Tuesday, November 11, 2008

“Who did Aunt Cecilia think she was? Oh, yeah. My baby-sitter”…..BSC # 36: Jessi’s Baby-sitter

Memory Reaction

I have a really vivid memory of Aunt Cecilia telling Jessi she couldn’t go to a BSC meeting. I am not exactly sure what I thought of it at the time. I am guessing I sided with Jessi and felt so bad for her having to live with a mean relative. But other than that scene, I don’t really remember having much of a reaction to it. Some books I remember scenes, and other books I remember liking/disliking something.

Revisited Reaction

Mrs. Ramsey decides to go back to work, so Jessi’s Aunt Cecilia moves in to help take care of the house and the kids. This is also because Aunt Cecilia wants a change after her husband died, although I still think she is getting a raw deal. The problem is, Jessi and Becca HATE their Aunt. This is mainly because Aunt Cecilia is strict and thinks that the Ramsey’s are crazy for doing things like…going away for a weekend and leaving their eleven-year-old in charge (which happens in a Super Special). Silly Cecilia and her conservative views, doesn’t she know Jessi is in the Baby-sitters Club?

Anyway, as soon as Cecilia moves in she starts taking over the house and calls herself the baby-sitter. So, Jessi feels all unimportant and embarrassed. Later, Cecilia starts doing things like telling Jessi and Becca what they can and can’t have for a snack and that they can’t go to friends’ houses. She even stops Jessi from going to a BSC meeting because she was ten minutes late getting home from a sitting job. Instead of talking to her parents about this, or asking them to let Cecilia know what the house rules are, Jessi just sulks. She and Becca also play all these pranks on their Aunt, like putting shaving cream in her shoes and fake spiders in her bed. I guess they are trying to prove how mature they are.

Meanwhile, the Stoneybrook Elementary School is having a science fair, and some of the girls are helping kids get ready. Jessi is “helping” Jackie Rodowsky make a volcano. Jessi assumes that she and the other BSCers will be competitive over whose kid “wins,” but it turns out no one else really cares except her. Also, the other girls only give a little guidance to their kids. Jessi pretty much does Jackie’s project and keeps forcing him to stay in the fair when he doesn’t really want to. Of course, Jackie doesn’t win (because he couldn’t answer any questions) and Jessi realizes she was taking over and apologizes. This also convinces her to talk to her parents, who talk to Aunt Cecilia and work out how to all get along. Aunt Cecilia actually says she came on strong to prove how capable she is. Cause she is going up against Jessi the greatest baby-sitter in the world. Seriously. Oh, and Jessi and Becca don’t get punished at all for their tricks… Aunt Cecilia just puts fake spiders in their bed once and they all call it even.


  • Jessi’s dad picks her up at dance call at the beginning of the book, and she is surprised because her mom usually does. But I could have sworn in other books she says her dad usually picks her up on his way home from work.
  • When Jessi first hears about her mom going back to work, she thinks it just means she’ll get to baby-sit more. Sure.
  • Jackie wants to build a volcano because he saw it on the Brady Bunch. I know repeats of it are always on, but wouldn’t a more modern reference be better?
  • Jackie tells Jessi he doesn’t wanted to do any research; he just wants to see a lot of lava. But does she listen? Nope. She also criticizes his spelling and any of his suggestions for his project. Nice.
  • Mal’s brothers are playing a game called “Wandering Frog People,” that they made up. So, I guess the only reason that sounds familiar to me is these books?
  • We waste a bunch of time on a chapter where the Pikes set up a library in their house. It is boring and means nothing to the plot.
  • Cecilia brings a whole U-Haul’s worth of furniture. She moves into the guest room, which makes me wonder if they took any furniture OUT of said guest room.
  • So early in the book, Mrs. Ramsey said she is starting her job on Monday. Then, a week or two pass, and Cecilia moves in (on a Saturday). But then Mrs. Ramsey says again, that she is starting on Monday. Why is continuity within the same book a problem? Did they let the intern edit this one?
  • Cecilia tells Jessi and Becca to go to bed at 8:30. Jessi complains to her mom, who is just like, “no, you don’t have to go to bed now.” But Jessi doesn’t ask her mom to tell Aunt Cecilia that.
  • Are cookies really a better snack then half a sandwich? That’s what Cecilia wants to give Jessi, but I think the sandwich sounds healthier.
  • Cecila tries to tell Jessi she can’t go to the Rodowsky’s or the Kishi’s because she (Cecilia) doesn’t know them. Well, how the hell would she? This is why the Ramsey’s should have had a real conversation.
  • I feel bad for Cecilia. She is basically becoming a maid/nanny and isn’t even getting paid.
  • Charlotte Johanssen has a kinda cool science project, and wins third place. She plays different kinds of music to plants to see which one grow best. It is the one that listened to Duran Duran, if you are curious.
  • Does a science fair for all elementary kids really only give one set of prizes? It doesn’t seem fair for second graders to compete with fifth graders.
  • What exactly is a gum chain? Mallory and Jessi like to build them, but I can’t figure out what that would be.
  • The other girls try to tell Jessi she is doing Jackie’s whole project and she pretty much ignores them. Was there another book where Jessi acted like a bitch? Cause it seems familiar.
  • Jessi is the one who has to light a match for Jackie. Cause little kids are too young to play with fire, but a mature eleven-year old can do it no problem.
  • When she can’t come to the meeting, the BSC calls Jessi about a dozen times so that her aunt will think she really needed to be there. Mature.
  • Stacey outfit: “Tight black pants that reached just above her ankles, and sported a column of four silvery buttons at the bottoms…Over the pants she was wearing a long blue jacket made of soft material. Under that she was wearing a sleeveless blouse.”
  • Claudia outfit: “A fake leopard-skin vest, a fairly tame blouse and blue leggings. She had also made her jewelry herself – five paper-mache bracelets that were painted in soft desert colors.”
  • A lot of the BSCers have family move in to help “take care of the house.” Kristy’s grandma moved in, Claudia’s grandmother lived with her, and now Aunt Cecilia. It makes me admire Kristy’s mom, because David Michael was a baby when Mr. Thomas left, she had three other kids, and she still worked full time and took care of them by themselves.


andrea said...

Gum chain, more commonly known as a gum wrapper chain:


My best friend used to make necklaces of them, they were really cool.

colleenn said...

I never knew what a gum chain was either. Thanks!

I just reread Jessi and the Awful Secret this weekend, and her dad definitely picks her up from dance classes on his way home from work in that one.

When was this book published? I used to watch the Brady Bunch all the time in the 80s or maybe early 90s, and I somehow didn't even realize it was an old show for awhile. There's tons of dated references in this series (did they mention the "Vitameatavegemin" skit on I Love Lucy enough?), but I actually knew the Brady Bunch reference as a kid.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

It was published in 1990. I guess it isn't that out-of-date, I did watch the Brady Bunch reruns after school at some point.

[b]boots[/b]thanks for that link. They actually look kind of fun.

BananaBomb said...

Was there another book where Jessi acted like a bitch?

All of them.

Fear Street said...

I never liked the Jessi books, but this one is the absolute worst. I hate how these chicks think they know better than adults!

Anonymous said...

I totally did the plant project that Charlotte did...but I was 14, not 8. :)

Sada said...

Oh man, I have never forgotten those Duran Duran-loving plants.

zanne said...

I used to make gum wrapper chains. Mine were never very long though, because I got bored with it.

Even though I've always loved dance, I never really liked Jessi.

I still love the Brady Bunch!

Anonymous said...

I thought Andrew and David Michael invented the wandering frog people game in an earlier book...I wonder if it's something else AMM took from her own childhood instead of, you know, thinking of original ideas.

Anonymous said...

I voted Mimi because she died, lol.

Reepicheep-chan said...

I remember Jessi being an intolerable bitch in the super special about the play.

nikki said...

I totally loved Jessi in her first book, Jessi's Secret Language...but that's probably because I love sign language. All the other Jessi books pretty much blew. Except for the cancer kid one...I kind of remember liking that one!

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Reepicheep-chan, yeah, I think the play super special was what I was thinking of.

Amanda said...

Wasn't there another book that the girls took over a project of one of the kids? I recall Jessi saying to one of the other girls "You remember what happened with Jackie" and also bringing up the pageant again...can't remember which book though

Unknown said...

This is probably the reason why I don't like Jessi at all, other than being a racist prick.

The super special your thinking of is "Starring the Bsc" and yes jessi was a total bitch in it. Karen was also horrible in it, yet she's horrible period. And lets not forget Dawn trying to change the play.

I feel sorry for Aunt Cecilia too even though she was kinda horrible in this book.

edkchestnut said...

I have this book and remember feeling so sorry for Jessi and hating Aunt Cecilia. Also, when I was a kid, I did not realize how bitchy Jessi was. Now I know and I hate her and feel sorry for Aunt Cecilia.

RilianSharp said...

"When she can’t come to the meeting, the BSC calls Jessi about a dozen times so that her aunt will think she really needed to be there. Mature."

There's nothing wrong with it. They are trying to deal with an unreasonable jerk. Calling a lot is like the mildest thing they could have done.