Sunday, December 27, 2009

“All in favor of disbanding the Baby-sitters club raise your hand”….. BSC # 100: Kristy’s Worst Idea

Memory Reaction

This is a book that came out after I stopped reading the BSC series, so I don’t exactly have a memory of reading it. I do have a memory about seeing the book come out, and I may have told this story before. ButI had read book # 99, and saw in the back of the book that the next one was about the club possibly breaking up. I guess I thought it was going to be the last book in the series….and that it was ending with everyone going in separate ways. It just seemed like a horrible end, so I never bought the new book. My thinking was that I’d rather pretend they just went on as a club forever. When I found out later that the books did continue, I decided I didn’t miss them, so there was no need to start again.

Revisited Reaction

The book starts out at the end of summer/beginning of school. Kristy’s just gotten back from a family vacation in Hawaii, and she insists on holding a meeting on Labor Day. The other BSC members are a bit resentful, and not because they didn’t get to go on this latest vacation with the family. They’re annoyed because they were supposed to do things with their families that day. They complain a little, which is the first step towards Kristy deciding to disband the club. That’s right, Kristy of all people, decides that her great idea had never been that great.

The first step in this path is that Jessi has a new ballet class that’s going to meet on Fridays….during BSC meeting. Jessi asks if they can change meeting days to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Which just sounds wrong to me. The rest of the club thinks this is fine, but Kristy pretty much freaks out. She thinks if they change the meeting time, the club will never be the same. But ultimately, they convince her. A few days later Mallory reveals that she was invited to join a special writing group that meets Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:00, and she asks to change Wednesday’s meeting time to Tuesday. I don’t know why they can’t just excuse Mallory and Jessi from these meetings, especially since Mal’s group would only be for six weeks. But these girls aren’t exactly known for being logical. However, Kristy does not want to change a second meeting time.

We also find out that while Kristy was away, Abby acted as club president and the girls had some festival/event thing. Since it went well without her, Kristy is feeling a little insecure and decides she wants to do her own event, “The Fall into Fall Festival Block Party.” The other girls act like teenagers for once and say they don’t want to put time into another project. This, of course, pisses Kristy off. It gets worse because now that the girls are in eighth grade (again), they all have a lot more homework then the last twelve times they were in eighth grade. Maybe the teachers think this is the way to finally get students to pass? Meanwhile, Abby and Mary Anne get to a meeting late, Claudia and Mary Anne get into a fight….basically everyone is just generally slacking off a bit, at least in Kristy’s eyes. And they seem to think it just isn’t fun anymore.

During all this, Kristy’s still trying to have her festival and get the club back on track. Then, Jackie Rodowsky has an accident and falls out a tree he was climbing, while Kristy’s sitting for him. He’s okay, but has a sprained ankle and Kristy blames herself. This is the straw that breaks the camels back. When the girls get into an argument at the next BSC meeting, Kristy suggests disbanding. The other older members slowly agree – only Jessi and Mal want to stay together. But, a majority vote to end the club, so that is what they do. Claudia leaves a message on her answer machine announcing this to parents, but says individual members will still sit. I’m apparently really pathetic, because part of me was still a little sad to read about this.

Kristy regrets the decision the next day, and is hoping other members do too. But, everyone seems perfectly happy. Claudia, however, is annoyed because parents keep calling her house upset, and saying how disappointed they are that the club broke up. I guess because, without easy access to baby-sitters, they may have to actually spend time with their kids. The horror. Especially for Watson. The parents do call some of the girls for individual jobs, but some of their regular clients start asking other teenagers in town to sit as well. However, Kristy refuses to take any individual jobs because she’s still upset about what happened to Jackie.

Then, Jackie has another accident. And the girls all rush to the hospital to see him, although it seems a bit out of character for them to do that. Anyway, when they get there, Jackie says he hurt himself while riding his bike to Kristy’s…..because he wanted to apologize for getting hurt and making split the club up. Seeing Jackie gets Kristy to start feeling a little better about the original accident, and gets her to agree to take a sitting job with the Pikes. While there, Mallory accidentally closes a door on Claire’s hand, and then feels horrible about it. But Kristy’s all, “it was an accident, you did nothing wrong.” Which makes her realize that Jackie getting hurt wasn’t all her fault either.

So, she calls all the girls to Claud’s house to talk about getting back together. It turns out that they all miss it some….the only one who needs convincing is Claudia, who’s worried about school. But, they convince her to agree. Since some of them are a little hesitant about jumping into the deep end of BSC-land, they rejoin for a one month “trial period” with the plan to keep meeting permanently if they all still happy.


  • The cover shows all seven girls in Claud’s room fighting. I like to think that was done on purpose as a callback to the cover of Kristy’s Great Idea.
  • This book takes place right after Super Special #13, which apparently has most of the BSC going to Hawaii on a school trip (which is ridiculous), with Kristy going with her family later on. I’ve never read it, so I’m not sure if the events they reference in this book actually happened in the Super Special, or if they are just adding random backstory. It’s a bit disorienting not knowing everything that happened previously.
  • Kristy says that she’s tired from the long flight back from Hawaii “yesterday.” She mentions that that Hawaii is two hours behind California in time. However, this is only true in the winter. Hawaii doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time, so in the summer, it would be three hours behind California. That should be a pretty easy fact to check, ghostwriters.
  • Kristy says that Mary Anne left multiple messages on her answering machine, almost in tears because no one was answering the phone (when the family was supposed to be back). I don’t really buy Mary Anne being that worried. She’s sensitive, yes, but she’s smart enough to know that flights sometimes get delayed.
  • Janine’s annoyed that the Kishi’s left a family barbeque early so Claudia could host the BSC meeting on Labor Day. I mean, if Janine thinks you shouldn’t be working, it’s a big deal. Also, I can’t believe that parents as strict as the Kishi’s would leave early to accommodate the club. But then….they’ve let the girls meet there without Claudia. So, I guess it makes sense.
  • Jessi isn’t at the meeting, because her family acted like real parents and didn’t let her leave a family party early to accommodate a club.
  • She was wearing, “a bracelet of dyed, braided shoelaces, along with a blousy ruffled shirt that looked like it once belonged to Captain Hook; mismatched high-top converse sneakers; and baggy, pinstriped men’s suit paints, gathered at the waist with a bungee cord.” I guess I don’t have to tell you that Claud looked “totally cool” in this outfit. Although, I think it seems a bit impractical to be wearing during a Labor Day barbeque.
  • Kristy wants to have apple picking at this fall festival she is planning. And since there are no apple trees in Stoneybrook, she wants to tie them to trees with strings. No wonder the other girls aren’t into her idea.
  • Kristy also wants to have “maple sugaring.” I can’t believe she knows what that is, let alone that she expects to do it.
  • When she sees it’s causing an argument, Mallory actually says she won’t bother joining the writing group. Way to give up part of yourself for your friends, Mal.
  • Kristy wants some neighborhood kids to help her hang apples from trees (to practice picking them). Hannie Papadakis says she won’t climb trees to do this because it is dangerous. And of course later, Jackie gets hurt climbing a tree. I am just going to pretend they meant that as foreshadowing instead of it being a happy coincidence.
  • How does Cokie Mason keep passing classes? I remember in a book where she does a group project with Mary Anne, Cokie’s final speech is cribbed directly from some book. And in this book, Cokie reads answers in class that are copied from a book. If Kristy and Mary Anne notice this, how come teachers don’t?
  • When Claudia tries to point out that they don’t really have to have meetings, parents could leave messages with the times they need, and get a call back…Kristy freaks out. She’s all, “remember when meeting times were sacred?” I am not sure that it is that healthy to have club meetings like that be sacred.
  • When Kristy’s playing with Archie Rodowsky, who’s driving around in a little play car. She plays the part of a gas station attendant and fills his “tank” for $10… would be so nice if that was an accurate price.
  • Abby says Jackie has a “Sadim touch” – Sidam being “Midas” backwards, since everything Jackie touches breaks instead of turning gold. I was thinking it was actually a semi-smart nickname, but I found out it actually a real-ish term.
  • How come Watson and Kristy’s mom bothered adopting Emily? In every scene she’s in, Nannie is the one taking care of her. She is even feeding her breakfast in a scene where Watson and Elizabeth are both present and cooking for the other kids. I can understand needing help, especially since they both work, but Nannie does everything.
  • This book is similar to other BSC books, in that Kristy talks about having elaborate breakfasts in the morning, even on school days. They were always describing these in the series. I don’t remember my family ever sitting around the table and eating fresh bacon and eggs on school days. Who has time?
  • This scene’s kind of funny. The day after the club breaks up, Mary Anne tells Kristy, “I’m so upset.” Kristy thinks she’s talking about the BSC, but really Mary Anne’s just upset because the cafeteria is serving some diluted pesto sauce at lunch.
  • The parents reaction to the BSC splitting up seems a bit much – Mrs. Arnold cried, Mr. Papadakis wanted to pay them a retainer to stay together, and Mrs. Wilder (another parent) wanted to give them a counseling session. I mean, are baby-sitters that hard to find?
  • Claudia says she is “D – E – D. Dead” because she doesn’t understand her homework. Which make me think of this and this.
  • Claud also misspells Mary Anne’s last name. How long have they known each other? Spier isn’t even that hard to spell either.
  • Two other SMS students tell Kristy that the BSC had a monopoly on baby-sitting and they’re glad the BSC is split, so they can have a chance at jobs. And Kristy’s all, “we just wanted to be good sitters, not the only ones in town.” Which, isn’t exactly consistent with her behavior over 99 other books. I’m glad someone pointed out they weren’t always fair to other potential sitters.
  • Kristy actually makes fun of (in her head) one of these other girls for not thinking to change Lucy Newton’s diaper when she was crying. She actually gets all condescending when she gives these other girls tips. But then she find out the other girl got paid more than the BSC did. Karma’s a bitch, huh?
  • Stacey and Claudia see the Newtons at the mall, and Jamie won’t say hello because he’s mad they don’t sit for him anymore. Is any four-year-old that into his sitters?
  • Cokie Mason even gets a sitting job for another BSC client….the Hsu’s. And she makes them go shopping with her. Which of course, infuriates Kristy.
  • So, Jackie gets admitted to the hospital, Dr. Johansson calls Charlotte, who tells Stacey, who tells the rest of the (former) BSC. And they all rush to the hospital. I don’t understand why. I mean, I know they like Jackie, but even when the club was intact they wouldn’t all run to the hospital like that.
  • Shea Rodowsky on adverbs: “It’s a verb from an advertisement, like ‘brush teeth’ or ‘eat Wheaties.’”
  • Shea Rodowsky on pronouns: “Like the New York Knicks. A name of a pro team.” This is what happens when you have Claudia tutor someone.
  • This book must be really late, because they girls joke about running the club by fax or even using the net. And Kristy is all…"be serious." But things like this do now exist. Although, they don't seem to include 13-year-olds.
  • However, the BSC mentioning the internet is just wrong.
  • But speaking of the series not I the last person to find out about a new BSC prequel? This is what happens when I get too busy to go online too much.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

“I couldn’t believe it. It boggled my mind. It flipped me out just to think about it”…………..BSC Mystery # 6: The Mystery at Claudia’s House

Memory Reaction

My strongest memory of this book is not about the plot, but about the cover of the book itself. Because while the first five mysteries had blue covers, this one had a purple one. And then following this book, the mysteries alternated colors…similar to how the regular books did, only with darker tones. But having those five blue covers in a row looked so weird on my bookshelf.

In terms of the story itself, I’m sure I liked it, since it was back when the mysteries were semi-realistic. Now, I wish I could say that as a kid, I solved the mystery before Claudia did. Because I remember that the secret was that Janine had a boyfriend, and thinking about it now, it seems obvious. But I am not sure it would have been obvious to my eleven-year-old self.

Revisited Reaction

Claudia notices that Janine’s acting “strange” lately. She’s been wearing makeup and different clothes, coming home late, and got caught lying to Mr. and Mrs. Kishi. She actually gets grounded for going to eat pizza when she said she was at the library (the rebel!). Claudia also suspects that Janine’s been looking through her (Claud’s) room. Then, an even weirder thing happens. Janine asks Claudia to give her a makeover. Some genius she is.

Despite all this, Janine refuses to say what’s going on or why she’s acting strange. So, Claudia decides to be a bratty little sister and spy on Janine until she finds out what the story is. And when she can’t figure out what’s going on, she decides to recruit an eight-year-old to help. The kid is Derek Masters, who’s back in Stoneybrook for a few weeks while his show is on hiatus. Since he guest starred on a kid detective show, Claudia thinks he can help solve the case of the weird Janine (which would have been a more interesting title). Since Derek doesn’t ask Claudia for fashion tips, I guess he is smarter than Janine, so it’s not so wrong for Claudia to ask him. But, in the end, he doesn’t help Claudia figure anything out.

While tailing Janine, Claudia sees her meet a strange (but hot) guy, and she can’t figure out who he is. He must be really hot, because Claudia keeps telling everyone over and over. When she sees Janine and the guy a second time, Janine is getting into his car. Claudia’s worried that he’s some kind of cultist/criminal and tells her parents. They confront Janine, and we learn that Janine’s been acting weird because she got a boyfriend and was embarrassed to admit it. He’s super-smart too and apparently hated when Janine wanted to wear makeup, so she goes back to being her boring old self. But with a hot, genius boyfriend. And the Kishis all meet the guy and like him, and he likes them. Go, Janine.

The sub-plot is kind of mixed in with the rest of it, because it surrounds Derek. When Derek isn’t helping Claudia with the “case,” he’s dealing with the fact that he will have to kiss a girl on the next season of his show. To hide the fact that he’s scared, Derek tells Nicky and the Pike triplets he has kissed lots of girls. So, they try to get him to demonstrate (on Vanessa, Becca, and Charlotte). But he can’t go through with it, and eventually fesses up. But, none of the characters really care, so I’m not sure why I should.

  • This book is awesome because not only do we get a ton of Claudia outfits, but we get Claudia making over Janine. And we get Claudia making fun of Janine’s clothes.
  • Claudia outfit: “lace leggings, purple tie-dyed T-shirt dress, and purple high-tops.” This is the type of outfit I always wanted to wear when I read these as a kid.
  • Claudia says she’s embarrassed to write in the club notebook because of her spelling mistakes. As she should be.
  • Mrs. Masters says she’ll be needing a lot of sitters while the family is in town, because she and Mr. Masters are busy “managing Derek’s career.” Although, we also find out he has a separate agent. Does this mean neither of them work and they just live off Derek?
  • Does it really make sense that the Masterses would keep their house in Stoneybook to come back to on hiatuses? I know a lot of kid actors go to regular school between movies, but it seems harder to do with a TV show. Especially since most TV shows would be on hiatus in the summer.
  • What kind of TV show has eight-year-olds kissing people?
  • Why is it that when they talk about some girl on Derek’s show having black hair and blue eyes, which is an unusual combination, I know that it matches exactly what they say in earlier books?
  • Even more embarrassing, when I was in high school I was obsessed with Dylan McDermott, and he made me think of how the BSC books said it was so unusual to have black hair and blue eyes.
  • Another Claudia outfit includes, “this pair of black-and-white-checked stretch pants,” which she pairs with a black shirt with white polka dots. “The dots next to the checks made [her] feel a little dizzy, but [she] decided that the total effect was just what [she] was looking for.” Now, that outfit, is one I’d never want to copy.
  • Just two pages after Claudia puts on this checked and polka-dot ensemble she makes fun of Janine for wearing orange nail polish and blue eye shadow together. Let me repeat that….the girl who wore an outfit knowing that looking at it made people dizzy, is putting down another person’s fashion statement.
  • The rest of Janine’s outfit includes: “a gray kilt, a pale-blue-button-down shirt, and a gray crew-neck sweater.” Now, I actually have worn outfits very similar to that. It makes me feel old and boring.
  • When Mallory and Claudia are sitting for Mal’s family, the Pikes leave a half-hour early. So, Mal was on her own with all seven kids. And yet, her parents won’t let her pick out her own clothes?
  • Claudia refers to all her black blouses and all her white blouses being dirty. All of them? How many does she have?
  • Another Janine outfit: “Navy-blue crewneck sweater, worn over a white blouse with a Peter Pan collar. Pleated knee-length gray wool skirt. Gray knee socks. Brown loafers.” Not that exciting, but not offensive to the eyes or anything.
  • In one chapter, the ghostwriter wrote “crewneck sweater” as “crew-neck sweater” and in another as “crewneck sweater.”
  • Claud’s new outfit for Janine is actually pretty decent, since Janine was insisting on nothing too dramatic. It’s a black skirt, a white shirt, and a blue-and-green sweater, with some boots instead of Janine’s typical loafers.
  • Janine totally freaks out when Claudia puts mousse in her hair. She has no idea what it is or how to get any. It’s kind of funny, but I’m not sure how realistic it is. Even if Janine wasn’t that into fashion, I would think she’d be aware of the existence of hair product and drug stores.
  • So, the BSC’s sitting around talking about what Janine’s deal is, and they’ve got some typical guesses like she’s running for student council, or impressing a teacher. Then, Mallory suggests she has a boyfriend, and everyone laughs at what a silly guess it is. Then, Claudia sees Janine with the hot guy. And instead of saying, “I told you so,” Mal is all, “maybe he’s a spy and Janine is handing information to him.”
  • Yet another Claudia outfit: “A royal-blue sweatshirt dress.” It’s not really detailed enough to make fun of, but based on her record I’m going to assume it looked awful.
  • One afternoon Claudia’s having a Devil Dog as a snack and Janine’s eating rice cakes. Now, this is supposed to be showing how different the two of them are, but way back in "Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls," Janine said she hides junk food in her room too.
  • And another one of Janine’s post “make-over” outfits: “a gray wool skirt (one of her old ones, which she’d hemmed to a much more interesting length, a pink oxford shirt…and [Claud’s] red sweater….her fingernail were still orange.” Claud thinks the pink and red and orange clashes a little, and I would have to agree. But really, if Claudia wore that, all the BSC members would swear she looked totally cool.
  • When Janine gets caught lying about eating pizza, Claudia tells us how if she had been caught in a lie she’d have told her parents she went to get pizza after the library. I’m kind of surprised a kid’s book gives tips for lying to your parents.
  • When Kristy goes on a sitting job for the Masterses, Todd (Derek’s brother) doesn’t remember her. So, Kristy explains that she used to baby sit for him. But, did he? Cause I thought Jessi had all the Masters’ jobs in his first appearance. Kristy had a regular sitting job during the vampire movie, but that was later.
  • When Claud does Janine’s makeup, Janine looks in a mirror and is surprised she’s looking at her own reflection. This is similar to the makeover Kristy got at summer camp. Now, I’ve had makeovers where other people did my make up, and I’ve never had a problem recognizing myself in the mirror.
  • So, Derek is helping Claudia find out what is going on with Janine. They have this idea to get Janine to confess the secret she’s keeping by acting out a mock courtroom, complete with a speech about why lying is bad. The excuse for this is that Derek needs help with his homework, and Claudia is too dumb to do it herself. I am pretty sure this was the plot of a Brady Bunch episode.
  • And….of course, the lying speech didn’t work. It just makes Derek admit he has never kissed a girl and is scared to. Shocking! I can’t believe any one could pass seven without being kissed. Anyway, Claud and Janine just tell him to admit the truth to the Pike boys (since they are the only ones who seemed to care). But, I think this ending happened on the Brady Bunch too.
  • I have to give Claud some leniency for not realizing the guy Janine was meeting was her boyfriend, since the first time she saw them, the pair shook hands when they greeted each other. Janine admits later that at that point, they hadn’t reached the kissing stage. But they do by the end, and Janine is all happy about it. Again, go Janine.
  • Claudia tells Janine not to correct all of Derek’s grammatical mistakes, because he is just a kid. And Janine says, “I will try to resist the impulse.” Which just totally cracked me up.
  • Janine’s pretty pissed at Claud for tattling, which is one of the few times we actually see “mean Janine” being mean. But she gets over it and the two are friendly again by the end.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

“What’d you do? See Meatballs or something and think camp would be the coolest, funnest place in the world?”…….BSC Super Special # 2: Baby-sitters’ S

Memory Reaction

I don’t remember a lot about this book, but I do remember a lot of the plot surrounding Mary Anne and Logan. Seriously, it is burned into my brain that Mary Anne gets in trouble for sneaking out to see Logan, and when she gets banned from something for three days and is all, “oh how sad.” Then her counselor tells her how she once snuck out to see a boy. Then Logan gets in trouble for starting a food fight, and he gets a similar punishment, and is all, “oh how sad.” Then his counselor tells him he started a food fight once too.

I think I only remember that because it seemed so unbelievable that they would have such similar experiences and it felt out of place. I mean, it was done to be funny (or something), but the BSC books did not usually go for plot devices like that.

Oh, and this book may or may not have been one of the reasons I begged to go to camp when I was thirteen.

Revisited Reaction

While watching the Parent Trap, the girls in the BSC decide it would be fun to go to camp. They all end up signing up for two weeks at Camp Mohawk. Stacey’s living back in NY at this point, but the rest of the girls talk her into going as well. In addition, the BSC inspires some of their siblings and clients to go, and there ends up being 23 people from Stoneybrook. Seven from the BSC (including Logan), six of Mallory’s siblings (Claire was too young), Karen, David-Michael, Becca Ramsey, Charlotte Johanssen, Haley and Matt Braddock, Buddy Barrett, Shea and Jackie Rodowsky, and Nancy Dawes (Karen’s friend).

The older BSC members are going as CITs, or “Counselors in Training.” This is an excuse to get them to baby-sit while off at camp. Basically, they help the counselors with the kids, but have some free time, and get to do things like attend a dance and movie night with the boy’s camp. Mallory and Jessi are too young to be CITs, but on their applications they write about how much they like baby-sitting, and so they get to be “Juinor CITs.” This means that they are regular campers, but get the “special project” of helping some 8-year-old girls prepare a dance number for Parents’ Day.

All the older girls end up assigned to different cabins so they have their own little adventure.
  • Kristy: Is assigned to Becca and Charlotte’s cabin and has to deal with the fact that Charlotte is crazy-homesick. She also has to deal with her co-CITs, who insist on giving her a makeover for the big dance. They do, she’s actually impressed with how she looks in make-up, but was happy to take it all off after the dance.
  • Claudia: Falls in “LUV” at first sight with some guy CIT she saw when some boys visit her cabin to officially invite the girls to the CIT dance. She moons over him until the movie night when they finally talk. He’s totally into her as well, and they get to spend two evenings together (a movie night and the dance) before going home.
  • Stacey: Gets poison ivy, a cold, impetigo, pinkeye, and a ton of insect bites. She ends up spending several days in the infirmary. That’s what happens when you take a city girl out of Manhattan.
  • Mary Anne: Her fellow CITs don’t believe she has a boyfriend, so she writes this flowery note to Logan for them to “find.” When they read it, they talk her into sneaking out at night to walk around the lake to see Logan. She gets caught, but earns the respect of the other girls. However, she is embarrassed that Logan saw the note, since it wasn’t the type thing she usually gave him. But he seems to like it anyway. She earns their respect again when another CIT asks to pierce her ears. Mary Anne tells her to go ahead and do it, but the other girl can’t go through with it.
  • Dawn: Is intrigued a camper that is quiet and bookish. Then, on an overnight camping trip in the woods, her cabin gets lost and ends up back at camp 24 hours late. And the quiet girl saves the day, of course.
  • Mal and Jessi: Get a total of three chapters between them, even though most of the other girls get three or four each. They have the same story, which is: Their cabin mates are really bitchy to them because they think Mal and Jessi are babies. A couple of them are racist on top of that. But Mal and Jessi cast Charlotte and Becca as twins in the dance/skit they are preparing and this magically gets a couple of them to apologize.
  • Logan: He gets teased by his fellow CITs when they hear about Mary Anne sneaking around the lake. He even starts a food fight over it. But his friends come around when they meet Mary Anne at the dance.
Stacey asks everyone to keep a diary of their experiences so she can have a complete record of the trip….and this is the traditional framework for how the Super Special is written.


  • So, Camp Mohawk is one camp, owned by a couple – The Means. It has a boys’ camp on one side of a lake (where Mr. Mean’s in charge) and a girls camp (where Mrs. Mean’s in charge) on the other. We find out that both camps have cabins, a mess hall, an infirmary, an arts and crafts cabin, etc. This seems really impractical to me, because it they’re paying twice for the same staff/services. Why not have one of all the general stuff and just have separate sleeping cabins?
  • The campers at Camp Mohawk range in age from 6 to 11, but you have to be thirteen to be a CIT. I guess all twelve-year-olds who want to attend are just screwed?
  • There are two adjoining cabins for each age, with six campers, two CITs, and one counselor on each side. Has anyone been to camp where the cabins were that small? The one I went to had about twenty kids in each, and some age groups had more than one cabin. But, every camp book I’ve ever read had cabins with really small numbers of people – I guess to make the story easier to follow.
  • Also, what are the chances that every single age group would have the same number of campers (for both genders).
  • The number of cabins also means that Camp Mohawk has 144 campers and 48 CITs, at any one point in time. This means that the Stoneybrook crew accounts for about 10% of the customers. I wonder how the camp survived before that? Seriously, the camp has that many new customers from one place and it doesn’t affect their total attendee-number?
  • Dawn is a CIT for one of the 11-year-old cabins, but not the one Mal and Jessi are in. And Dawn’s campers all seem like cool, friendly, girls, while Mal and Jessi get stuck with the bitchy racist ones.
  • The only two BSC members who are in the same cabin are Jessi and Mallory, so we end up with almost no interaction between all the girls. The only chapters where they talk to each other are in the first couple chapters, and then the chapters about the CIT dance.
  • Apparently, there’s one person at Camp Mohawk with an actual Mohawk….a counselor named “Mohawk Jo”. She actually showed up at camp with it dyed red and blue, so when Mrs. Means complained, Joe washed out the dye and just had a normal Mohawk. However, Mrs. Means thought she had won some battle because the color was gone. Kristy describes this as “smart.”
  • This book sucks in terms of outfits, because everyone has to wear the camp uniform – shirts, shorts, socks, and sometimes sweaters that have a teepee on them. But we still get several instances of people describing their whole outfits they way they normally describe Claud’s outfits. If I thought the ghostwriters were smarter, I’d call it satire.
  • For example, this is Logan’s outfit: “I put on my teepee shorts and polo shirt and tied my teepee sweater casually around my shoulders. Then I put on my teepee socks and my Reeboks.”
  • Stacey points out that the Mohawk Indians are part of the Iroquois Nation….who lived in longhouses, not teepees. I can’t imagine how it feels to be thirteen and see a continuity error in something.
  • Mallory puts up with a lot with her siblings. Since Margo gets carsick, Mal carries a barf bag onto the bus, and sits with sick Margo on the drive up.
  • Claudia writes a letter to Mimi that starts with, “Hi, Who are you?” I mean, poor Mimi has enough problems with language after her stroke, and Claudia goes and writes something like that?
  • The bathrooms are apparently in separate cabins. That seems a little….not smart. I know camping is roughing it, but what if a six-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night and has to pee?
  • Mallory makes armbands that label her and Jessi as “Juinor CITs.” Even Jessi knows it’s just going to make them look like more of an outcast. But she puts them on anyway, because she wants to be a good friend.
  • Not only does Stacey get sick, but she’s the CIT assigned to Karen’s cabin. Poor girl.
  • Mrs. Means gives a talk the first night of camp about how Lyme disease has only recently become a problem. And that makes me feel old, because I remember hearing about Lyme disease when I was pretty young.
  • Is it wrong that this book is how I learned what the term “oreo” meant?
  • Kristy makes a point of telling us how she feels different from her fellow CITs because, despite having to wear a uniform, she brought the wrong shoes and stands out. The shoes in question are a pair of blue Velcro “ponies” instead of laced white sneakers. And on the cover, they make a point of showing Kristy in blue shoes…but ones with laces.
  • At the dance, everyone starts cutting in on each other. This happens in several of the BSC books, and I don’t buy 13-year-olds doing that.
  • In Stacey’s cabin, the adjoining cabin does this traditional prank where they “Christmas” the other cabin – put Christmas decorations, powder snow, and stockings with token gifts. They say that no one knows which Age 6 cabin will Christmas each other when, but if one cabin hasn’t heard about it, don’t they kind of know they’ll be the “victim.”
  • So, on the last day of camp, all the parents come and watch a show. Then we hear that the Pikes are driving around to the other side of the lake to pick up the boys. So….do they not have a show on the boy’s side? Or is it later so parents can go to both of them?
  • Kristy’s co-CIT is named Tansy, who claims her name means tenacious. And Kristy is all, “I looked up my name in a baby-name book and couldn’t find it.” And I have to call bullshit on that, cause I have the same name and have always been able to find it in name books. It doesn’t have an interesting meaning, but it’s there.
  • As soon as I started reading this scene, I remembered it: Claudia finds an inch worm and puts it on her co-CIT’s bed to “see how she would react.” Then when the other girl screams, Claud is all, “Oh, I guess that’s how!”
  • I remembered this too: Claudia going to the canteen with her campers, and them being amazed at the HUGE pile of junk food she got.
  • They make a point of explaining how no one can remember/pronounce the name of the lake at the camp….and every single time the lake is mentioned, it’s spelled differently. Like, Dekadonka, then Deckasaga, then Dekanawida, then Demidonkey, etc. I’m sure I didn’t notice that as a kid, but I think it’s hilarious.

Friday, December 4, 2009

“Are you trying to tell me you were arrested?”…..BSC Mystery # 24: Mary Anne and the Silent Witness

Memory Reaction

This book is really close to when I stopped reading, so I remember feeling like the books were getting increasingly bad/unrealistic. I would say this was just me getting older, although I do think the books were more realistic early on. But I do remember not believing that thirteen-year-olds would be tracking down blackmailers.

I am also pretty sure that this book has yet another scene where a member of the BSC is interviewed by the cops with no parent present. Seriously, what is with the Stoneybrook Police Department?

Revisited Reaction

This one didn’t seem convoluted when I was reading it, but when I was starting to recap it, it did. There are actually two “mysteries” that end up converging at the end.

To start, there is a developer in town, Reginald Fowler, who wants to pave over a park and turn it into an office complex. The girls are all influenced by Dawn, and decide this is an environmental travesty. They all write letters to the newspaper expressing their disappointment about it. The letters get printed, along with an editorial from a reporter about how the “youth” is naïve, but has the right idea. So, then other people write their own letters saying the BSC doesn’t understand anything about economics (which is true) and the office complex would help the town (which is not necessarily true). This whole thing goes on in the background throughout the book. Everyone is waiting for a town hall meeting, where Fowler’s proposal will be voted on by the town council.

Meanwhile, the girls have new clients, Luke and Amalia Martinez, who are the source of the second mystery. The family’s regular sitter (a high school girl named Allie) quit right after there was a minor fire in the Martinez’s garage. So, the BSC is sitting there every day, but are alternating which girl shows up. And you’ll never believe this! The Martinez’s house is right down the street from where Fowler wants to build the office complex. What an amazing coincidence. In fact, Fowler would need to buy their house to implement his plan. However, Mr. Martinez tells Mary Anne they won’t sell their house to Fowler for any price (which would prevent Fowler from moving forward).

Luke Martinez is very suspicious of all his sitters. He insists on following them around everywhere they go. He is also very reluctant to answer questions. Then, Mary Anne, notices that someone scratched the words “don’t tell” into a window next to where Luke was sitting. On one job, Luke runs off and Mary Anne follows him into the woods. She hears glass breaking, then sees (or thinks she sees) Fowler talking to a teenage boy. The boy drops a brick as he is leaving, and Mary Anne goes to pick it up. At this point, the cops show up and end up bringing Mary Anne in for questioning about it. They tell her Fowler was in San Francisco, so she couldn’t have seen him.

So, one “mystery” is that the BSC doesn’t trust Fowler and are trying to take him down. The think he is sabotaging a sawmill at the park, and wonder if he was also involved with the fire at the Martinez’s house (to try and get them to sell). The girls do a bunch of research at the library and read old newspaper articles about Fowler. They notice that his birthplace is different in every interview he gives, but his date of birth is always the same. One of these locations is Stoneybrooke, England, so the girls decide maybe he was born in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. It turns out there were two boys born in Stoneybrook on Fowler’s birthdate – twins named Samuel and John Wolfer. Since this is an anagram of Fowler, the girls decide their Fowler is one of the twins.

The second mystery is about who started the fire at the Martinez’s house and why Luke is so suspicious. The BSC decides that not only did Fowler start the fire, but that Luke knows about this. They conclude that Fowler is threatening Luke to keep quiet. But, this isn’t totally true. Someone was threatening Luke, but it was Allie’s boyfriend, not Fowler. It turns out that Allie had her boyfriend over while she was sitting, and he was smoking cigarettes in the garage. This is what caused the fire, but Allie and the boyfriend didn’t tell anyone. It turns out that she quit because she felt guilty.

Now the boyfriend WAS being blackmailed by Fowler – or at least the person he thought was Fowler. It was actually the twin. The twin, was forcing the boyfriend to damage things in the park and in the houses nearby. The two of them were the people Mary Anne saw in the woods. From what I can tell, the worst thing they did was try to flood a person’s house. His hope was to get Fowler’s plan denied because…well, I’m still not really sure.

The gist of the explanation is that the twins’ mother died, so Fowler wants to destroy Stoneybrook since he has sad memories about it. The twin was sabotaging him because he wanted to preserve the memories. But that isn’t the most realistic motivation. And we never find out why either twin changed their name or why they haven’t spoken in years. The twin gets arrested (I guess for threatening a teenager into minor vandalism)

As for Fowler’s plan, it gets crushed. Luke finds a map in the woods that shows Fowler’s “long-term town plan,” which includes building three shopping malls and a new highway (that would go through Mary Anne’s current backyard). Because all developers make a huge map outlining their long term plans like that…and then leave it laying around where anyone can find it. I guess Fowler is friends with Stoneybrook’s counterfeiting crowd.

Luke shows the map to the town council at the meeting, and they vote against the plan. So, the park is saved, the sawmill in the park gets protected by the historical society, and Fowler is basically run out of town. I know we’re supposed to be glad the park is being preserved, but it’s kind of badly written cause Fowler didn’t even do anything bad.


  • Mary Anne refers to when Stacey quit the club, and says she hated when “we were all mad at her.” Because Mary Anne couldn’t have decided on her own to not be mad at Stacey. (Although, being mad at someone because your friends are is probably realistic for 8th grade).
  • The girls all sign their letters to the editor with their titles. Like, “Mary Anne Spier, Secretary, Baby-Sitters Club.”
  • The day the articles are printed in the paper, most of the kids and teachers had already read them and were talking about them in school. The teachers I can buy, but 8th graders reading the newspaper before going to school? I only did in Middle School if it was a day I had to bring in a current events article for homework.
  • This book made me ship Mary Ann and Cary Retlin. He lives across the street from the Martinez’s, and is really nice and helpful to her.
  • Mary Anne says that after she is brought in for questioning, the newspaper article about the incident doesn’t mention her name, but mentions she is one of the “youth” who is protesting against Fowler’s plan, so anyone would know it was a BSC member. That doesn’t really seem appropriate for the newspaper to do. And how would the newspaper even know that? Aren’t the cops the ones to not release the name to the press (as opposed to the newspapers not releasing the name to the public)?
  • I really don’t get why Fowler changed his name. Or why he lied about his birthplace in newspaper articles. He was doing this way before he came to Stoneybrook, so it is not like he was hiding his Stoneybrook connection from the town.
  • I also want to know what kind of interviews Fowler was doing, where every single one listed a birthplace and a birth date. That’s the kind of thing you’d see in teen celebrity magazines, but in articles/interviews about a business developer?
  • So, when the cop brings Mary Anne in, it’s her first day at the Martinez house. And when Mr. Martinez gets home and sees the cops, he is all, “Mary Anne could never do such a thing.” This is true, but how would he know that in one day? And considering that he had no idea what his regular sitter had been up to, I’m thinking he’s not the greatest judge of character.
  • When the cops bring her in, Mr. Martinez tells Mary Anne, he’ll call her dad. Don’t the cops need to do that?
  • Mary Anne sees Sergeant Johnson at the station and he asks to be the one to interview her. Then he tells her dad (who is at the station), that he’ll just interview Mary Anne alone. And Richard agrees! Unbelievable. That is even more inappropriate than a teacher driving a 13-year-old home.
  • Kristy’s so insensitive. When the article in the paper about Mary Anne being questioned appears, she’s all, “this is horrible publicity!”
  • Does the BSC chip in for Claud’s junk food? There’s some scene where Claudia buys a bag of doughnuts for all the girls going to the library. Combine that with all the food she has at her meetings and it really adds up.
  • Don’t the parents ever think it’s weird when three sitters volunteer to go on one job for no additional cost? Or that the girls are volunteering for projects cleaning out a garage?
  • Also, I wouldn’t want a bunch of teenagers I barely know to be cleaning my garage and deciding what should be tossed and what should be saved.
  • This is so ridiculous. The BSC sets up a plan to trap Fowler and his twin. Then they call Sergeant Johnson and have him come as “backup.” What the hell kind of police officer lets 13-year-olds go on a sting? Would that even be allowed in court?
  • Mary Anne finds out that the old sitter was lying about the fire starting because she said the garage door was open when it started – only there were soot marks on the roof of the garage, which couldn’t have happened if the door was open. Are we supposed to believe that Mary Anne found that and the trained members of the fire department didn’t?
  • I really do like Cary Retlin. He is sort of a smarter Alan Gray. He sends the BSC a note saying how a section of the park is being re-named “Baby-sitters walk,” and signs it as the head of the Stoneybrook Parks System. They totally fall for it, but Janine points out Stoneybrook doesn’t have a parks system.
  • The book ends with Kristy declaring war on Cary Retlin. And judging by the next book preview thing in the back of the book, Mystery # 25 does involve Cary. And weirdly, I can’t remember I’ve read it or not, which is kind of rare for me.
  • So Mary Anne calls information a million times asking for people with the last name wolf, wolfer, wolfman, etc. She claims that she uses a different accent everytime, but I can’t picture her doing that. At all.
  • At the town meeting, Mr. and Mrs. Martinez show up with Luke, and they let him be the one who raises his hand and presents the map to the council. Would a town council really let some eight-year-old speak at a meeting? Shouldn’t one of his parents at least stand with him when he gets up to talk?
  • Now, for the record I do care about the earth and try to be as “green” as the next person. And I agree that it would probably suck for a park to be paved over or for a small town to be turned into a block of highways, shopping malls, and office complexes. But Fowler’s made into such a villain when he really didn’t do anything wrong. He’s a businessman with a plan to make money.

Friday, November 27, 2009

“Peaches just happens to be one of my favorite people on the planet”…….BSC # 78: Claudia and Crazy Peaches

Memory Reaction

I really don’t have a very strong recollection of this book. I remember that it existed and the basic plot, but I don’t remember what I thought of it. I am pretty sure I thought it was predictable. Because, the back of the book says that something bad happens to a pregnant person (in slightly different language), and at that point I was old enough to know that meant she lost the baby. If it was an earlier book (and I was younger), I might have been more surprised, or thought it was sadder. But since I knew it was happening, I don’t think I was that affected by it.

When I decided to recap this book, I was thinking it was called, “Claudia and the Crazy Peaches”…which doesn’t really make a lot of sense if you know Peaches is a person (which I do).

Revisited Reaction

Claudia’s aunt, Peaches, announces that she is pregnant. Claud and her family are all thrilled, as one would expect. That same day, Peaches calls back to say that she quit her job and is moving to Stoneybrook (along with her husband Russ). The people they sold their house to want to be in it in a week-and-a-half, which is unfortunate, since the house Peaches and Russ bought won’t be ready for another month. But Claud’s mom insists that they stay at the Kishis’. Now, for the record, Peaches is two months along at this point.

Claudia loves Peaches, because her aunt likes to go on “adventures” and will drag Claudia with her. They go shopping for new baby supplies, plan fancy dinners, etc. Claud starts to blow off her homework, because that is what Claudia does anyway. And when an adult is telling her it is okay, she does it even more so. So when Peaches wakes Claudia up at 11:30 pm on a Friday night to go get pizza, Claudia goes. Apparently Peaches had a craving, the place didn’t deliver after 11, and she didn’t want to wake Russ or go alone. But, Peaches doesn’t leave a note. So, when Mrs. Kishi wakes up and sees Claudia’s room empty in the middle of the night, she freaks out.

When Claudia and Peaches get home, Mrs. Kishi does this whole, “I’m so disappointed in you” speech. Claud yells back that it is all Peaches fault, and stomps away. The two don’t talk for a couple days, and then have another argument when Claud whines about helping Peaches look at decorating supplies. This makes Peaches rant about Claudia being a sulky teenage. A few days later, Peaches has a miscarriage, and Claudia decides it is all her fault for making Peaches upset. But, Peaches tells her that isn’t true and they make up.

There is also this subplot with Natalie Springer, this character from the Little Sister books. Poor Natalie doesn’t have a lot of friends, and the BSC decides to get involved to get her some. And of course, they connect her with Charlotte and Becca and the three bond over jump rope songs. Supposedly, they become super close, but we never see her hanging out with Becca or Charlotte in later books.


  • The word miscarriage is not actually used once in the book. They just say she “lost the baby.” I guess it is kind of like how in the fifties, TV characters would say they were “expecting,” but never that they were “pregnant.”
  • Claudia owns a pair of shoes that she decorated with red sequins to look like Dorothy’s slippers.
  • This is a hypothetical outfit, I guess. Claud says she might “cover an entire jean vest with tiny safety pins and funky plastic charms from a gumball machine and wear that with a jean skirt and bright red cowboy boots.”
  • The ghostwriters really go out of their way to make Janine seem lame, don’t they? Claud tells us about a time Peaches and Russ took her and Janine to a park when they were kids. She says how Russ climbed trees with her, Peaches hung from the monkey bars with her and Janine…..stood around and smiled. Just cause she is a genius (and likes studying), doesn’t mean she wouldn’t play in a park as a kid. Even Doogie Houser liked to have fun.
  • Claud’s is working on a sculpture made of non-biodegradable things, and she’s calling it “Forever Yours.” I actually think that sounds like a cool idea.
  • Apparently, Peaches and Russ lived in Stoneybrook when Claudia was little. She tells us one of the reason she likes them so much is how Russ was always looking out for them. She remembers a time when there was a storm and Russ wanted to make sure her family was okay. He had a broken leg so he couldn’t walk, and the roads were closed because of trees falling down, so he couldn’t drive. He ended up riding over in a golf cart. But, if the roads were full of fallen down trees, how did he ride a golf cart? It is not exactly a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • “Peaches” is not her aunt’s real name (obviously). Her real name is Miyoshi, but her husband just started calling her Peaches and the name stuck. We don’t hear why he started calling her peaches though, and I think that is the more interesting part of the story.
  • Fun fact: Claud’s mom’s name is Rioko.
  • This is an actual quote: “I’m the BSC vice-president. Not because I have any presidential skills, but because I have my own phone and number. Pretty neat, huh?” No Claud, it’s sad. It’s like how kids used to hang out at the Delanys’ to use their pool, but didn’t really like Max and Amanda.
  • I like that we hear Claud talking about having a cousin, or wanting to have a cousin. Aside from when Kristy’s mom got married, we hardly hear anything about these girls’ extended families. The only one who really talks about it is Jessi. I know not everyone has big extended families, or at least are not close to their extended families, but what are the chances that out of seven girls (eight if you count Abby), none of them ever mention other relatives?
  • Minor continuity error: Claudia’s mom tells her that Peaches is going to call her at 4:00 to give her some news. Which, she does. And she says she is pregnant right away. But then at the BSC meeting, Claudia says that she found out Peaches was pregnant less than an hour ago. Now, we all know the BSC meetings start at 5:30. So….how’s that less than an hour? Can Claud not even tell time now?
  • When Claudia first sits for Natalie, Natalie asks her to be her friend. Claud is all, “of course.” So then Natalie starts showing up at Claud’s house and calling her all the time (this is a seven-year-old). And Mrs. Springer is totally fine with it. Which shouldn’t really be that surprising. She’s basically getting free baby-sitting and we all know how much parents in Stoneybrook like to push their kids off on baby-sitters.
  • When Claud tells the BSC about Peaches, they all have stereotypical reactions. Kristy says to make sure Peaches exercises, Jessi tells her to listen to classical music (so the baby hears it in the womb and wants to become a dancer), Shannon tells her to speak French to the baby from birth, so she’ll have an ear for languages, etc. It’s so cliché it is painful to read.
  • I’d be so embarrassed if I was Natalie…Jessi basically calls up a bunch of neighborhood kids and tells them to come over to meet Natalie and be her friend. And when they get there, James Horbart is all, “so is this the girl we are supposed to meet?” Right in front of Natalie. That’s so awkward.
  • According to Kristy, Karen worries about Natalie because she doesn’t have a lot of friends. Hey, Karen, if you see someone with no friends, and you think they are a nice person, maybe you should try being their friend. Then you won’t need to feel bad for them.
  • Isn’t two months kind of early for someone to go out and buy baby furniture? I’m sure if I was pregnant, I’d be excited and want to start looking, but still. I mean, don’t lots of people wait until three months before they even tell anyone?
  • Another note about shopping at baby stores: Isn’t one of the points of baby showers that you don’t need to run out and buy a million things yourself?
  • Natalie teaches Charlotte and Becca a jump rope song called “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,” which I totally remember doing back in elementary school. And, I now have an urge to go out and jump rope.
  • Claudia teaches Natalie to make her favorite kind of sandwich – peanut butter, mayonnaise, and banana. That sounds repulsive.
  • Stacey, however, says her favorite kind of sandwich is cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Which, I order in delis all the time, and always get questioned by the person making it. It is like no one can believe you would eat a sandwich like that.
  • When Janine hears about Peaches being pregnant, she wants to watch the Miracle of Life. I had to watch that in health in 8th grade (and 9th grade….and 12th grade) and the birth scene totally freaked me out. At least, the first time I saw it.
  • This is kind of sad…Natalie wants to play “Lovely Ladies,” which is the stupid game Karen invented. But she actually has no idea what the game is, or how to play. She just wants to do it because she heard Karen talk about it.
  • Claudia wants Mary Anne to teach her to knit so she can make something for the baby (since Mimi taught Mary Anne to knit and Peaches is Mimi’s daughter). I think that’s actually kind of sweet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“Drop-dead incredibly hunkified gorgeous”……….BSC # 65: Stacey’s Big Crush

Memory Reaction

All I can think of about this book is how horrified I felt. I have always hated to watch other people embarrass themselves. And Stacey does that so many times in this book. I know the joke is about Stacey always being in love, but usually she seems relatively level-headed. And I remember thinking how crazy Stacey was…not for having a crush on her teacher, but for thinking they had a chance. And even more importantly, for telling him all this.

Revisited Reaction

This is yet another story about Stacey falling in “luv” with someone. This time, it is Wes, the 22 year-old student teacher of her math class. Wes is apparently gorgeous, and Stacey looses her mind about five seconds after she sees him. The other girls in the BSC tell her the age difference is too much, but Stacey doesn’t seem to care.

Stacey keeps volunteering to help Wes out after class. And I guess Wes is too naïve to realize that having a 13-year-old girl around all the time could be a bad idea, and so he keeps asking her for favors and complimenting her work in class. He even gives her a ride to a BSC meeting, because Stacey had stayed late helping him. And through all this, Stacey seems to really think he might be into her as well. She keeps thinking he’s going to ask her out or something.

And then, only a week after she meets him, Stacey makes me cringe in embarrassment, because she spends hours writing a supposed love poem, and then gives it to him. He pretty much runs out of the room and ignores her for a week. And then, Stacey makes me cringe even more because she goes to explain to him that she gave him the poem because she loves him. She thinks he must have misunderstood the poem. Wes clearly has no idea how to react to this, because he basically stands there in silence until Stacey runs away.

Wes’s student teaching position ends soon after that, but he is conveniently going to chaperone the school’s spring dance. Stacey goes to the dance alone (she had turned Sam Thomas down, because she thought Wes would want to take her), and spends most of it staring at Wes. She asks him to dance, and he says yes, because he’s an idiot. However, he dances with other people as well (students and teachers). Stacey asks him to dance again, when it’s a slow song, and he suggests they wait for the next one. When Stacey says she WANTS it to be a slow dance, he explains that he is actually not that into her, and that there is too big an age difference between them. Stacey feels like an idiot, but overall she takes it pretty well.

The subplot involves Mary Anne and Dawn goat-sitting for their neighbors who have a farm. Of course, Mary Anne and Dawn bring the goat on all their sitting jobs, which creates all sorts of chaos.


  • When describing her parents’ divorce, Stacey makes a point of telling us that her dad pays alimony and child support. Do they usually give that detail? It seems a bit out of place.
  • Before she sees him, Stacey thinks Wes is going to be a nerd because his full name is “Wesley Ellenburg.” That’s a bit judgmental from someone’s whose real name is Anastasia.
  • When Mrs. Stone (the goat owner) asks Mary Anne and Dawn to goat-sit, Stacey keeps thinking that they are talking about a human-being who eats garbage and needs to be tied up to a barn. Then she feels like an idiot. I think it is supposed to be funny, but really it is so obvious that it is supposed to be a joke that it isn’t funny.
  • On Wes’s first day of teaching, Stacey walks into her math class and thinks, “Tom Cruise is in my class.” Remember when Tom Cruise was synonymous with hot, instead of crazy?
  • All the other girls think Wes is good-looking, and some of them get pissed that Stacey keeps stealing time with him. I can’t ever remembering having a teacher that was so hot I wanted to help him out of class, or when anyone else did. But this happens all the time on TV shows and in books.
  • I can understand Stacey thinking her teacher is hot. But, the whole thing where she seriously believes he is going to ask her out, is ridiculous. She keeps rationalizing her behavior too. Like, “oh, he must have been uncomfortable when I said I loved him because we were at school. If I talk to him later he would have said how he felt.” I mean, really? She honestly thinks they have a chance?
  • One thing I do like, is that to impress Wes, Stacey keeps spending extra time on her homework and trying to turn in perfect work. It’s much nicer than hearing about girls who pretend to be stupid to get a guy.
  • The BSC makes me feel old by talking about how old a 22-year-old is.
  • According to my cousin, the rule when dating a younger man/woman is to take half your age, and add 7. So, Wes, who is 22, should only date someone between the ages of 18 and 30. Stacey, who is 13, should really only date people her own age.
  • Stacey is such a little stalker. She spends all her time between class walking the halls trying to spot Wes. If this book took place today, she would probably have made his Facebook page the home screen on her computer.
  • Wes makes a point of announcing to the whole class that Stacey was the only one to score a 100 on her homework assignment. (This is on his second day, so he doesn’t realize she’s a stalker yet). Even though she is pleased he is happy, she feels embarrassed. At least that is one normal reaction. But I think most teachers would have left the student’s name out of an announcement like that.
  • Some guy in the class goes, “big whopp” when he hears about Stacey’s grade. So, then Stacey explains to us, “That’s ‘whoop’” as in “’whoopee.’” What other “whoop” would it have been?
  • Wes’s student teaching takes place over three weeks, which seems incredibly short. I remember having student teachers that observed for a little while, than taught while the regular teacher was there, and THEN got to teach by themselves.
  • Elvira (the goat) keeps eating people’s garbage, including Mary Anne and Dawn’s (where she is staying). So, Richard goes out and gets garbage cans with locks on them. Why would he buy all new garbage cans when the goat is only staying there a couple weeks? Why not just put the garbage where the goat can’t reach it?
  • Most of the parents in BSC-land are okay with this random goat coming on sitting jobs. Mrs. Newton is a little hesitant, but decides it is fine. However, Mary Anne can’t bring the goat to the Prezzioso’s because that family is “fussy.” Because only unreasonably fussy people wouldn’t want a goat at their house.
  • I’m not sure why, but Stacey decides Wes likes skirts better than pants (on her). So, on her second day in his class she wears a dress whose description I remember well: “A short rayon challis tank dress [her] mom had ordered for [her]. It was navy with white polka dots. The fitted top tapered down into a flared skirt, with white buttons down the front.” It is strange how familiar some of the outfits are. When I was younger, I didn’t think that would be the thing that stuck with me.
  • The back of the book says that Wes is Stacey’s substitute math teacher. But a substitute is different than a student teacher.
  • Wes lets Stacey help fill out his W4 form, so she gets to find out his Social Security Number, birthday, height, weight, and blood type (although I’ve never seen those last three on any W4). And Stacey just finds it all soooo fascinating.
  • Wes also lets Stacey help with his grading, by folding over people’s names in the grade book, and having her average out test scores. Again, I’m not sure how appropriate that is. Stacey was able to figure out which grades were hers, and I’m sure she could’ve figured out other peoples’.
  • When Wes is giving her a ride, he moves his hand to shift gears and accidentally brushes Stacey’s. She thinks he didn’t even need to shift, he was just trying to touch her.
  • Stacey thinks Wes is a good teacher, and he does seem to be good at interacting with the class as a whole. But he seems a little clueless/scatterbrained to me. He doesn’t know he had to return paperwork the school gave him (like the W4), he doesn’t realize he had to fill out progress reports, etc. And he doesn’t seem to know how to handle Stacey’s inappropriate crush. I guess it is because he is inexperienced, or because we are seeing him through Stacey’s eyes, but I feel like they could have made him a bit smarter about it.
  • Sam Thomas calls Stacey to ask her to the upcoming dance, and Mrs. McGill tells her there is a boy on the phone. When Stacey asks if it's a boy or a man, her mom just laughs. Shouldn’t she be wondering what “man” Stacey is expecting to get a call from?
  • Sam is actually pretty sweet, because the dance was at the middle school, but he found out about it (from Kristy) and wanted to tell Stacey he’d take her – I think he thought she was worried about asking him, and wanted to put her at ease.
  • Apparently, some other girl asks Sam, but I don’t understand where she would know him from. He goes to a different school and they don’t live in the same neighborhood.
  • Charlotte Johnasson has her own crush on a boy in her class. She writes him a poem, and in her case is successful at attracting the boy. But then she gets annoyed because he starts running after her reciting his own poems. My favorite is, “Roses are red, red’s the same as scarlet. Sugar is sweet, and so as Charlotte.”
  • The owner of Elvira tells Mary Anne and Dawn that they should keep her in a pen or tethered to the garage. Mary Anne and Dawn keep her on a long tether, so she can wonder around the yard. But then they complain about her getting into the garbage cans.
  • When Dawn brings Elvira to the Newtons, the goat gets away and eats garbage from a couple down the street (the Goldmans). Stacey tells us they were robbed last year, and I think that is a reference to “Claudia and the Phantom Phone Caller.” Which is great continuity.
  • Stacey’s dress for the dance: “A calf-length silk/cotton dress with pastel floral print, a scoop neck, and a shirred skirt that was split to above the knee on one side.”
  • Kristy also dances with a teacher, Mr. Fiske. I swear there was a Mrs. Fiske in another book, but I could be mixing that name up with someone else. But more importantly, I don’t buy any students dancing with teachers like that in 8th grade.
  • Another dance outfit: “Jessi looked sensational, in an indigo blue unitard with a matching open-mesh oversized cardigan.” I don’t think the word “sensational” should ever be used in the same sentence as “unitard.”
  • Wes wears a tux to chaperone the dance. Um…why? Based on Stacey and Jessi’s outfits, it’s not a formal dance or anything. I'd expect middle school kids to make fun of a teacher for that.
  • And, for a final note, here's Stacey’s poem. One note – she originally had the last line read "two young lovers," not "people." But she decided that was too much.

I see two stars in summer’s night.
Hovering, lost in blinding light,
Each so dull, in heavens net,
So each remains, as yet unmet.

But Fortune moves in strangest ways;
It lengthens nights, it shortens days.
May this night end, and day begin
And bring two young people back again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I wish we hadn’t fought so much while you were here….” BSC # 64: Dawn’s Family Feud

Memory Reaction

I have this really strong memory of making fun of this book. I like when that happens….it makes me seem like less of a dork than when I realize I loved something that was so ridiculous. The main point that bothered me is all the postcards Dawn supposedly writes while away for three days. I can only remember writing a few postcards as a kid, and all of them were when I was away for two weeks or more. I never bought that these girls would send so many.

I also remember thinking it was so weird that we had a Dawn book here, and then had another one three books later. They were usually pretty good about alternating.

Revisited Reaction

Jeff Schafer is coming to visit and Dawn is really excited to see him, as is her mom. Richard is a little nervous because he doesn’t really know Jeff and he doesn’t know how to bond with him. Mary Anne falls somewhere in the middle.

The first couple days, everyone is getting along and having a good time. The Schafer/Spiers are planning to go to Boston for a long weekend, and then end Jeff’s visit by having a family portrait taken. However, before they leave for their trip, things get a little tense. This is mainly because while Mary Anne and Dawn are in school, and Sharon is at work, Richard arranges to take off and spend time with Jeff. Unfortunately for Jeff, Richard’s idea of a good time is going to a museum. Jeff ends up pretending to be sick to avoid spending another day with him. This annoys Mary Anne, who defends her dad. However, Dawn thinks Mary Anne is criticizing Jeff, so she defends her brother. They end up barely speaking. By the time, they all leave for Boston the whole family is bickering over everything.

Once in Boston, Jeff turns into a spoiled brat. He complains about everything just for the sake of complaining. Dawn sides with him, because she wants him to be happy, and the family ends up splitting up for the first two days of the vacation. On the last day, Sharon and Richard remember that they are parents and can tell their kids that they have to spend the day together. But, Jeff remains a spoiled brat and Dawn and Mary Anne keep fighting.

Everyone is still tense when they get back in Stoneybrook and are posing for the photographer. What finally snaps them out of it is when they look at some Polaroids that the photographer took at the start of the shook. Everyone agrees they look horrible and laugh about it. They’re then able to shake off the fight and enjoy one last day together.

Meanwhile, the Barretts suddenly need lots of sitters. AND they’re having a crisis about mixed families too. It’s amazing how that happens, huh? The issue is that Mrs. Barrett has a new boyfriend, Franklin, who has four kids. The Barrett kids like Franklin, until they find out he’s got kids. When Mrs. Barrett and Franklin arrange an outing for all the kids to meet, everyone is tense and the trip ends up being a disaster. The BSC keeps getting hired to help watch the kids while Mrs. Barrett and Franklin try to make the kids like each other. Guess what finally makes the kids get along? A plan from the BSC, that’s what. Shannon and Claudia convince the kids they’ll have more fun playing together, which makes everyone like each other.


  • Dawn says she “hates to say it, but her mother is a slob.” I really don’t think she hates to say it at all. I mean, she says it all the time. She clearly gets a kick out of it.
  • Looking back, there’s a lot of foreshadowing about Dawn leaving for California. She says how there’s a hole in her since Jeff left, and she hates being apart from him and her dad, etc. She always does that a little, but it’s definitely more pronounced in this one.
  • There is a scene where Richard talks about using “hospital corners” to make a bed that’s really familiar to me. But, I know I didn’t understand Dawn’s explanation of it as a kid, and I don’t now either. It doesn’t seem much different than the regular way to make a bed.
  • It’s really annoying to keep writing, “Schafer/Spiers”, but that’s how Dawn keeps referring to them in the book, so I’m following suit.
  • Since when is Dawn relaxed about cleaning like her mom? Wasn’t she supposed to be the super-organized one who kept things in order for her mom? Cause in this book, Dawn says she is more casual and Richard and Mary Anne are the neat ones.
  • Did we know Mrs. Barrett’s first name is Natalie? I feel like that is a continuity error, but I can’t remember why.
  • One of the reasons Jeff is in a bad mood is that his “Connecticut friends,” the Pike Triplets” like baseball better than soccer. And when they mention having plans with another friend, Jeff thinks they don’t like him any more. So, then the boys spend a week with no contact, then the triplets come over to say goodbye. I think it’s just a plot contrivance to have Jeff in a bad mood, but keep a happy ending.
  • Claudia outfit: “Black overalls that she had splattered with pink and green and yellow globs of paint. Her purple tennis shoes matched her purple long-sleeve T-shirt…on top of her head perched a little white painter’s cap that she’d also splattered with paint. She looked awesome.”
  • Speaking of Claudia’s outfits, has anyone seen this awesome quiz?
  • Jeff says that he’ll probably have to watch a really dorky movie on the plane, like The Care Bears Meet the Smurfs. He’s just making up a title, but I think that would be a hysterical movie. In a, “it’s so bad it’s good” way. But I’m a dork, so I may not be the best person to judge.
  • This was another familiar scene – Dawn thinks some other kid getting off the plane is Jeff, because he is wearing a green-and-white striped shirt. I think it’s just supposed to show that it has been awhile since she’s seen Jeff, but it comes off as really weird. Would she really not recognize her own brother
  • The Schafers/Spiers do have a good time going to see a really bad movie called “The Mutant From Outer Space” because they spend the whole time laughing at it. When they sarcastically say there should be a sequel, an usher at the theater says there is one. But how often is there a sequel already made when the first one is still in the theaters?
  • Jeff’s really a total brat in this one, and I don’t know why Dawn keeps siding with him.
  • Ha, when they are away, Richard spends the whole time reading from a guidebook. I guess that’s where Mary Anne gets it.
  • Mary Anne asks if the Boston Tea Party was an actual party. Now, seriously? I can see Jeff asking that. But not Mary Anne. If someone did not do any American history in elementary school, or in 6th and 7th grades, they WOULD do it in 8th. And the Boston Tea Party is one of the first things they would learn. So someone who’s been through 8th grade twelve times would know about it.
  • Because Jeff is a brat and refuses to do anything Richard suggests, Richard and Mary Anne end up doing one thing, while the Schafers do something else. I am not sure why Richard and Sharon put up with it, especially considering they want to be doing these things together.
  • At the hotel, the family has two adjoining rooms book…supposedly one for the kids and one for the adults. But Mary Anne insists on staying with Sharon and Richard. Bet they loved that. They’re still newlyweds, right?
  • So, say you are Mrs. Barrett, and you and your new boyfriend want your kids to meet. Considering that your kids are a bit…active, shall we say? Would you arrange for the kids to come over and hang out for a casual day/dinner? Or would you plan an elaborate outing that involves taking seven children to the zoo, the park, a picnic lunch, and a play?
  • Since Dawn is mad at Mary Anne, she tries to dress down for the portrait. She wears, “A jean skirt, red cotton T-shirt, and blue chamois shirt knotted at the waist.” What is with these girls always mentioning fabrics? Do we really need to know the T-shirt was cotton to picture the outfit? And, how many thirteen-year-olds know fabrics?
  • For the photo, Mary Anne tries to wear an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and Jeff wears a stained T-shirt and jeans. However, Sharon makes them all change into nice outfits.
  • The Barrett kids and Franklin’s kids are all surprisingly cool with their parents dating. They only get upset when they find out there are other kids involved. And they later say that was only because their parents were tense. They even start talking about how they think their parents should relax and have fun. Now, I’m not saying everyone reacts badly to their parents divorcing/dating again. However, the Barretts were upset about their parents in earlier books, so it seems weird to not have them even slightly upset.
  • On the way to the airport, the Schafer/Spiers sing a bunch of California related songs, including the theme song to The O.C.
  • Do people really do sing-a-longs on car rides with their families?
  • When the Schafers/Spiers are sent proofs of their photo to go through (to decide what is getting blown up), they get to see all the pictures of themselves pissed off. But, the photographer took those with a Polaroid. And everyone made up before he started taking the real pictures. So…why are thre proofs of them?
  • Dawn thinks they should blow up the picture of them looking annoyed so that they remember to never fight again. And that is what they do. Except they decide to get two blown up and hang them next to each other. And they put them over the mantle in the living room. I can see keeping the angry picture to be funny, but to hang a full sized version of yourselves looking bad in the living room where anyone can see it? I don’t see it happening.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

“Doesn’t that sound spooky?”………Baby-Sitters Little Sister # 1: Karen’s Witch

Memory Reaction

I was always a little disappointed that the first Little Sister book didn’t start with Karen’s version of the first BSC book. Or maybe the book where Kristy’s mom got married. I think I even had a dream once, where they came out with a Little Sister prequel, called “Karen’s Fancy Dress.” I guess I have always loved the whole concept of retelling a story from multiple perspectives. Not that that makes dreaming about the BSC any less embarrassing.

Revisited Reaction

This was the first Little Sister book, so it is really only an introduction to Karen. Or at least, an introduction to her perspective (we already met her as a character). Because of that, it has real no plot. It just covers the span of one weekend where Karen and Andrew are visiting the “big house.”

On her first night, Karen thinks she sees her neighbor Mrs. Porter (AKA Morbidda Destiny) fly out her window on a broom. So, Karen spends most of the weekend spying on her. She becomes convinced that Morbidda Destiny is having a witches’ meeting at her house. When people start arriving (for what turns out to be a garden club meeting), she makes her friend Hannie go crash the meeting with her, to “protect the neighborhood.” The two of them make up some lame spell, ring the doorbell, and demand to go to the “meeting.”

For some reason, Morbidda Destiny actually lets them in. I think she’s just confused/surprised to see them, and doesn’t want to be mean to little kids. Karen basically walks in and says she has to give a speech, then announces that she knows they’re all witches. And she threatens to tell her parents. Cause that would scare off someone with magical powers. Imagine how many lives would have been saved if someone told their parents about Lord Voldemort having powers. Meanwhile, Hannie is just standing next to her crying.

Everyone basically laughs at Karen, (although a few are supposedly pissed off). I really wish we got more of people laughing/yelling at her. But instead, Karen’s misery is sparred because her grandmother is a guest at the garden club meeting. Grandma yells at Karen, makes her apologize, then drags her and Hannie out. She sends Hannie home, then goes to “the big house” and tells Watson and Elizabeth what Karen was up to. They only yell at her a little, then say she is only in a little trouble because “she thought she was doing something brave.” All she has to do is write an apology note. It makes a rather lame ending.


  • I know in later books Karen refers to herself as a “too-too” (or maybe it was “two-two”). But, it isn’t used in this one at all. However, there is a little spiel about how she is lucky to have two families, but it can sometimes be hard. I think it’s pretty much Ann Martin’s own PSA about divorce, and how it impacts kids.
  • On Karen and Andrew’s first night visiting their father, Kristy baby-sits for them because Watson and Elizabeth go to the movies. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but what’s the deal with Watson abandoning his kids when they are visiting him? I know Karen is hard to deal with, but she is his daughter.
  • Why do I remember Karen, David Michael, and Andrew’s tooth brushing ritual so vividly? They always brush together, and then they spit at the same time to try and get as much foam as possible in the sink. I think they set a “record” in every single book.
  • Why does everyone nurture Karen’s witch obsession? Maybe she wouldn’t go and accuse neighbors of being witches if people in her family didn’t read her books on witches every night.
  • Karen isn’t really very nice to her friends. She basically bullies Hannie into doing everything she wants.
  • Hannie recounts a bunch of times that she and Karen got in trouble for something Karen wanted to do, when Hannie thought it was a bad idea and Karen insisted they did it anyway. But, this doesn’t convince Karen not to crash the meeting. In fact, Karen is even surprised that they do get in trouble later.
  • The girls steal leaves from Morbidda Destiny’s garden to use as charms. Now, if this woman were a witch, wouldn’t her garden have evil powers?
  • After Karen’s grandmother drags her home, she says she is worried about her friends laughing at her for what Karen did. I guess she isn’t one of those proud grandmother types.
  • Considering the grandmother is Karen’s mother’s mother, the scene between her Watson and Elizabeth is pretty low in drama. Wouldn’t it make a better story if Grandma started lecture Watson about not watching Karen enough? And how he was never a good enough father/husband. I mean, I can appreciate showing a functional blended family, but it is just not as fun.
  • Sorry for the short (and late) post this week. I just moved and have been super-busy, not to mention having limited Internet access for the past few days. I should be back on schedule next week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

“Was Ghost Cat really a ghost after all?”……BSC Mystery # 3: Mallory and the Ghost Cat

Memory Reaction

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, because I am not a cat person at all. So, I HATED reading a book all about one. It is like the book about Jessi pet-sitting for that family with a zillion animals.

I can’t really remember the details of the plot, but I remember how after awhile I noticed the 8th graders in the series had all gotten a second or third mystery book, and Jessi and Mal only had one each. I guess they thought it was to unrealistic to have 11 year-olds running around solving crimes? Thirteen-year-olds doing it makes much more sense.

Revisited Reaction

Mal gets a bunch of sitting jobs for a new client, the Craines, a family with three little girls. When she is at their house, she hears meowing, and thinks they must have cat. But, the girls tell her they don’t have any pets. I know, it is off to a thrilling start. When Mal and the girls keep hearing the meowing, they decide to search the house. The Craines think it must be a “ghost cat,” because they keep hearing it but not seeing it. Then, Mal takes the girls into the attic, and they see a white cat that got in through a hole in the wall. Mrs. Crane lets the girls take care of the cat while they look for the owner. They decide to name it “Ghost Cat.”

At her next sitting job for the Craines, Mallory takes them back to the attic where they find a box of old letters. They look through them and it turns off they are from a guy who used to live in the house (the person he was writing to, gave them to the relative that lived in the house next). One day this guy found a white cat and adopted him. When the cat died, the guy “was never the same again.” Mal decides that the cat they found must actually be the ghost of this cat. She actually tells the girls this, and invites Dawn over to “test” whether the theory is true. Of course, the tests show it was a real animal. Then, the real owner is found, and he comes to pick up the cat. And he looks a lot like the pictures of the old guy who used to live in the house. So, this adds to the ghost speculation, but it is the end of the story.

There is also a subplot, where Mal’s Great-Uncle Joe is staying with the Pikes. He is living in a nursing home in town, but Mr. Pike invites him to spend a few weeks with the family. Joe doesn’t exactly take to having eight rowdy children around all the time, and the kids, as well as the rest of the BSC are upset about this and think he’s mean. Uncle Joe finally starts to warm up to the kids, right before he moves out. However, we also find out Uncle Joe has the early signs of Alzheimer’s, so there’s not really a happy ending on that storyline.


  • I can remember this scene vividly. Mallory is making English-muffin pizzas for her family’s dinner, and goes into a long explanation of how much she likes artichokes.
  • When Mal finds out Uncle Joe is staying with them, her first question is to ask if her parents will still need her to baby-sit. Cause all teenagers want to spend their free time taking care of their younger siblings.
  • Jordan Pike likes to eat peanut-butter-and-banana-and-salami sandwiches. What is it with the Pikes and their weird food combinations?
  • Not a lot of outfits in this one, the only one we get is for Claire Pike. She likes a dress that looks like Lucy’s from Peanuts. Well, she is certainly no Suri Cruise.
  • The welcome sign for Uncle Joe says, “Welkome Uncle Jow!” But, we can’t blame Claudia for it, Margo and Claire made it by themselves.
  • When the kids are hanging the sign, the triplets get a hammer and nails. Why would they need that for a paper sign? And what kind of baby-sitter lets kids make holes in the wall for no real reason?
  • The Craines are new clients because their Aunt Bud, who usually sits for them, broke her leg riding her motorcycle. When Mal meets her, she assumes she will have tattoos and wear leather…and wonders what to do if Aunt Bud offers her a beer. (Bud) turns out to be totally normal though. And Bud is a nickname for Ellen.
  • When they are looking for the cat, Mal asks the kids if they are allowed in the attic. They say “yes,” but only if an adult is with them. Of course, Mal decides she qualifies.
  • When Claudia meets Uncle Joe, she actually calls him, “Uncle Joe.” And unlike what usually happens in BSC-land, he gets pissed and yells at her to call him Mr. Pike.
  • Karen and her friend are playing that stupid “Lovely Ladies” game. I always thought this was an excuse to dress-up, but it turns out they actually run through some lame dialogue, where they call themselves “lovely ladies” a million times. And they say the same thing every time they play. Now, I thought Karen was supposed to be imaginative. When I was little, my friend and I would act out different parts/scenes when we dressed up, and would put on “shows” for our parents. What is the fun of doing the same thing over and over?
  • I remember this part too….and I think it may have happened in a Sweet Valley Twins book. (Or some other similar series). Mrs. Pike insists on cooking only plain food, all the time, for Uncle Joe (and by extension the whole family). Then at the end, Uncle Joe reveals that he actually loves spicy food, and sneaks hot sauce at every meal.
  • How is it responsibly baby-sitting to bring Dawn over, tell a 6-, 4-, and 2-year-old that their pet might be a ghost, and then perform “tests” like pouring flour on the floor to see if the cat leaves footprints?
  • Karen goes on a sitting job with Kristy, so she can play with Melody Korman. But Melody pretends to be a cat all night, so Karen gets bored and goes home early.
  • This book is WAY to heavily cat-themed.
  • Dawn has all these ghost-busting “gadgets” that she sent away for. Mallory can tell they are cardboard, so I don’t know why Dawn would think they would work. I bet even Claud wouldn’t think that.
  • This mystery is really the lamest ever. Seriously. I can’t even figure out what it actually was. I know I complained last week that an actual mystery was too ridiculous, but there is a fine line between trying to figure out what psycho is stalking you and trying to figure out where some cat noises are coming from.
  • After Ghost Cat is returned to his rightful owner, the Craine girls think the man was a ghost too. And Mallory decides she can’t come up with an argument with this. She then declares the mystery “solved” because the owner and cat were reunited and happy.
  • The Craine girls tell Mal that after the cat is returned home, they haven’t heard meowing from the attic. Um, how is that evidence that the cat was a ghost? I mean, they think it is because sometimes it sounded like the cat was in the attic when it wasn’t. But that could just be the house. Evidence of there being a ghost would be if the noises did continue after the physical cat left.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Craine decide to get a cat of their own, and the girls pick one out that looks like Ghost Cat. Cause that isn't predictable or anything.
  • At least this book gives an explanation for why the Craines need a million sitters for this book and then are never heard from again – their usual sitter is Aunt Bud, who can sit again once her broken leg is healed.
  • It is really sad to think about this guy writing letters, who is never the same again after his cat died. I mean, this is in the same book as someone having Alzheimer’s. It’s rather depressing.