Tuesday, January 20, 2009

“What we talked about could have filled pages”…..BSC Super Special # 11: The Baby-sitters Remember

Memory Reaction

I always considered this a “special” Super Special – because the original copy I got had a gold cover that was different from all the other ones. I think it also came with a BSC necklace…. that I am pretty sure I still have. Not out or anything, and I certainly don’t wear it, but it is saved in a box of mementoes somewhere.

Revisited Reaction

This book is a little different then most Super Specials because, instead of the girls taking turns as narrator, all the Kristy chapters are lumped together, then all the Claud, etc. Each section is like a mini book with the flashback of one girl. So, they are not really connected, except each one is a flashback. Because of that, I am writing it up a little differently then usual.

The basic set-up is that everyone at Stoneybrook Middle School has to write an essay over the summer about their vacations. The BSC talks about how it is a dumb assignment, and start throwing out more interesting questions. They settle on thinking of their “most vivid memory”, and the rest of the book is each girl’s (and Logan’s) flashback.


Kristy’s most vivid memory is about her first baby-sitting job. Because this is Kristy, so of course it would be about baby-sitting. It happened when she was ten and her mom’s sitter for David Michael cancelled at the last minute. Charlie and Sam couldn’t watch him, so Kristy begged her mom to let her do it. She did, and then Kristy was super-nervous about doing a good job. But, of course it all went well, Kristy baby-sat more and more, and a monster was born.

  • Kristy is old enough to not have a sitter at age ten (even before she watches David Michael), but when she turns 13, all the kids in Stoneybrook magically still need sitters at ten?
  • Kristy says if she were a teacher she would assign essays and tell the kids they can write any length they want. I don’t think that is really a good idea. Aside from the fact that she will have to read them – any job where you have to write in the real world, involves writing to a specific length. It is an important skill.


Stacey’s story is about when she first got diagnosed with diabetes. It basically is a detailed version of the summary she gives in The Truth About Stacey – she starts being really thirsty, she wets the bed at a sleepover, she goes to a doctor and finds out she is a diabetic. It is very dramatic; her friends turn against her blah, blah, blah. So, she is happy to move to Stoneybrook a year later.

  • Laine is totally Regina George. Or Blair Waldorf. She calls her and her friends “the group,” makes rules for the group, and even gives a hard time to whoever is late.


Claudia’s memory is from when she was in first grade and already hated school. But she did like to draw pictures with crayons. So, when she gets a first-grade homework assignment of drawing a self-portrait, she decides to draw a colorful butterfly. Her art teacher basically calls her an idiot for this, which leads to Claudia crying to Mimi. Mimi then awesomely goes back to school to talk to the teacher, and tells her Claud was being metaphorical and understood the assignment better than anyone, and that she had no right to stomp on Claud’s creativity. So, the teacher apologizes.

Claud claims Mimi really understood what she did, but you never know with Claud. But, it is still pretty bad to tell a little kid they are dumb for a picture they drew, so I still think Mimi is awesome. So anyway, Claud says this is when she decided to be an artist.

  • Janine has always been able to top Claudia with insults. Six-year-old Claud tells her she probably can’t even draw a house, and Janine is all, “Why would I want to do that?”
  • I can’t tell if Claudia’s drew a butterfly because she just wanted to use all her crayons or because she was actually thinking that abstractly as a kid. Regardless, her teacher shouldn’t have insulted it.


Jessi’s memory is about when Squirt was born. Jessi didn’t want a new sibling, which is probably standard for nine-year-olds (her age at the time). She doesn’t want to say it out loud cause it might jinx the baby (her mom had a couple miscarriages before this pregnancy). So, she just pouts a lot. Then her mom has the baby, and he cries a lot. Jessi is the only one who can get him to stop, and she falls in love with her brother (not in a gross way).

  • Jessi’s description of her hometown makes it seem like she lives in Mayberry or a fifties sitcom or something. Seriously, she talks about how everyone sat on their porches and talked to the neighbors every night, and how all the adults watched each other’s kids, etc.
  • Nine-year-old Jessi freaks at the idea of packing a bag for her mom to go to the hospital. Her biggest concern? How much of that “big underwear” she should pack. It makes me rethink my image of Mrs. Ramsey


Logan’s memory is basically the events of Logan Likes Mary-Anne, but from Logan’s point of view. Which makes it even less interesting than most Logan chapters. The only things of note are, Logan was totally stalking Mary Anne. Seriously. He spies on the BSC and finds out they need more sitters and so he makes a point of sitting next to them at lunch and joining the club. The rest of the chapters are really a replay of book 10.

  • When Logan’s family moves, his parents insist on driving to show the kids the country. But all they do is drive in circles to go through different states: Kentucky Ohio to West Virginia to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey to Connecticut. They don’t stop or anything. They just drive through for the sake of setting foot in different states. What is the point of doing a route like that if you don’t even stop anywhere?
  • In the car, Logan keeps ripping pictures out of his little brother’s coloring book to color.
  • Logan worries that the boys in Connecticut won’t like football. Where does he think he is moving that guys won’t be into sports?
  • Logan can’t remember Stacey’s name when they meet. She must have been too sophisticated for him.


Mallory’s memory is from when she was ten and wrote a fan letter to her favorite author. In the form letter response, there is a message that the author will be signing books near Stoneybrook, so Mal’s mom agrees to take her. Mal is all nervous and has a speech prepared for the big meeting. When she meets the woman, she is actually brought to tears out of emotion. She claims that’s when she knew she wanted to be an author, but I swear she wanted to be one before then. Also, I am noticing a pattern here…most of these are about a girl realizing what she wants to do with her life.

  • Mary Anne tells Mal all about the time she wrote a fan letter to Louisa May Alcott. I thought Mary Anne was supposed to be kind of smart.
  • Mal recognizes that she gets a form letter back, but thinks the “handwritten” note telling her about the book signing came from the author herself. Mal, honey, that is what assistants are for.
  • Oh, Mallory. She had sent the author her school picture and she tries to wear the same outfit so she’ll be “recognizable.” Even though it is like a dark sweater and this happens in the spring.


Shannon’s memory is from the beginning of 8th grade…which throws in that time warp thing, since now it is summer and she is still in 8th grade. But anyway, it is all about how some new girl at her school only wanted to have one BFF, so she would attach herself to all the girls in Shannon’s social circle (one-at-a-time). As soon as they do something “wrong” she cuts off all contact.

Shannon is all impressed when she is the chosen one, and almost blows off studying for a test to get in the astronomy club. But she comes to her sense and the new kid moves on. But it made Shannon wary of new kids and that is why she was mean to Kristy at first. Of course, that doesn’t really make sense, since Kristy moved at the beginning of 8th grade too. So, the timeline is a little fuzzy too. Unless they are saying that this all happened when Kristy already lived at Watson’s but Shannon didn’t meet her until later.

  • In eighth grade, Shannon takes psychology, philosophy, and joins an astronomy club. I know it is private school, and she is supposed to be smart, but that is still pretty unbelievable. She is only in 8th grade.


Apparently, telling other perspective of Mary Anne books is really popular, cause Dawn’s story is about her parents getting divorced and moving to CT, where she meets….Mary Anne. Which is kind of a re-telling of Mary Anne Saves the Day.

The part that is original, is about Dawn’s parents having violent fights and then Dawn being a brat about them splitting up. Seriously, she tells her mom that she wouldn’t have wanted to be married to her, and then tells her that she keeps driving people out of her life.

  • I kind of want to know more about Dawn’s parents divorce. They tell the kids that they disagree on lifestyles, but Dawn hears one of their fights and it is about how Mrs. Schafer thinks Mr. Shafer is a liar. It is way too bitter for simple lifestyle differences. I think we should have gotten a “Dawn and the illegitimate half-sibling” books.
  • Dawn is a brat. And she acts all shocked at the divorce even though all she had thought about for weeks was them fighting.
  • Dawn’s mother comes this close to slapping her, but walks away. Then Dawn’s grandmother comforts her even though she totally doesn’t deserve it.

Mary Anne

Mary Anne’s memory is from when she was eight and her father was still hiring tons of annoying baby sitters for her. When he has to go out of town for a weekend, Mary Anne guilts him into letting Claud and Kristy sleep over. The sitter doesn’t let Mary Anne have cookies after school, so Kristy decides to get revenge by playing all these practical jokes. But the sitter just plays it cool and ignores/smiles at the jokes. So, everyone ends up having fun, and Mary Anne talks about how she learned to not always be serious. Then she claims if any of her charges ever played jokes on her, she would laugh it off. Even though, they totally didn’t do that in BSC 19.

  • Mary Anne talks about all the sitters she had as a kid....one used to bring her to bridge games with her friends. And that’s the one Mary Anne liked (although her dad didn’t).
  • One of the jokes the girls learn is about putting saran wrap over a toilet seat? That’s just disgusting.
  • Mary Anne and Kristy think her sitter is the most awful person in the world because she tells Mary Anne to only have an apple as an after school snack (because they are having junk food later). I guess when you’re eight that was a big deal. But just a few years later the BSC is mature enough to say the same thing to kids they sit for.


SJSiff said...

This is my favorite SS (Snowbound, for reasons unknown to me, is a close second). I liked getting to know the characters a little more, especially poor one-book Shannon.
Although, this is the book that causes trouble in #45: Kristy and the Baby Parade, when Jessi wonders what colic is. Guess the memory wasn't all that vivid, huh?

Anonymous said...

I loved this one! Though, in the early books, Mary Anne and Kristy aren't all that close to Claudia ... but I guess in retrospect, things get re-worked so that the three were always close friends.

Continuity be damned, I still love this one with the gold foil cover :)

Kait W. said...

Why is Shannon in this one if it's an SMS assignment?

Anonymous said...

I always thought Mary Anne's Louisa May Alcott thing was really stupid. I'd understand it if she were, say, five, but if you're old enough to be able to read a book as long as Little Women is, then you should be able to understand that someone who saw the Civil War is, you know, dead by now.

Anastasia Krupnik did a similar thing in an AK book I was reading the other day when she didn't realize that Wuthering Heights with Lawrence Olivier was an old movie. I think even a child who couldn't read Little Women yet would understand that immediately.

Anonymous said...

Kait, Shannon's school gave their students a creative writing assignment, and after talking about vivid memories at their sleepover, she decided that would be the topic of her paper.

Kate said...

What was the continuity error with the truth about stacey? I remember thinking they got it all right- what did I miss?

Anonymous said...

greer - If you didn't know anything else about Lousie May Alcott you might easily think it was historical fiction, rather than fiction written historically. If that makes any sense.

I remember really liking MA's and Jessi's memories but the rest are really blah. Jessi's is kind of cute, and I loved how Mary Anne talks about how Kristy was really naughty and she'd just go along with it.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

In Truth About Stacey, no one knows about her diabetes, even Laine. In the SS, she says they knew, and some stayed away from her because they thought it was contagious.

It is a pretty minor one.

Anonymous said...

Nine-year-old Jessi freaks at the idea of packing a bag for her mom to go to the hospital. Her biggest concern? How much of that “big underwear” she should pack. It makes me rethink my image of Mrs. Ramsey
she's pregnant

Anonymous said...

Then she claims if any of her charges ever played jokes on her, she would laugh it off. Even though, they totally didn’t do that in BSC 19.

the damn girl broke Claudia's leg

Katie said...

Now that you bring it up, I remember this one pretty vividly (as is fitting). I had the necklace.
Susan, I liked Snowbound a lot too. I saw someone on cross-country skis cutting through the parking log behind my office the other day and thought of Logan bringing food to the stranded baby-sitters.

Marianna E said...

I had this book and reread it often! I remember the necklace but I don’t know what happened to it. :(
One of the things that annoyed me a lot was in Dawn’s memory, her parents were fighting and I think Sharon says “Don’t fight in front of the children”, and Jeff replies, “ I’m not a child.” Sure you aren’t... you’re a totally mature adult.
That’s one of the main reasons I never liked Jeff.