 seemed like a lot of money and I never gave it a second thought. Thinking about it now, it's beyond unrealistic. If someone offered me that trip, I'd think it was some scam and I'd be sold off somewhere.

Isn't one of Shannon's sisters 11? Yet I remember a book where she was a client. I guess the magical 11 only works if you're Jessi or Mallory.

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Anonymous said...

Yes I hate the fact Shannon's sister is 11 acts like a little kid and needs a baby-sitter. I want to know if there is ever an off-hand remark of Mallory or Jessi sitting for her.

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