Wednesday, October 29, 2008

“Our house might have been disorganized, but the Barrett house was a pigsty”…..BSC # 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three

Memory Reaction

I have a vivid memory of Dawn and Kristy hanging out in the hayloft of her barn, and Dawn saying they were not supposed to go in there because it was not a safe structure. I think I only remember that because I thought of that scene in later books when the girls used the barn for their BSC parties and events. Even as a kid I was bothered by bad continuity.

Revisited Reaction

All right, so this is Dawn’s first book; it is right after she joins the BSC. She gets hired by the Barretts to sit, and finds Mrs. Barrett ridiculously disorganized. She is also annoyed because she thinks the house is always a mess. But, instead of mentioning this to Mrs. Barrett, she just cleans the house all the time. So, of course, Mrs. Barrett thinks Dawn is the most wonderful person in the world and wants her to sit all the time. After a few weeks of this, Dawn gets annoyed that all the Barretts are too dependent on her. Well, if she doesn’t want them to be dependent on her, she shouldn’t have done everything for them. Anyway, Dawn also wishes Mrs. Barrett would give her more baby-sitting instructions and get a little organized. But of course she doesn’t tell Mrs. Barrett this either (although, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to say anything when I was twelve either).

Anyway, Mrs. Barrett is also always screwing up her custody arrangement with her ex. Mr. Barrett is annoyed with this, so one day he decides to pick up Buddy without telling anyone to teach Mrs. Barrett a lesson. This happens while Dawn is sitting, and she thinks Buddy was kidnapped and gets the whole town to help look for him. Of course, as soon as Mr. Barrett realizes that Buddy was with a baby-sitter he brings Buddy home and everything is okay. But this makes Dawn tell Mrs. Barrett that she doesn’t want to sit anymore. Mrs. Barrett convinces her she will try harder to be organized.

Subplot: Dawn thinks Kristy doesn’t like her, but realizes that she is jealous of her friendship with Mary Anne. They talk and bond a little. This is when Kristy officially makes Dawn an Alternate Officer instead of just a member with no title.


§ In this book, Mary Anne wears her first pair of jeans. But I thought jeans were not stylish in BSC land. They give Kristy a hard time about it. So…why is this good?

§ Dawn gives Mary Anne a bunch of stuff from her old house in CA to redo her room. This includes a poster of London at night that was in their kitchen and an astronomy chart. First: They had a London at night poster in their kitchen? That is not how I picture Dawn’s CA house. Second: Why would they have this extra stuff? I thought her dad still lived in their old house…wouldn’t he want to keep some stuff? Third: When Mary Anne doesn’t want the astronomy chart, Dawn keeps trying to talk her into it. It is not her style, Dawn. Let it go.

§ Suzi wets her pants while Dawn is sitting, but Dawn says she won’t tell Mrs. Barrett. Shouldn’t a baby-sitter tell parents stuff like that? I mean, I don’t know if they should agree to keep that stuff secret. Maybe Mrs. Barrett needs to know because Suzi has some kind of problem.

§ Karen’s game Let’s All Come in sounds really boring. It is really an excuse to play dress up, but why does she need a reason to do that?

§ Why does Kristy know what Fennel and Coriander are? She doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl who spends time in the kitchen.

§ Stacey outfit: “A simple pink T-shirt under a baggy jumpsuit with big pink and red flowers all over it. Her premed hair bounced over her shoulders.” Pink and red?

§ Dawn outfit: “Blue jean shorts and a white T-shirt that said GENIUS INSIDE.” Dawn sure has a high opinion of herself, doesn’t she?

§ Seventy degrees on Memorial Day weekend is not cold. It is beautiful, wonderful weather. I live in NJ, which has weather comparable to Connecticut and people love 70-degee weather. Dawn is such a baby.

§ So the Schafer’s have a barbeque on Memorial Day and Dawn decides their guests won’t like Tofu. So, she encourages her mom to buy meat and pre-made potato salad. I am shocked.

§ So, Dawn’s grandparents didn’t like Mr. Spier back in the day, and Dawn is all worried about what they will say to him today. They ask a bunch of questions and it is obvious they know nothing about his life (because Dawn’s mom never talks about him). Which is kind of weird when you think about it. But he impresses them because he is a big shot lawyer now.

§ Look foreshadowing: When Buddy is missing, Mallory helps watch Suzi and Marnie. So, the BSC talks about how great she is with kids and that maybe she will be a sitter some day.

§ The BSC does really lame activities with the kids, but they all seem so familiar to me. Like, a puddle walk: When it is raining, they take the kids outside in bathing suits and rain jackets to splash one another. That must have been in more then one book, because I remember it happening a lot.

§ This is super-familiar too: Having races to clean up a room to get excited about cleaning.

§ Wow, I can’t believe this. Dawn uses a huge stack of paper towels to get Buddy to clean. I guess this was before she learned about the environment.

§ This book is called Dawn and the Impossible Three, but the Barrett kids are actually pretty decent kids, for Stoneybrook. It should be called Dawn and the Impossible Mother (as in Mrs. Barrett, not her mom).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

“We’re going to get Tigger back. The Baby-sitters Club can do anything.”….BSC # 25: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger

Memory Reaction

I remember a scene in this book where Mary Anne and Logan are sitting outside of her house because her dad wasn’t home, but that is really all that is coming to me. I mean, I remember the end, that Logan’s sister had Tigger, but none of the real details about it.

Revisited Reaction

This book is really about Logan being an ass. I know the title suggests it is about Tigger, and the stupid cat does disappear, but really, the basic plot is about Logan being an ass. It is not even one of those times where he is a jerk and every one claims he is nice, Mary Anne actually complains about it.

But anyway, the action starts when Mary Anne leaves Tigger outside while she goes to a BSC meeting and he disappears. The BSC helps Mary Anne search, but Logan is all, “what’s the big deal?” Then later, Mary Anne says it is the worst thing that ever happened and he just tells her she’s overreacting. (And okay, he is probably right about that, but he could still be more sympathetic). Then when the neighborhood kids come around to help with the search Logan rolls his eyes and complains about being “overrun with kids.” That is actually kind of funny, but also kind of jerky behavior.

The BSC puts up fliers announcing a fabulous $30 reward. So of course, the only one who pays attention to it is a little kid who pretends he took Tigger. He sends a lame “ransom” note and tries to con Mary Anne out of some cash. The BSC tricks him into confessing, but Mary Anne is really just upset that their only lead didn’t pan out.

Anyway, after several days Mary Anne is sitting for Logan’s siblings and his little brother won’t stop sneezing – then she realizes his sister has been keeping Tigger in her closet. Mary Anne is pissed off, cause she thinks Logan knew the whole time. So, she tells him off and he gets mad. Then she apologizes and Logan says he was a jerk because he has been having trouble with the baseball team and was taking his problems out on her. He doesn’t actually apologize for being a jerk, he just makes excuses. And his bratty little sister doesn’t even get in trouble for catnapping Tigger, because…she only did it because she hasn’t made friends. So the BSC sets up a play date for her with Charolette Johanson.


  • In this book, Mary Anne says that her dad and Dawn’s mom both date other people, but I don’t remember her dad ever dating others. Dawn’s mom did, but not Mr. Spier.
  • God, I was so Mary Anne as a kid. Her dad has a rule that Logan can’t go in the house when he isn’t home. And even though she knows her dad would never know if Logan did go into the house, she just can’t bring herself to break a rule. It is kind of like when I couldn’t bring myself to put temporary streaks in my hair at summer camp.
  • Logan asks Mary Anne why she is so quiet, and she says she is thinking about how her dad treats her like a baby. Logan is all, “Again?” I’m telling you, he is a total dick.
  • Charlotte Johanssen says in this book she doesn’t have a pet, but I know she has a dog named Carrot in other books. I am not sure when he first appeared, so maybe it is not a continuity error.
  • Poor Hunter Bruno (Logan’s brother). He is not allowed to have anything in his room – no carpet, no curtains, no bedspread, very few toys – all because they want to keep it “dust free.” Have they never heard of allergy medicine? The poor kid.
  • According to Kristy there is only one thing to do when you find out someone’s pet is missing. What? Have an emergency meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club. Obviously.
  • The BSC makes a flier with pictures of Tigger, and Kristy’s mom goes to her office on a Saturday night to copy them. I know Kinkos was probably not real popular back then, but wasn’t there someplace in town with a copier? The library or something?
  • I wonder how many copies/paper Mrs. Thomas has stolen from her company with BSC fliers over the course of the series.
  • Claudia draws a picture of Tigger on the flier. But here is the dumb part: Mary Anne gives Claud a photo of Tigger to base the drawing on. But if they have a photo…why not put that on the flier?
  • Okay, this is ridiculous. Claudia is impressed that Gabbie and Myriah Perkins can sing an Elvis song. The reason? For years Claud had thought his name was “Elbow Presley.” Elbow isn’t even a real name. WHY would she think that? Claud is so, so very dumb.
  • Mary Anne decides that if Logan knew about Tigger being in his sister’s room they “couldn’t be friends anymore.” Good thing it turns out Logan was just a jerk without knowing about where Tigger was. Cause that means she can stay with him.
  • Mary Anne actually stands up to Logan temporarily, and tells him off. Then she apologizes for it later. Wimp.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

“Just being friends with the cheerleaders made me feel good”….BSC # 70: Stacey and the Cheerleaders

Memory Reaction

This is another book where the back of the book gave too much away. I remember the description talks about Stacey dating Robert…but at the beginning of the book she is asked out by someone named RJ. I kept thinking they were the same person and that RJ was going to reveal he likes to be called Robert. But it turns out there is a second guy.

Also, I remember wondering why Stacey was shocked that athletes get special treatment. Cause I thought Claudia was supposed to be the dumb one.

Revisited Reaction

In this book, SMS suddenly has a champion basketball team, along with a bunch of super-cool players and cheerleaders. One of the basketball players asks Stacey out and so the cheerleaders start talking to her. The first date doesn’t work out, but then one of the other players, Robert, asks her out. That one does go well, and she ends up dating him “seriously.” Robert tells her all about how he gets special treatment from teachers for being on the team, and that he feels guilty about it. Stacey is shocked and thinks it is wrong, but she also likes hanging out with the “cool kids.” The cheerleaders make fun of the BSC, and Stacey starts to feel all conflicted about it.

The cheerleaders convince Stacey to try out for the squad, which she does. She thinks she is going to make it, because she over heard a couple of them talking about how awesome she is. However, they give the spot to another girl because they think Stacey would steal the spotlight. Man, 13-year-olds are bitchy. When Robert finds out about this, he quits the basketball team and it brings to light the issue of athletes getting special treatment. We don’t see this happen, but apparently Stacey and Robert get to go to some big meeting about it. Also, Stacey realizes that the BSC are better friends than the cool, cheerleaders. Or at least, she realizes it for now.


  • Yea, an outfit on the first page (one of Stacey’s): “Plum-colored corduroy pants and white down jacket.”

  • You know it is bad when Claudia thinks someone is dumb. But she does roll her eyes at this RJ dude for not getting a joke.
  • Stacey really can’t say her love life is as dry as the Sahara. She has had multiple boyfriends by the age of 13, she is practically in a rain forest.
  • Kid Kits did not come to be because Kristy thought kids were having trouble adjusting to new sitters. It was to compete with that other club in The Truth About Stacey. Why is continuity so hard for these ghostwriters?
  • Claud outfit: “baggy wool men’s pants, gathered at the waist by a black leather band; a white tuxedo shirt with rolled up sleeves; Capezio type flats with mismatched white and black socks, and a glittery bow-tie barrette in her hair.” And you’ll never believe it, but “on Claud it looked cool.” Why do they always say that? If it was really a cool outfit it would be obvious from the description she looked good.
  • Yeah, it is a little rude of RJ to make people in the movie theater move over so you can get seats together where you want. But not that rude. Stacey was the one who complained about sitting too close/too far away. She can’t have it both ways.
  • Jessi helps Stacey prepare for her try-out because she is the greatest dancer who ever lived (or whatever). The cheerleaders find this hysterical, because they think it is dorky to hang with 6th grade babies.
  • The new girls Stacey is hanging out with use the phrase “9-1-1” to describe someone being cute. Like, they are so cute you are going to pass out and have to call 911. I feel like I know that expression from something else, but maybe it is just from this book.
  • Heh, the girls in the cool group make fun of Stacey for going through a “stage” where she baby-sits.
  • Claud outfit: “a sequenced vest over a man’s white shirt and bell-bottomed spandex pants.” Stacey actually calls it weird. Ha.
  • Stacey is talking to the cheerleaders after a game, and Kristy actually blows a whistle from the stands to announce that they have to leave for the sleepover. Then everyone laughs. Honestly, she couldn’t have walked down and tapped Stacey on the shoulder? No need to make a scene.
  • Wasn’t Tiffany eleven before? And a sitter herself? I swear Shannon talks about her sister being a sitter in the early books. But here, she is ten and needs a baby-sitter.
  • Stacey: “new jeans with a brand-new white cardigan with gorgeous floral embroidery and a scalloped crocheted neckline. On my feet with suede ankle boots.” That sentence is written very badly.
  • Stacey is surprised that basketball players get special treatment from teachers. Does she live under a rock? Wait until she gets to college and finds out athletes get full scholarships when they shouldn’t have even been admitted.
  • I wouldn’t find it impressive if a guy said he wasn’t interested in a girl he went out with once, but doesn’t tell her he is not interested and is really nice to her all the time.
  • The first time Jessi sees Robert, she actually says “wow, is that him?” Then gets embarrassed.
  • Wouldn’t a school have already had a system in place for making sure athletes had good grades?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

“The wedding’s in two-and-a-half weeks and we’re moving in July”…….BSC #6: Kristy’s Big Day

Memory Reaction

This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I think because it was about Kristy (who I felt obligated to like), but it was also pretty girly (since it was about her getting to be a bridesmaid and pick out flowers and dresses and stuff).

Also, I remember that when Kristy’s mom talked about paying the BSC several hundred dollars for this big baby-sitting job, I thought that the money just all went to the club treasury. Actually, I think I thought that about all their jobs.

Revisited Reaction

This book….doesn’t make a lot of sense. The premise is that Kristy’s mom and Watson have to move up the date of their wedding because the Thomas’ got an offer on their house and need to move in about three weeks. This gives them two weeks to plan a wedding. A bunch of relatives come to town to help, and they all have herds of kids that are going to be around. Kristy’s mom agrees to let the BSC run a mini-day care center to watch the kids while everyone else works on the wedding. I think this is the first time the BSC has a group baby-sitting event so it wasn’t as annoying as the stuff that happened later on.

Anyway, of course the job goes fairly smoothly, the wedding goes great, and they all live happily ever after. My problem is that it is all unnecessary conflict. First of all, Kristy’s mom got engaged in the first book, but they set a date (for the first time) in this one, almost ten months later. They were planning on having a fall wedding, but you would think they would have at least set the date ahead of time. Usually people do some preliminary stuff right away cause they are, you know, excited about getting married.

Second, as we are so often reminded, Watson is a millionaire. Why would they need so many friends/relatives to show up and help decorate/cook? If you paid enough, I am sure you could find some caterers willing to do stuff at the last minute. And, who has the time to take off from work at the last minute to spend a week planning their sister’s wedding?

Lastly, why are they in such a rush to have the wedding? I can understand that they have to move, and don’t want to live together before the wedding, but why not move your stuff out (and into Watson’s or storage or something) then spend the next couple months in a hotel/apartment/whatever. Again, we are talking about rich people. Don’t make someone be a millionaire if you are not going to let him spend money.


  • Kristy gets super excited about being a bridesmaid, which is really out of character, but kind of cute to read about.
  • Claudia outfit time: “She was wearing one of her usual outrageous outfits: a black leotard and skintight red pants under a white shirt that was so big it looked like a lab coat….[covered] with designs painted in acrylic. She had pinned her long, black, hair back at the sides with red clips.”
  • Stacey says how her old school got out after Memorial so she had a hard time waiting until June 19. That is like, three extra weeks….I guess I remember when three weeks seemed like a long time, but now it seems like nothing.
  • Stacey is surprised to hear there is a school dance called the Final Fling. Now, this is a week before the end of school, a dance should have happened already, unless it is literally the last day of school. But even then, she should have heard about it. I mean this is Stacey, not Kristy.
  • For the big sitting job, the girls get three dollars an hour…. which is apparently “slightly more than they usually charge.” Wow, that makes my salary seem awesome.
  • There is some heavy discussion Kristy, Sam, and Charlie have about what they can ask Watson for after the wedding. They don’t resolve it, but I think it is cool that some real issues about divorce/remarriage are at least mentioned.
  • Okay, so this is annoying. Kristy learns about this wedding crisis on a Friday afternoon. The next morning she calls an emergency club meeting to tell the rest of the girls. Now, why wouldn’t she have told them during Friday’s club meeting?
  • Now, I think Kristy’s grandmother seems pretty cool, for no other reason than she drives a pink car. I totally wanted a pink car when I was a kid. However, I can’t believe Nannie is going to make multiple dresses for the wedding in two weeks. And I can’t believe Watson and Elizabeth were so cheap they didn’t hire someone.
  • Another reason Watson and Elizabeth have to change the wedding date is Elizabeth’s company wants to send her on a business trip to Europe the week of the wedding (the original September date). Now…really? She couldn’t have been all, “sorry, I’m getting married, I need that week off?”
  • More proof of Karen’s brattyness. Dawn takes her, David Michael, and one of Kristy’s cousins to the park for what I guess is some recreation/camp thing. Karen tells all the kids Martians are coming and they all run and hide. So the counselor tells Dawn to make Karen leave and not come back.
  • Stacey’s favorite movie is Mary Poppins. She arranges to bring a couple kids to the theater, and one of them loses their money. This is a problem because Stacey didn’t have any extra money. Not that she should pay for the kids, but wouldn’t it be practical to have extra cash?
  • Who wears a sweater dress in June? Kristy gets one for the rehearsal dinner, and I can’t believe she would wear something so warm.
  • Morbidda Destiny crashes the wedding (nicely, she brings a gift), so Karen starts screaming during the kiss. I bet that is a lovely memory for Watson and Elizabeth to have.
  • Why is Jamie Newton at the wedding? I mean, really, if we buy that the Newtons were invited because they lived by the Thomas’s, who brings a four-year-old to a wedding unless it is immediate family?
  • The only real “crisis” on the job is that one of Kristy’s cousins switches around a bunch of fancy clothes the kids need to change into for the rehearsal dinner. So the BSC had to run around and match all these little kids they barely know with their clothes.
  • The last day of the big sitting job, the kids stage a wedding (sorta like a play)…it is kind of lame, just because some of the kids get stuck being ushers, while Karen gets to be the freaking bride. Stop giving that girl everything she wants.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

“A toast to Claudia, the first media celebrity in the family”…..BSC # 85: Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO

Memory Reaction

I actually thought it was really cool that Claudia got to not only host a show, but plan one. However, I never understood why the BSC were always listening to some little local station. If they are in Connecticut, they must get NYC stations. So, why not listen to stations actually targeted to teens? I thought that in all the books that mentioned the radio station. It just isn’t realistic.

Revisited Reaction

Claudia is bored, and she misses Stacey (this is right after Stacey quits), so she starts to look for a new hobby/interest. She can’t find anything that appeals to her, until she finds out about a contest the local radio station is having. Basically, it is an essay contest to find a kid/teen to host a radio show for kids (for a month). Somehow, Claud manages to write a coherent essay and wins. Obviously, since the title is about her being on the radio.

The second place winner is her assistant, and this happens to be Ashely Wyeth. So, of course, this causes some conflict since Claudia is not a huge fan of Ashley’s. But eventually they do manage to work together. Too bad that once it is over they go back to not talking. That happened whenever one of the girls made a new friend…they disappeared after the book was over. The show seems to go well, it is basically a variety/call-in type show, with each episode having a theme. It has all kids as guests, and Kristy is desperate to be one of them. She has audition three times before Claud and Ashley put her on, because her ideas totally suck. But she does eventually come up with something decent, with the help of the Arnold twins.

Meanwhile, Claud finds out the station is low on money and may have to close. She figures out they had the contest to get free labor, and is a little offended, but more worried about trying to save the station. I don’t see how having some kid (that you need to train) host a show for a couple hours a week (when you still need techs working) saves any money…but that is the story. Claudia encourages the station to run ads asking for donations. At the end, the mother of a boy who called into the show’s help/advice line, donates a huge amount of money because of Claud’s great advice (all she did was tell him the family should call a therapist). Don’t even ask how one person can donate enough to keep a station afloat for six-month. What would be real interesting, would be if they mentioned the station in a later book, because….what happens in six months? Won’t they be in the same boat? And actually wouldn't Claudia? Cause after hosting a show for a month she will be back to not having a "hobby."


  • Kristy is talking about a Krusher’s game and mentions that some kid “ran home.” Claud thinks she means he actually went to his house. Did the ghostwriters really use that joke? Doesn’t everyone at least know about home plate? Seriously, if I know a sports term everyone should.
  • Wow, check out this Claud outfit: “A backwards T-shirt, overalls I’d made by sewing together two halves cut from different pairs, and mismatched socks.” I think I’ll let that image speak for itself.
  • Claudia has this list of hobbies to try and she crosses them all off for stupid reasons. Like, she won’t join the swim team because the chlorine would ruin her hair, she doesn’t try tap dancing, because she couldn’t do it brilliantly after a ten-minute lesson from Jessi, etc.
  • When she writes her essay, Claud talks about how she “used to be a pretty decent writer.” Best laugh I have had all day.
  • Janine is really nice in this book. When Claudia tells her family she won, Janine makes a big deal about it while their parents just ask about keeping up with her homework. I know I have said this before, but I really like when Janine and Claud get along.
  • Kristy wants to turn the show into an ad for the BSC. Then she tries to get the Barrett kids (and their step-siblings) in a play, but none of the kids can remember the lines. Because, you know, they’re all little kids.
  • Ashley keeps making fun of Claud’s spelling. Heh.
  • Am I just clueless, or was “rank” ever slang that real people used?
  • Claudia’s outfit for her first show, “I wore the coolest tuxedo I’d recently bought in a thrift shop, including a bright red velvet cummerbund. I removed the shoulder pads from the jacket, which made it really slouchy…Then I bought a pair of white socks with silver glitter.” I am going to say it is a good thing this is radio and not TV.
  • This one guy at the radio station claims to be an intern, but he talks about how the station won’t be able to pay his salary for long. I want to know why this station is paying their interns. I studied communications, so I interned at a TV station and know several people who interned at a radio station. No one got any kind of salary. And everyone knew not to expect it.
  • So, Claud and Ashley do a call-in segment where kids can ask for advice. This one little boy calls in because he is upset about his parents divorce. Claud gives him the number (off-air) of a psychologist Mary Anne went to (I have no idea when). It seems a little wrong to give out this name without actually speaking to the doctor. Maybe she isn’t taking new patients or something. Of course, this is the kid who’s mother gives the donation later, so I guess it worked out. I guess this is a magic shrink who can solve problems in less than a month.
  • I am trying to think how much money it is to run a radio station for six months. That has got to be at least several hundred thousand, right? How rich do you have to be to give that kind of money to some radio station?