Tuesday, February 24, 2009

“But his job is important”……..BSC # 39: Poor Mallory!

Memory Reaction

I remember two things about this book. The first, is how the Pike kids all went out and tried to earn money for their parents, when Mr. Pike lost his job. I was probably younger than Mallory when I read it, and I still thought they were idiots for thinking baby-sitting money, or paper route money, or whatever, would be that much help to her parents.

The other thing is that there is this subplot about how Mallory is picked on in school because of the situation. Like, girls in the cafeteria sat around making fun of her for it. I know teenager girls can be bitchy, but I didn’t (and still don’t) think sixth-graders would use that is a reason to pick on someone. There are many, many other things that they could use as an excuse before that.

Revisited Reaction

Mal’s dad gets laid off. They keep saying he got fired, but he actually gets laid off. When a hundred people are let go from the company for financial reasons, it is not the same is being fired.

But anyway, after he loses his job, the Pikes are all worried about what to do for money, and Mal decides to give all her baby-sitting money to her parents. She also encourages her siblings to earn money somehow, and to try to use less electricity. The BSC helps out by giving Mallory a regular month-long job for the Delanys (Max and Amanda), these rich snobs who live near Kristy. The Delanys have a pool, so their house is a popular one for neighborhood kids to hang out in. Unfortunately, most of these kids don’t actually like spending time with Max and Amanda. When the Delanys start to realize this, they get upset. But Mallory comes up with a plan, where they tell kids they can’t use the pool, then see if the friends come. Only one bitch-in-training doesn’t show up, so the Delanys figure out who their real friends are.

In the meantime, Mallory is getting made fun of in school about her dad. These students at SMS must be kinda lame if that is the only thing they can think of as an insult for Mal. Or for anyone, really. By the end, Mal stands up to them and tells her “friends” they suck, and decides her only true friends are the BSC. Oh, and her dad gets a new job, so there is a happy ending.


  • This book takes place during the school year, but the kids swim in the pool all the time over a month long period. I want to know what month this is taking place in, that it is warm enough to swim so much.
  • When Mallory and her siblings tell their parents they were worried about money, Mr. Pike is all, “You do know I was getting severance pay, right?” So the triplets get annoyed at Mal for telling them they could lose their house
  • And really, why didn’t Mr. and Mrs. Pike tell the kids that?
  • When Vanessa hears that her dad might be getting laid off, she is all “But Dad’s job is important. No one could fire someone who is important.” Well, is the company wants to save money, they are going to get rid of people making the most money.
  • My company just laid off a bunch of people (thankfully not me), so this book was a little depressing.
  • Apparently, Claudia thinks eleven is a hard age, because your parents can’t decide if you are a baby or not. I guess by thirteen they will decide you’re an adult?
  • I must have known this subconsciously, but didn’t remember it: “Dibble” is short for Incredible.
  • Speaking of the word dibble, Mallory uses it more times than you would think possible.
  • Why does everyone say Mary Anne’s job is hard? She is responsible for the record book, but she doesn’t actually have to remember everyone’s schedule. She just writes it down. Even Claudia could do that.
  • Mallory decides she has to study extra-hard so that one day she can get a scholarship to college. Her parents have eight kids, she’ll probably need one no matter what.
  • Vanessa makes money by styling hair on the playground. And apparently makes a decent amount.
  • Mrs. Pike starts temping when Mr. Pike loses his job, and tells Mal she might have to sit for free. I guess that two-sitter rule isn’t always enforced, huh?
  • The Delanys have a rule that if a baby-sitter is there, the kids can only use the pool if one of the next-door-neighbors is home. How much good is that really going to be? Unless the neighbor is outside, they won’t be able to do something during an emergency.
  • Stacey takes a job at the Delany’s and wears her bikini because she is watching them in the pool. That seems…unprofessional or something.
  • Apparently, Mrs. Pike likes computers and knows a lot about them. Now, remembering this book was published in 1990, how much experience could she really have with them? She hadn’t been working since she had kids (which is 11 years), and they don’t have one in the house.
  • So, Mallory comes home from school one day and her dad is on the couch watching TV. And her reaction is, “I hope he wasn’t watching all day. The electricity bill will be too high.”
  • What’s the obsession with I Love Lucy? David Michael wants to play “job agency” because he saw it on an episode of I Love Lucy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

“Our VP used to be very nice, but now she never shows up for meetings and she hangs around with a person who wears bell-bottom jeans.”

BSC # 12: Claudia and the New Girl

Memory Reaction

I definitely remember that Ashley was into doing weird stuff and calling it art. And how bitchy the BSCers got when Claudia hung out with her. I vividly remember Claudia finding her bed short-sheeted and reading mean notes. But I also remember knowing they made up in the end. Not, because it is predictable, but because Claudia narrates how she heard about what the BSC behind her back weeks later. They did that with some of the Stacey books later on.

Revisited Reaction

Ashley Wyeth moves to Stoneybrook and is in some of Claudia’s classes. She is also an artist, so sees Claud at an art lesson, thinks she is a talented as an artist, and decides to be-friend her. Ashley thinks Claudia should spend all her free time on art, but Claudia tells her that she has other important things in her life. But they do start hanging out, and they do horrible things like eating lunch at their own table in the school cafeteria and going out to find inspiration for their art. This makes Claud miss BSC meetings, and I think you can guess how the BSC reacts – they pretty much stop talking to her for being friends with Ashley. Plus, they think Ashley is weird, so they think Claud is crazy for wanting to be friends with her. I can see them getting annoyed at her skipping meetings, since they are at her house, but they are really just bitches who want to control her.

Meanwhile, Ashley tries to convince Claudia to sculpt a traffic light for some art contest. Claudia decides not to be “cutting edge” and sculpts Jackie Rodowski instead. But, since she spent so much time with Ashley, she fell behind at school and doesn’t have time to finish. Her teacher enters it as a work-in-progress and she gets an honorable mention. Anyway, Ashley thinks ignoring her advice on the sculpture is a betrayal, and they have a fight. Once this happens she makes up with the BSC and apologizes for wanting an outside life. I guess the club is like the mafia or something…once you’re in, you can never get out.


  • Claudia is bored in class and let’s her mind wander. She debates whether flies have family reunions, and decides no, because reunions are usually picnics and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between flies that are guests and flies that are invade picnics.
  • On a spelling test, Claudia decides that pharaoh should be spelled “farow,” because in a sentence her teacher also used the word “famous” and ‘that must be a clue.’ She also is proud of herself for knowing there was a silent w.
  • In this book we get more Ashley outfits than anything else: “She was wearing a very pretty pink flowered skirt that was full and so long it touched the tops of her shoes – which [Claud] soon realized were not shoes, but sort of hiking boots. Her blouse, loose and lacy, was embroidered with pink flowers.” Kind of hippy, but no worse than anything Claud usually wears.
  • Claudia outfit: “A very short pink cotton dress, white tights, and black ballet slippers.” That actually seems fairly normal.
  • The early books are so weird: At a meeting, the girls all hang out downstairs until everyone gets there, then they go upstairs and start the meeting. None of this, ‘Kristy watches the clock like a hawk’ thing.
  • Claudia tries not to use the word ‘new girl’ when talking about Ashley, because she doesn’t want to offend Stacey or Dawn, who were once both new girls. I can’t figure out what is offensive about that term.
  • Another Ashley outfit: “A puffy white blouse, a blue-jean jacket, a long blue-jean skirt, and those hiking boots again.” You know, there was a time when hiking boots were actually kind of stylish. Probably not when this book was written, though.
  • When Claudia introduces Ashley to kids in her art class, Ashley looks at their work, and only talks to people she thinks are good artists.
  • More Ashley clothes: “A long petticoat and work boots.”
  • Ashley asks Claudia why she “has to” baby-sit right in front of the Radowskys. That’s kind of mean.
  • This part is ridiculous. Jeff gets in trouble at school, and his teacher says he couldn’t leave until she talks to his mom. But, they can’t reach Mrs. Schafer. So, he calls Dawn, who then drags the Perkins girls all the way to the school, to talk to the teacher in place of her mom. It is so absurd. If the teacher really couldn’t reach the mom, I would think she would eventually let the kid go home and call the parents the next day. She certainly would not take the word of a teenager in place of a parent.
  • Dawn also forgets to leave a note for Mrs. Perkins, who is all worried when she gets home and finds no one. A BSC member making a mistake? Shocking.
  • Stacey makes fun of Ashley for wearing bell-bottoms to school. Now, I am not exactly defending that fashion choice, but you can’t be best friends with Claudia and then make fun of other people’s fashion choices. Plus, I am almost positive Claud has worn bell-bottoms at least once.
  • I still can’t believe the Kishis let the BSC meet in their house when Claud isn’t there.
  • Claud’s unfinished sculpture of Jackie wins an honorable mention, and Claud’s art teacher tells her it would have won first prize if it were finished. But, Ashley’s freaky sculpture of a fire hydrant wins first prize, and if the judges were into that, I don’t see them giving a regular old sculpture a prize.
  • Claudia goes over to the Rodowskys to get their permission to sculpt Jackie. Of course, they aren’t there, so she just asks Jackie and doesn’t bother checking back in with his parents.
  • The mature BSC plays all these jokes on Claud, like hiding her junk food, short sheeting her bed, and leaving mean notes all over the place. And all the girl did was make a new friend.
  • Mary Anne thinks Ashley is stuck up, because she never talks to anyone but Claud. But, Mary Anne only talks to BSC members, so who is she to judge?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

“Who could take care of a baby better than us”…..BSC # 52: Mary Anne and 2 Many Babies

Memory Reaction

This is the book that my friend used to make fun of. Dawn and Mary Anne want their parents to have a new baby, and they keep saying how Sharon would only need to do a third of the work as a normal mother, since Mary Anne and Dawn are around.

This is also a book where they have that stupid egg baby project. I never had to do this in school, mainly because when I was a freshman in high school, the seniors who had to carry around bags of flour, dumped the flour all over the halls once they finished the project. But even before that, I never understood why characters in books would really bother carrying an egg to the movies with them.

Revisited Reaction

This one starts out with Mary Anne and Dawn talking about how much they want their parents to have a baby. They think it is totally unreasonable that their parents wouldn’t want to uproot their lives, and they can’t imagine what the big deal is. Mary Anne also gets a couple jobs sitting for a pair of twin six-month-olds. Her first one goes well, and she is in baby heaven.

Then all the girls have to start taking a class called “modern living,” which I can’t believe they would do in an 8th grade class. But, they do, and Mary Anne and Logan have to pretend to be married and that an egg is a baby. It starts off fine, then Mary Anne and Logan realize that apartments and food and doctors are really expensive and can’t be paid for with baby-sitting money. Shocking news. They also fight a lot, because Logan totally doesn’t trust Mary Anne to take care of the egg. I think this is sign 1,006 that Mary Anne should dump him. And THEN Mary Anne sits for the twins again, and they cry the whole time. So, she and Dawn decide that they don’t want a new sibling after all. Um, happy ending?


  • All the talk Mary Anne and Dawn have about wanting a baby is ridiculous. Wouldn’t a 13-year-old know that they couldn’t really do everything for a baby that a mother does?
  • Mary Anne and Dawn also think it is ridiculous that their parents won’t consider adopting…after all, Kristy’s mom and Watson did, so it must be easy to do.
  • Okay, they also talk about how it would be hard to find a relative that could move in to help out like Kristy’s grandmother. Yeah, imagine not having a relative willing to be a non-paid nanny.
  • Awe, I feel bad when people embarrass themselves. Mary Anne’s teacher asks who thinks they are responsible enough to raise a kid. And she raises her hand, thinking the teacher is doing a head count.
  • Mary Anne and Logan are shocked that a two-bedroom apartment goes for $2,000 a month. I know the books are old, but that is an awesome price.
  • The mother of the twins is tired, and Mary Anne doesn’t understand why having twins would do that. After all, she once was a mother’s helper for the Pikes and it wasn’t bad.
  • Mary Anne spends all this effort dressing up the babies in fancy matching outfits and talking about how she would do that with her own babies all the time. I think that would last for about a week.
  • Okay, this seems normal. Stacey thinks carrying an egg around is annoying and can’t understand why Mary Anne is so into it.
  • Mallory actually sounds like the reasonable one, when she tells the others that being pregnant actually makes people tired.
  • This part is kind of scary…Dawn makes a big point of saying she won’t ever change her name if she gets married. Now, this is always something I have thought myself, I seriously hope it is not just because of Dawn.
  • Dawn and Mallory let the Pikes waste almost a dozen eggs by pretending they have egg babies too.
  • So, Mary Anne and Dawn decide they don’t want a new baby after all. Then, Sharon and Richard say they want to talk, and the girls get all worried that it is too late. But they were just telling them they could get a new pet.
  • Mary Anne decides that she doesn’t want to wait until she is “really” old, like 40, to have a baby. But 25 sounds like a perfect age. Yeah…I had lots of friends in high school that talked about wanting to have kids before they were 25 so they wouldn’t be too old. Very few of them actually did.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

“I wish there was something we could do”…..BSC #44: Dawn and the Big Sleepover

Memory Reaction

I never understood this book. I don’t mean I had trouble reading it; I just never bought the premise and would get annoyed with it. The set up has something to do with Dawn and the BSC organizing a fundraiser with the elementary school. But it doesn’t make sense that a group of 13-year-old girls would tell some schoolteachers an idea for a fundraiser, and then essentially be in charge of the project. I can see the school being happy to have someone volunteer to help out, but not just letting the girls run things.

Revisited Reaction

Right at the beginning of this book, we hear about how the elementary school kids are in a pen-pal program with a Zuni school in New Mexico. They are all pretty excited about this, and when Dawns hears she starts to wish she were involved. Fairly soon after that, the news breaks that there was a fire on the Zuni reservation and the school, plus some houses, were destroyed.

Dawn decides she has to get involved and comes up with an idea for a food/clothing drive and fundraiser. Then the BSC works up a whole plan to implement it, including having a sleepover in the school gym as a reward for the kids. Now, I am not saying it is bad to try and help people, I just think Dawn tries to make it all about her. Anyway, she calls her brother’s old teacher (at home) and tells her the idea. That teacher tells the school and the idea gets approved. Then, Dawn and the rest of the BSC get to be the ones to give an assembly announcing the plan. But again, why would they do this? If the school is approving the idea, why not have the teachers all announce it? The BSC doesn’t need to be there. They also help out at some of the fundraiser events, and hold onto the donations. The drop off center is even in Dawn’s barn. I would think that the school would be location to drop off stuff, since all the kids have to go there anyway. THEN, the BSC basically runs this reward sleepover. Again, I don’t buy it.

But in the end, all goes well. They have some issues with kids donating things their parents want to keep (to get prizes for the most donations), but that gets sorted out. They send the money to the pen pals, who are touched by their effort. Then we don’t hear about these pen pals again….until a later Super Special (I think).


  • Byron Pike is upset because Adam told his pen-pal how to speak Pig Latin. Does anyone really believe Pig Latin is a secret language?
  • Dawn claims she is turned off by cliques…Just because the girls in the BSC don’t dress alike doesn’t mean they are not a clique.
  • Is it really fair to say Mary Anne is the only one to ever have a steady boyfriend? Maybe I am mixing up time lines, but I know Stacey went out with Sam Thomas for a long time, then a couple other people.
  • Claud clothes: “She walked into school wearing a bright yellow, oversize man’s jacket with rolled-up sleeves; a wide paisley tie right out of the nineteen sixties; orange stirrup pants; ankle boots; and huge hoop earrings – and you know what? It looked cool.” I will never believe someone can look cool in orange stirrup pants.
  • Another Claud outfit: “Her hair [was] in a ponytail on top of her head, held up by a huge barrette in the shape of a bone, like Pebbles in The Flintstones…..She was even wearing a Pebbles-type outfit – a pink, off the shoulder blouse with huge polka dots and a ragged bottom over black tights.” Because dressing like a cartoon baby is the cutting edge of coolness.
  • Mary Anne is too busy reading to listen to Dawn’s big idea, so Dawn starts to tell her the end of the book to force her to stop. That is really obnoxious.
  • Dawn just calls up this woman who used to teach Jeff. At home. On a Saturday. Then she gets insulted because the woman’s husband answers, and he thinks she is a fifth grader.
  • Why would SMS let the girls out of class to give the assembly at the elementary school? Seriously, it is not no one else could do it.
  • Awe, the BSC gets applause at the assembly. Because, you know they are awesome baby-sitters and their “charges” love them.
  • The triplets set up a free throw contest as part of a carnival the Pikes are having. Dawn asks why it is called a free throw when people have to pay, and they totally make fun of her. I want to laugh, but I am sure I could end up in that situation for other sports…I just happen to know basketball best.
  • Why would Maria Kilbourne and Max Delany be working as part of the fundraiser? Both of them go to private school and wouldn’t have pen pals.
  • Only four teachers go to the sleepover that one hundred kids are attending.
  • They don’t tell us how much money the kids made, just that it was a lot. Lame.
  • The guy donating pizza to the sleepover almost has to cancel because he didn’t get a flour deliver. Dawn makes him feel guilty enough to track down whole-wheat flour.
  • Awe, they get a sweet letter from the principal of the school that burned down.