Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“If I could really make the cake I was dreaming about, we wouldn’t have a thing to worry about.”……BSC Mystery # 21: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger

Memory Reaction

This is one I had sort of forgotten about until I dug it out of a pile of my old books. But, once I remembered its existence, I can remember the basic plot. The one thing that stands out in my mind is how Claudia figures out some girl is 16 because she sees her driving…then later uses this to solve the case. Or something.

I also remember there is this whole thing about Mary Anne’s mom’s chocolate-cherry-cake. The reason that sticks in my head, is that I love chocolate, but hate cherries, so I could never imagine the cake was that good.

Revisited Reaction

It is summer vacation (yes, again), and Stoneybrook is hosting a baking contest sponsored by some baking company. Claudia has been bored, so she decides to enter and ends up being on a team with Mary Anne and Shea Rodowsky. Other important teams are Logan with his little sister and Austin Bentley, and Grace Blume and a friend who’s father is a dessert chef. Cokie Mason was supposed to be on their team as well, but got bronchitis.

On the first day of competition, Claud’s cake gets messed up because someone switched the flour and baking soda on her. Someone also changes the temperature of Logan’s oven and screws up their recipe. Of course, the BSC suspect Grace, especially since her team wins that day. But then the next day, Grace’s oven catches on fire. Several other things like this happen, so the BSC decides there is a sabotage and want to “investigate.”

Claudia and Grace start talking and end up actually getting along. Grace is also a big Nancy Drew fan, so she helps out with the case. They finally work out a system to trap the sabotager. The culprit turns out to be the college student who is running the contest (as an intern for the baking company), who is doing it to help his girlfriend, a contestant in the contest. Apparently her parents were really pressuring her to win. It also turns out she was 16, and too old for the junior division she is competing in. Once everyone finds out, no one really seems to care. Everyone is all, “oh, they were just misguided, but they’re nice people.”

Meanwhile, there are two sorta-subplots. First: Claudia keeps making up recipes then putting fancy decorations on them. Unfortunately, they kind of suck (the flavor, not the decorations). Mary Anne wants to switch to a chocolate cake recipe her mother used to make, but can’t find the recipe. Mary Anne tries calling her grandmother for it, but she is on vacation. But luckily, the grandmother gets home and calls with the recipe. Which then helps Claud/Mary Anne/Shea win. It also makes Mary Anne’s dad all nostalgic.

Second: The BSC is asked to run a day care center during the contest (because there is an adult competition too. They do, and of course in a 4-day period (over two weekends) help out two kids who are suffering due to their parents divorce. They also help the kids set up a “restaurant” where they serve peanut butter sandwiches on the last day of the contest.


  • This book takes place after Stacey quits and rejoins, which Claudia refers to as her being “temporarily kicked out of the club.”
  • One of the reasons the cooking contest needs a day care? So that the out-of-towners coming in for the contest can tour Stoneybrook without their kids. I could buy that people the next town over might come for a contest, but in this book, there are even people coming from NYC to Stoneybrook for the contest. Which, really?
  • Kristy ends up working as “cake cop” during the contest – meaning she helps to keep parents out during the junior level of the contest and just generally makes sure the rules are followed. And as part of her role…she makes notes on all the other contestants to give to the BSC contestants. That seems like a bit of an abuse of power to me.
  • The book has a really poor explanation of how Shea ends up on the team with Claudia and Mary Anne. Apparently, Mrs. Rodowsky called the BSC to see if Shea could be on a team with them. But, it seems odd. Is she paying them to do it? Are they volunteering? Or what?
  • Jackie keeps disappearing from the day care center, so the BSC suspects him of sabotaging everything. Do they really think a seven-year-old would be able to switch ingredients around? Or change settings on an oven?
  • Claudia gets really excited because her dad bought a “cool new cordless phone.” She calls Mary Anne from her backyard all, “can you hear me now?” But she couldn’t get very far before it was too static-y.
  • There are a couple of weird places in this book where the chapters start out at the end of an event, then Claudia says something like, “it all started when…”
  • When Claud and Mary Anne are searching Mary Anne’s attic for the recipe, they find a box of Mary Anne’s “old clothes,” as in clothes she wore in seventh grade before her dad let her dress herself. Claudia jokes that the plaid jumpers are back in style now…which is really just a sign that the BSC was in the eighth grade so long that fashions changed several times.
  • There is another weird moment when they are in the attic…I guess they are setting up the grandmother calling with the recipe. But they have a conversation where they restate the entire plot of the mystery where Mary Anne found out about her grandmother. It just comes across really awkward.
  • How do people watch a cooking contest? Do they watch the cooking part? Just the judging part? Maybe it is just me, but that seems really boring.
  • Claudia says they put the cake in the oven, go wash dishes, and come back just in time to take the cake out of the oven. Don’t most cakes take a good 30-40 minutes? I can’t imagine it took them that long to wash dishes.
  • I don’t understand why they keep using Claud’s recipes. Or why they are surprised when they don’t come out well. Don’t they taste them first? They finally decide to switch to something plainer until they can find Mary Anne’s mom’s recipe.
  • When the kids at the day-care set up their restaurant, they let the kids be split between “chefs,” “managers,” and “waiters.” The poor kids who get to be waiters seem to do all the grunt work.
  • So, this little boy in the day-care keeps telling the BSC about accidents his sister caused. He also tells them she is a problem child. But when the BSC confronts the girl, she admits to it in sort of a “whatever.” It seems obvious that she is actually taking the fall for him, but the BSC spends the whole book figuring it out.
  • I kind of like this one as a mystery, because they didn’t really do anything a normal teenage girl wouldn’t do. They weren’t exchanging information with the police or anything. It was really more like gossip and spying on the other contestants.
  • Claudia is the one to figure out about the girl being over 16. She ends up blurting it out in front of a crowd and everyone actually gasps. I kind of like this, just because Claud acknowledges how it is cool because it feels like she is in a movie.
  • It seems odd that a girl’s parents would be so cool with her defrauding the contest by entering the junior division.
  • Wouldn’t a contest require proof of age if there was an age limit?
  • I hate how the BSC is always solving problems the parents are clueless about, but in this one it is even worse, because they literally just met the kids they are helping.
  • So after the contest, Grace calls Claudia to tell her how mad Cokie is about the Grace/BSC alliance. Cokie even swears “the feud isn’t over,” which seems a little over the top to me.
  • The ending of this mystery is kind of anti-climactic. As soon as the catch who did it, they act like they don’t care and talk about how they feel bad about the guy who did it.
  • As winners, the recipe gets to go in a new cookbook. Claudia keeps fantasizing about using her name, then feels bad when Mary Anne wants to use her mother’s. (They end up doing the later).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

“I had broken a good-luck chain and was wearing a bad-luck charm.”……BSC # 17: Mary Anne’s Bad Luck Mystery

Memory Reaction

I have very little memory of this one. I remember the girls talking about it in other books, basically any Halloween book or any book where Cokie showed up. The only thing I do remember is how Mary Anne gets a chain letter which reminds me of the times I got chain letters as a kid (actual printed out and sent with a stamp, not e-mail ones). The first time I sent it out and followed the instructions, but never got the postcards that you are supposed to get. So, when I got it a second time, I threw it out, and my friend got mad at me for “breaking the chain.” But anyway, Mary Anne throws hers out and that is all I really remember. I know talk about making a fool out of Cokie in later books, so I assume it happens here.

Revisisted Reaction

It is mid-October and the BSC is starting to prepare for Halloween. Mary Anne gets an anonymous chain letter in the mail that says she and her friends will get bad luck if she doesn’t send it to other people. Mary Anne just throws the thing out. The next day horrible things start to happen to Mary Anne. Well, not really horrible. She spills juice on her dress and her locker gets jammed. But she starts to think it is because she threw out the chain letter. THEN she gets a necklace in the mail, with a letter that says it is a bad-luck charm and bad things will happen if she doesn’t wear it. I am not keeps having “bad-luck” and the rest of the BSC is too.

October 30 roles around, and most of the BSC goes to the Halloween dance, where Cokie makes fun of Mary Anne’s “bad-luck charm.” Cokie and her friends have been rather bitchy to the BSC throughout the book – this is explained by saying Cokie’s BFF Grace has a crush on Logan and all the girls at SMS are jealous of Mary Anne.

That night, Mary Anne gets another letter telling her and the rest of the BSC to go to the graveyard at midnight. They are all terrified, but agree to go. Then her father tells her that the necklace she is wearing has some stone that is a symbol of faith. This makes Mary Anne realize Cokie sent the necklace (since otherwise she wouldn’t have called the necklace a bad-luck charm. Cokie tends to have a problem with self-incriminating herself like that.

The girls show up at the graveyard early and make plans to scare Cokie and Co. They do and in the midst of the scaring, Logan shows up. It seems that Cokie and Grace wanted him to witness the BSC getting scared, so he would dump Mary Anne. It seems a bit convoluted to me. And Logan ends up thinking the BSC is cool for getting the mean girls. Then the girls realize they are starting to have good luck, and decide everything is settled. Even though we never find out who sent the original letter (Cokie only sent the necklace).


  • We are at the stage where Mary Anne still calls Logan her “sort of” boyfriend. It was much more realistic then.
  • Claudia’s outfit: “An oversized white shirt with a green vegetables print all over it – cabbages and squashes and turnips and staff. Under the blouse was a very short jean skirt, white stockings, green anklets over the stockings, and lavender sneakers.” I have no comment. I think we’ll let the image speak for itself.
  • Mary Anne mentions how she and the BSC always sit together and she thinks their other friends were hurt that they got blown off. But then she pretty much says, “oh, well,” about the whole thing.
  • What is really interesting is that Mary Anne thinks other girls at school think the BSC is stuck up. But later Claud says the problem is that everyone else is stuck up and Mary Anne goes along with it Both are probably accurate statements.
  • Kristy, Claud, and Dawn all tell Mary Anne to send the chain letter on, so they don’t get residual bad-luck, but don’t want her to send it to them. Nice.
  • I don’t understand the logic behind telling someone to wear a bad-luck charm. Why would someone keep something that is labeled as “bad-luck.”
  • They have this whole long discussion on how to look up stuff in the library and card catalogues etc. It was probably Ann M. Martin trying to educate kids on libraries, but it is really dated.
  • People getting sick in October is not bad-luck, it is just the start of flu season.
  • Jamie Newton is afraid of Halloween, and Jessi helps him by reading him some book about Georgie a friendly ghost. I never heard of it, but I guess it is a series that exists.
  • I hate when they show two people writing in the notebook, and make it look like they are having a conversation in writing. I don’t see how they would actually write joint entries like that. If they are sitting in the same room, why wouldn’t Claudia just ask Mallory how to spell whatever word it is?
  • The Pikes are all excited because they are having something called “daddy stew” for dinner. Claudia thinks it looks disgusting, and I am going to have to agree. The Pikes are not known for great eating habits.
  • When they show the letter that came with the charm, they show it graphically, with all different fonts to make it look like they were cut from magazines. I used to think stuff like that was so cool.
  • The BSC check books out of the library on witchcraft and how to get rid of bad-luck. They all talk about using snake skins and ox tail’s. Do books like that really exist?
  • Mary Anne tells Jessi and Mal how “last year” they found out that the “Phantom Phone Caller” was Trever Sandbourne, who had a crush on Claudia. But really, it was Alan Gray too.
  • Mary Anne and Logan dress as cats for the Halloween dance, because they had seen the musical Cats. Are we supposed to believe they saw the Broadway show?
  • They make their costumes, and Mary Anne tells us Logan didn’t want to wear a leotard and tights like she did. That is actually a good sign.
  • Jessi and Mal aren’t allowed to go to the dance. But they are allowed later in the series and they aren’t any older then.
  • Want proof Dawn is an individual? She wears regular clothes to the dance, but puts on green makeup all over her face. That reminds me of teenagers who would go trick-or-treating without any real costume…then claim their Yankees hat was a costume as a “Yankee fan.” Or something.
  • The girls try to plan how to sneak out of their house to get to the graveyard at night…. including climbing out a window. Which I can’t see any of them doing. They end up using a sleepover as a cover story.
  • Kristy gets Charlie to pick up all her friends and drive them to a graveyard at 10:30 at night, then wait around for an hour, then take them home, and keep it all secret. This is on a Saturday night. On Halloween. What guy would do that?
  • So, in this book, Grace Blume is the one who is into Logan. But later, Cokie goes after him. She and Grace are still friends then, so I am going to assume this is a continuity error and not an example of Cokie being a bitch.
  • I feel like this entire plot wouldn’t work if written today…Most “chain letters” are email and if other people get even half of what I do they wouldn’t be a big deal to anyone.
  • Logan says that while walking to the graveyard, he sees Charlie Thomas who directs him to the proper section of the graveyard. I would have liked to see that conversation…wouldn’t Charlie have filled him in? “You’re looking for Old Man Hickory’s grave? That’s where the BSC is hanging out. Imagine that.
  • For a minute, I actually thought Logan was going to get mad at the BSC for trying to scare Cokie. But he didn’t, and everything worked out fine.
  • Cokie’s whole plan seems a little lame. She wanted Logan to show up while she and her cronies were scaring the BSC. Does she think the way to win a guy is to play a prank on his girlfriend?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"I think she just knew her time had come"....BSC # 26: Claudia and the Sad Good-Bye

Memory Reaction

This was one of a handful of books I didn’t own, so I didn’t re-read it a million times. I think I didn’t want to read it over and over. It’s about someone dying, which is not exactly on the same fluffy level as the rest of the BSC books.

I do remember hearing Stacey’s perspective on Mimi’s funeral though. Was there some later Stacey book where we got a flashback to it? Maybe it was in those autobiography ones? Because I am pretty sure it was a different book, not this one.

Revisited Reaction

Claudia’s grandmother Mimi has been sick lately and has been having trouble remembering things or not making sense when she talks. She is admitted to the hospital, but the doctors can’t figure out the problem, and she goes home. Soon after, she faints and is brought back to the hospital. Again, the doctors can’t figure out what is wrong, but she starts to seem better. But before Mimi can go home, she dies in her sleep. It is very sad. (And I am not being sarcastic here, it really is sad). So, they have the funeral, Claud and her family mourn and do the whole stages of guilt thing etc. Eventually, Claudia makes a collage as a tribute to Mimi. Janine, gets the rest of the family to finally go through Mimi’s room and sort of make peace with things. Then Kishi’s find that Mimi had started her own obituary, and had even put down the correct date. Which is sort of freaky.

Meanwhile, one of the BSC clients, the Addisons asks Claudia to teach art to their daughter Corrie. Claud agrees (before Mimi died), and ends up setting up a whole “art class” for a bunch of the kids in the neighborhood. It turns out that the Addisons kind of suck as parents and just sign their kids up for as many classes as they can to give themselves free time. I am not sure how this makes her different than other BSC parents, though. Anyway, Corrie really likes art and she and Claudia bond. At the end Claudia tells Mrs. Addison she isn’t spending enough time with her daughter, and instead of firing her, Mrs. Addison listens to her.


  • Claudia outfit: “Lavender plaid cuffed pants with suspenders over a green shirt with buttons down the front, a matching lavender beret…and fleece-lined high-top sneakers…also I’ve got on earrings shaped like Christmas tree lights that actually blink on and off.” She is actually wearing this on the cover. Even the earrings.

  • Awe, this stuff is so sad. Mimi yells at Mallory and tells her to never take her shopping again, even though Mal has never taken her shopping. Mal is kind of freaked by it.

  • Early in the book Claudia and Mimi are cooking dinner and decide to make it a fancy dinner where they use the good china and eat in candlelight and all. I feel like they do that in several books…do people do it in real life?

  • Claud apparently has been cooking dinner mostly on her own because she is worried Mimi’s hands will shake too much while she is using a knife, or that Mimi won’t remember to wash her hands and/or the food. I want to know where Claud’s parents are when cooking is happening.

  • Just like when Mimi had her stroke, Claudia ends up canceling all her plans to visit Mimi in the hospital while her family still goes to work and school. Granted, she volunteers, but, again, where are her parents?

  • The Arnold twins take Claudia’s art class, and when painting, they both draw the same picture of a house. Aren’t we always hearing about how they really have different personalities? Why draw the same picture?

  • Corrie Addison wants to make a puppet of Nancy Drew because they are her favorite books. It should tell Claudia something if she has the same reading level as a 9-year-old.

  • There is this whole subplot where Mimi starts to give her stuff away – a china bird to Mallory, jewelry to Claudia and Janine, and she even has Claudia take plants into her bedroom. Again, sad.

  • So, we do hear about Stacey going to the funeral, and Claudia tells us what is supposedly Stacey’s version told to Claudia…but I still think I remember reading another version of it.

  • Claud mentions all this stuff about people not going to the funeral because they didn’t know Mimi (Mr. McGill, Watson, etc). But, seriously? You go to funerals for people you didn’t know well because you want to support the family that lost someone. I can sort of excuse Mr. McGill because he was in New York (and he and Mrs. McGill are on the verge of divorcing at this point, even if we don’t know that yet). But Watson? His wife lived across the street from Mimi for years, his daughter visits the Kishi’s house three times a week, he has brought Claudia on family vacations, and he doesn’t go pay his respects?

  • Claudia “doesn’t want to pay favorites” but she thinks Corrie’s art project is better than everyone else in her class. Corrie is also substantially older than everyone else. I mean, a nine-year-old vs. Jamie Newton and Gabbie Perkins? There are other kids in the class between those ages, but Corrie is still the oldest.

  • There are a couple points in the book where Corrie actually mentions having a different baby-sitter because her mom didn’t want to both Claudia with it.

  • Kristy mentions how she is happy Nannie moved in with her family rather than a housekeeper. So, do they actually consider Nannie their housekeeper and make her clean and stuff? What is with the treatment of elderly relatives in these books.

  • Kristy tells Claudia she is using Corrie as a placeholder for Mimi, and doesn’t want Claud to forget about Corrie when she finishes mourning Mimi. That is pretty observant of her. It is too bad she is right…we don’t hear about the Addison’s again for ages.

  • Mary Anne and Dawn talk about how their parents are closer to marriage. Mary Anne says her dad doesn’t date anyone but Sharon, and Dawn says….her mom dates the “Trip Man” less than she used to. So, she is still dating multiple people and he is committed to her? Nice.

  • They also talk about how it is smart of their parents to not rush into a second marriage…you mean like getting divorced when your daughter is in seventh grade and getting remarried when she is in eighth? Granted, Dawn was in eighth grade a million times, but still.

  • Jessi talks about how she might audition for a role when the Stoneybrook Community Center performs Swan Lake. I am pretty sure this happens in the next book, so yea! Continuity.

  • Jessi also says the Community Center is “practically off-off Broadway.”

  • Claud feels guilty because she got annoyed with Mimi when she was sick and talked back to her. But, she and Mimi had a really good conversation the last time we spoke, and for some reason, I thought they fought. But maybe that was when she had the stroke.

  • The whole jinx thing: The BSC is always saying people “hook pinkies” when they say the same thing at the same time. When I was little, we would say, “jinx,” count to ten, and whoever didn’t get there first couldn’t talk until someone said their name.

  • The girls tell a bunch of "funny Mimi" stories, and I kind of wish we had gotten to see more of her.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

“They were definitely the work of a lunatic”…BSC # 38: Kristy’s Mystery Admirer

Memory Reaction

I think even when I was a kid these books were predictable. I remember being so annoyed that Kristy couldn’t figure out it was Cokie sending her creepy notes. I mean, it was always Cokie, right? She’s the go to bad guy for the BSC.

I also remember that Bart and Kristy went to the dance dressed as lobsters. I remember how thrilled Kristy was that she didn’t have to wear a dress and how horrified Shannon and Karen were at the idea of Kristy not dressing up in a regular dress.

Revisited Reaction

The copy of the book I had was missing about thirty starting around Chapter 4, but I think I got the basic plot covered. Kristy and Bart are planning a “World Series” between the Krushers and the Bashers. They are also totally into each other and Kristy asks him to a Halloween dance at school (he says yes). Then Kristy starts getting “love notes.” Or what passes for love notes to a 13-year-old…your typical cutesy/nice stuff. At first, everyone tells her it is Bart, but she thinks it is Sam playing a joke.

Then the notes start getting a little weird….they make a bunch of references to death and even have fingernail clippings in the envelope. Then Kristy thinks the notes are from Bart and everyone else thinks they are from Sam. Then they all decide that some crazy lunatic is sending them (yet, Kristy doesn’t mention this to her parents). Eventually, Kristy and the rest of the BSC decide Bart is sending them after all, in order to psych her out for the World Series. So, Kristy stops talking to him.

Bart finally shows up at Kristy’s house and demands to know why she invited him to a dance then stopped talking to him. She shows him the letters, and Bart admits he sent the early notes (the nice ones), but not the creepy/threatening ones. So, they make up and all is forgiven. But they still don’t know who the other letters came from.

At the World Series (the Krushers/Bashers one), Kristy sees Cokie at the game, and is all, “WTF is that bitch doing here?” Kristy goes to talk to her, and when she does, Cokie accidentally quotes one of the creepy letters. She tells Kristy she did it because of the time when the BSC made Cokie look like a fool in front of Logan at the Graveyard. Which, I guess happened in one of the other books where Cokie tortured the BSC on Halloween. You know, that other Halloween when they were in eighth grade?

Anyway, things wrap up nicely and everyone goes to the dance and has fun. Kristy and Bart go dressed as lobsters, he kisses her, and she decides she is totally in love. Oh, and the Krusher’s win the World Series. Which only consisted of one game, so can’t really be called a series.


  • After a Krusher’s game (an early one, not the World Series), Kristy says that she hears the kids telling their parents about winning a game. It seems very different from the first game when the kids’ parents actually showed up for the games.
  • Kristy says that practically the only time she wears skirts is when she plays field hockey in gym. Do people really wear full uniforms like that in gym class? We always wore whatever sweats/shorts we brought in ourselves.
  • Kristy also says she wishes she could practice in jeans and T-shirts….what is it with the BSC and thinking jeans are good clothes for athletics?
  • How big is Claudia’s room, exactly? At a meeting, Claudia is stretched out on the bed because her leg is bothering her, so Mal, Jessi, Mary Anne, and Dawn sit on the floor, while Stacey sits at the desk, and Kristy sits in the “director’s chair.” And why does Claud even have the director’s chair?
  • Kristy speculates that the notes are from an actual psycho who wants to kidnap her to get ransom from Watson. And Shannon, is all, “Wouldn’t a kidnapper take Karen or Andrew? They’re his ‘real’ kids.”
  • The theory about Bart sending the notes to sabotage the Krusher’s in the World Series is actually all Shannon’s. Isn’t she supposed to be smart?
  • You would think that it would occur to at least one of these girls that the reason the first few notes were really nice, and the next set really creepy, is cause there are two people writing them. Kristy talked about it at school, so obviously, someone else could have found out.
  • Buddy Barrett hits Shannon in the head with a baseball and she asks to keep the ball. So then he gets a crush on her. I guess that is kind of cute.
  • Suzie is making fun of Buddy about this, and he makes her shut up by threatening to tell about something she did. We never find out what, which actually makes me a little annoyed.
  • Charlotte, Haley, and Vanessa dress up as the three stooges while cheering (cheerleadering?) at the World Series. The clothes practically fall off them during a practice game.
  • Kristy keeps the letters hidden in a copy of The Cat Ate my Gymsuit. I can’t remember if I ever read this, but I remember seeing it in my school library all the time, and thinking of this book. Only, the book my library kept, had this cover.
  • When Bart shows up to talk to Kristy, she brings him up to her room. First of all, if she really thinks he is sending her mean letters, why let him come upstairs? Keep him downstairs where other people are around. Secondly, a thirteen-year-old letting her boyfriend into her bedroom?
  • Kristy keeps claiming she doesn’t have any enemies. Except, um. She does. Cokie.
  • I like David Michael, Karen, and Andrew are always trying to “bulk up” by eating a huge breakfast before Krusher’s games in the books. I don’t think I had any idea what that meant at the time, but I still knew it was a joke.
  • Kristy and Bart win a prize for Most Unusual Costume.
  • Shannon and Claudia explain to Jessi and Mal that while boys may be “clods” in sixth grade, they go through a metamorphosis, which I guess makes them fabulous young men in eighth.
  • Kristy’s “revenge” on Cokie? She is going to let everyone in the school know what Cokie did. Um, how is that revenge? People who are friends with Cokie will think she pulled off something cool, and people who are friends with Kristy probably already think Cokie is a loser.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“New York is a nice place to visit and Stoneybrook is a nice place to live”…..BSC Super Special # 6: New York, New York!”

Memory Reaction

What stands out for me about this one isn’t so much the book, as it is the cover

When I had my BSC birthday party, I used the cover of this book on the invitation. We changed the title to say “Super Special 11,” since it was my 11th birthday. And at the time, there hadn’t been an eleventh super special, so I thought it made sense or something.

As for the rest of it….I don’t think it was one of my favorites. I’m from New Jersey, so had been to New York City often enough that it didn’t excite me. I liked it better when they were going off to California or the Bahamas or other cool places I hadn’t been, but wanted to.

Revisited Reaction

Claudia wants to take art classes at the Fine Arts League of New York (which doesn’t seem to actually exist). It is some school where anyone can take a class for any length of time, so she asks her parents if she can take classes during her next school vacation. Somehow, Mr. McGill invites her to stay with him while Stacey is visiting for a two week school vacation, and her parents say okay. Then, for some inexplicable reason, he invites the rest of the BSC. So, of course they all come (minus Logan and Shannon). Since, Mr. McGill has an apartment, half of them end of staying at Laine’s. I don’t know why her parents agreed to that, they just did. Anyway, Claudia decides to keep a journal of the book, and asks her friends to provide notes as well. Thus, a Super Special is born.

Mallory decides to take the classes too, since she wants to illustrate books someday. There is some famous artist, MacKenzie Clarke (who also doesn’t seem to exist) teaching the class so they are both nervous/excited. Surprisingly to both girls, Mr. Clark compliments Mal’s drawings and keeps critiquing Claudia. The girls fight about it, but eventually we find out that he was pushing Claudia to try harder because she had talent, but didn’t focus enough. And I guess he was complimenting Mal to be nice, but didn’t really expect great things from her (he sort of says this too). But Mal decides she does care because she doesn’t want to be a great artist, she just wants to make cute sketches to go in children’s books. And Claud, vows to concentrate and become great.

Because we need to involve kids, Stacey and Mary Anne get a sitting job for the children of some ambassador/diplomat types from England. They keep seeing a guy following them and think he wants to kidnap the kids, but find out from the parents he is just their bodyguard.

Kristy finds a stray dog, sneaks it into Laine’s apartment, then finds out she can’t bring it home (from a surprise denial by Watson). Laine’s parents find the dog and make her start looking for a new home for it. She eventually does, this little boy and his family. It is about is uninteresting as it sounds.

Jessi goes to the ballet and meets a guy, who is also a dancer. The guys he knows harass him for taking ballet lessons. Because of this, he doesn’t want to audition for Juliard, even though his teacher thinks he could get in. But, Jessi talks him into it. She is also totally into him and he gives her her first kiss. They promise to stay in touch.

Dawn turns into a little scardy-cat as soon as she sets foot in New York. She thinks she is going to get attacked every where she goes, so she refuses to leave the apartment. She just sits around cleaning Mr. McGill’s kitchen. Kristy hangs out with her for awhile, but then gets bored with it and goes sightseeing on her own. Then Dawn meets this guy who lives upstairs and they start to hang out. He convinces her to go outside and see the city He even gets her to eat a Godiva chocolate. So, by the end of the trip she is a little more relaxed and willing to go out with the rest of the BSC. Interestingly enough, we don’t hear about the guy in later books, even though we see them exchanging letters in the epilogue chapter.


  • I know I missed this as a kid. In one of Claud’s “journal entries” she talks about how Mary Anne keeps singing “New York, New York! A Wonderful Town!” Then Stacey cut in saying “doesn’t it go, “New York, New York! A H--- “ That is probably the closest thing the books ever got to a curse.
  • Claudia calls Kristy less mature then the rest of them, but I don’t really think that’s true. She is less interested in boys then them, but I think she is more mature in other ways.
  • When the BSC gets on the train to New York, all their families accompany each of them. Does that seem realistic? Wouldn’t it be easier for say, Watson and Nannie to stay home with the kids while Kristy’s mom drives her to the train station?
  • Mary Anne is totally going to be a travel agent when she grows up. Or maybe a travel writer.
  • These kids Mary Anne and Stacey sit for are always dressed in matching fancy outfits like sailor suits or something. If people really may try to kidnap them, perhaps their parents should try putting them in something that will blend in.
  • Dawn claims she doesn’t sleep at all because she is scared of the fire escape outside the window, but Stacey catches her sound asleep.
  • Does anyone have any idea what “Boontsie” refers to? It is Stacey’s dad’s “baby nickname” for her.
  • When looking at the dog Kristy found, Laine says it is going to have to “go piddle.” I thought my grandmother was the only one in the world who used that term.
  • I am actually surprised Watson wouldn’t let Kristy keep the dog. Doesn’t he let Karen get a rat at some point? And a fish? And anything else she wants?
  • In one of Claud’s journal entries she tells us how she knows she spells the name of famous places/artists “wright” because she looked them up.
  • In this class Claud and Mal take, they have a “field trip” to Rockefeller Center to sketch the plaza. So, they all meet at the school and take the subway as a group. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have everyone meet there?
  • This books talks about “Late Night With David Lettermen” being filmed at NBC studies in New York, and I totally thought it was an error. Then I realize in 1991, that was accurate.
  • After Jessi meets Quint, the male ballerina, she wants to go to his house and Laine gets all nervous about it being a bad idea to go alone. First she says that her mother would say the same about her, but then she decides she is old enough to act as chaperone for Jessi.
  • For some reason, I always think of the guy’s name as “Quaint Walker” and not “Quint “Walter.”
  • So, Laine tells Kristy a dog isn’t allowed, because her parents have always said “no pets.” But Kristy thinks this means the building doesn’t allow animals, and whenever they take the dog out, she makes Jessi ask the door man for directions to distract him, which makes Jessi look like an idiot.
  • This guy Dawn meets is apparently so punctual you can set your watch by him. Literally. Dawn counts down to the second he will ring the door bell. It is kind of creepy.
  • I hate when Dawn complains about people forcing her to eat chocolate. At least she admits the Godiva was good though (although, not out loud). Usually, she just talks about ruining her teeth.
  • The back cover talks about how “Dawn eats her way through the city.” I think I am only now realizing that is literally referring to how she tries a bunch of food. When I was little I thought it was some metaphoric way of describing how she got over her fears.
  • Kristy puts a flier up looking for someone to adopt the dog she found. This kid calls, and she just goes over to his apartment. This bothers me at two levels. One, she didn’t talk to an adult? How does she know his parents are okay with it? Two, a few chapters earlier, we got the speech for Laine about how her parents still check out her friends before letting her go there alone. But Kristy just walks off by herself to a random apartment?
  • Stacey and Mary Anne had a few days off from sitting. When they go back to work, Stacey talks about how they plan to go to FAO Schwartz, since Rowena (the little girl) hadn’t been there yet. But how do they know her parents didn’t take her in the days they were off?
  • I think it sucks that these diplomat people didn’t tell Mary Anne and Stacey they had a bodyguard following them. They claim they didn’t want to make them nervous, but what do you call seeing a creepy guy following you?
  • Laine’s father is really nice. Not only does he let four friends of Stacey’s (not his own daughter’s) stay at his house for two weeks, but he gets them free tickets to a Broadway show, dinner at some fancy restaurant, and a limo for the night. Granted, he is supposed to be a rich Broadway producer and likely did not have to pay very much out of pocket for these.
  • Claudia thinks the divider in the limo is to give the driver privacy. I think it is the other way around, Claud.
  • I totally want these awesome mirrors they find. One laughs when you look into it and one screams.
  • At the show, Claud drops M&Ms on the floor and one lands on a lady’s show. This somehow makes everyone hysterical and so they keep laughing during the show. It is actually typical 13-year-old behavior.
  • When they come home, the Pike kids use their fancy computer that “does graphics” to make a sign welcoming everyone home, complete with a statue of liberty and an outline of Connecticut.
  • Meanwhile Kristy’s family shows up in shirts with “Thomas” printed on the front and “Brewer” written on the back. They got Charlie and Sam to wear those? In public?
  • Oh, I remember this too. Jessi’s dad uses the phrase “OINY…Only in New York.”