Sunday, August 9, 2009

“My friends and I could take care of the kids for the week”….BSC Super-Special # 3: Baby-sitters’ Winter Vacation

Memory Reaction

What I really remember about this book is how every time I read it I think of the continuity error. The BSC go on some school trip to Vermont, and tell us that they went in 6th and 7th grade too. But in the Disney World Super-Special (#1), Kristy says she has never left Connecticut.

Maybe a mind like this is why I am now working as an editor.

Revisited Reaction

Apparently, all of SMS goes on a mandatory trip to this lodge in Vermont every year. There is this couple in Vermont who let schools come stay there for almost nothing and the kids have this “Winter War” thing. It is essentially a series of competition in winter events like skiing, ice-skating, etc.

The first night there, they arrive during a huge snowstorm. Another bus of elementary school kids was on the way there, and crashed in the storm. The BSC volunteers to be part of the rescue mission to help the kids. They are allowed to do this, which is a little unbelievable, but whatever. Then, it turns out the kids’ teachers have to go to the hospital and everyone thinks the kids will have to go home. But, the BSC volunteers to be there sitters/chaperones for the week. Somehow, the adults agree to this.

Anyway, despite the baby-sitting, they all get their own little adventure.

Mary Anne: Volunteered to be the “trip historian” and do research on the trip. She is supposed to be writing a paper, which is the framework for the whole “write notes” thing.

Kristy: Is in charge of the whole “Winter War” and also a team captain. She gets super competitive and tries to get people on her team to play in more events.

Claudia: Is also competitive and apparently the best skier in the school. She is on the opposite team, so she and Kristy compete some.

Stacey: Meets some guy and spends the whole book disappearing to make out with him. Seriously, she has a chapter at the beginning on the bus, then another early chapter where she meets him skiing, and then we don’t hear from her again until she is saying good-bye to him. But everyone else spends the book talking about how Stacey keeps wandering off somewhere.

Dawn: Falls down during an ice-skating race and feels like an idiot. Then she lets people stop her from participating in other events. Then, gets over herself.

Mallory: Does her stupid spy thing. You’d think she would either get better at spying by now or stop doing it.

Jessi: Is in charge of running a talent show. She is worried that she’ll screw it up, but ends up doing okay. She also performs herself and thinks the school has “finally accepted her.”

The kids: We only really get personality out of one kid, Pinky. She is kind of a brat and the other kids don’t seem to like her. Jessi thinks she is racist, but it turns out she was homesick and embarrassed about it. She seems to cheer up at the end.


  • I don’t really understand the way this school trip supposedly works. The parents are asked to make a donation to the “Winter Carnival Fund.” Then the Lodge covers whatever the school doesn’t fund. And they apparently do this with several schools just to give kids an “away from school experience.” If this is some charity, why not invite different schools each year to spread it around?
  • They leave on a Monday and return on a Saturday….It seems like this is in place of a week of school, not a trip on vacation. My middle school had a trip like this, but it was on the weekend, and we really had to pay for it.
  • This is the first time a sixth grader is in charge of the talent show…why would they let a sixth grade have that big a responsibility? Not that I think Jessi is incompetent, I am just surprised they would do that.
  • The girls don't get paid, so it is even more unrealistic that they would volunteer to give up a vacation.
  • Mary Anne finds out the lodge supposedly has a ghost, but we never really get the details. It is a rather lame attempt at adding a “mystery” – even the person who wrote a book saying there is a ghost doesn’t believe in it.
  • It seems like there is no teacher involvement with this Winter War at all. The only teacher who gets any kind of face time is this gym teacher that Mary Anne is afraid of. But that part is boring.
  • Mary Anne spends the whole trip mooning over Logan (who couldn’t go on the trip because he is in Aruba with his family). Mary Anne is worried Logan is going to cheat on her, but then he calls the lodge to tell her how much he misses her and was going crazy too. Ah, co-dependency at thirteen.
  • Mallory sucks at the spy thing. She decides the cook is poisoning everyone (proven false), thinks a teacher is having an affair with some other teacher (proven false), and watches Stacey make out with her latest boyfriend (where she gets caught).
  • When they first get to the room they are staying in (bunks where all the girls for a grade are together), Stacey and Claud pair up right away and Mary Anne and Dawn pair up right away. So poor Kristy is left without a bunk-mate (this is before they end up staying with the kids). It seems a little mean, but I guess someone had to be left out.
  • I also can’t figure out if the schools are the only ones at this lodge or if it is a big hotel with lots of other guests. It is really not explained very well.
  • The SMS teachers actually vouch for the BSC as being good with kids…but then do hesitate at the idea of the BSC being their primary chaperone for the week. That seems…realistic?
  • I am surprised the kids parents would let them stay at the lodge when they find out the elementary school teachers are injured. These are elementary school kids.
  • Claudia gets a crush on her ski-instructor, and thinks he is in love with her. Then he introduces her to his wife and kids.
  • I feel old. I remember reading this and thinking how crazy Claud was for thinking her older ski instructor was into her, and how anyone old enough to be married with kids is clearly over-the-hill. His age? 25.
  • Mary Anne confesses she must be a huge dork because no one had volunteered to be “trip historian” before. So, why don’t the teachers assign people? The whole thing is weird.
  • Jessi ends up afraid to ski or skate because she doesn’t want to get frostbite or sprain her ankle and not be able to dance.
  • Stacey tells us how she sees Mal taking out her journal, and is all, “who is she kidding?”
  • So, the BSC is supposed to be watching the kids, but they end up abandoning them to do winter sports…only Stacey and the gym teacher go with the kids to a ski lesson, and Stacey ends up leaving to ski alone (then she meets her new “luv” target.
  • Kristy and Jessi keep making all these announcements at breakfast/lunch about the Winter War/Talent Show. Which, again, seems weird since there are other people at the lodge.
  • The lodge has a dance (there is almost always a dance with these girls) and Mallory is also terrified about it. But she does manage to enjoy herself.
  • It really doesn’t seem fair for Kristy to be in charge of the whole contest when she is also a team captain. Just like it isn’t fair for Claud to judge a sculpture contest when she is on a team.
  • Mary Ann and Dawn have this whole fight when Mary Anne is too busy thinking of Logan to sympathize with Dawn. Mary Anne is actually in the wrong here, but Dawn ends up apologizing to her.
  • Is there any other book where we hear about Claudia skiing? Cause apparently she is some super-expert at it.
  • The talent show is only 45 minutes long…that seems short. It also doesn’t seem fair for Jessi to be the only one in charge of picking acts (especially since she is in it), or that they do it in the span of a day.
  • How do you have an event called a “Snowball fight”? Kristy describes it like it is capture the flag, but I can’t figure out how they regulate people not using “slush balls.” It also seems pretty dangerous…letting kids through snowballs at each other?
  • The SMS teachers tell “ghost stories” that are all really lame and cliché – dog eating a finger, a killer scratching through the rood of a car – but maybe this is where I first heard them.
  • When I got to this scene, I felt like I had the chapter memorized – Kristy is trying to talk kids into competing in a cross-country ski event. She keeps telling people “if you can walk, you can do it.” So then these kids tell her they can’t walk. It isn’t really that funny, it just is strange how vivid the memory is.
  • Of course, one of the kids Kristy does talk into competing falls and breaks his leg. She feels bad and doesn’t mind that her team loses.
As an FYI, this update was early because I am going on vacation tomorrow. I'll be gone for two weeks, so the next post will probably be up around 8/24.


Lenora said...

The Claudia skiing thing actually does come up later. She feels threatened when Abby is a really good skier (because that's HER character trait), they go on a closed trail, which somehow becomes a bonding experience that makes everything okay. I think this is the Super Mystery at Shadow Lake?

Caroline said...

Great recap! I totally would have been the Mary Anne on this trip, volunteering to do some reading and writing especially if it would have gotten me out of winter activities (but not the co-dependent mooning part). There also would have been no way we were allowed to have any event resembling a snowball fight.

My most vivid memory from this is when Dawn plays Monopoly and the other person says that they've never seen anyone go bankrupt so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Also for continuity errors: In #4 (Mary Anne Saves the Day), Mary Anne -- when recounting the few days that she and Kristy did NOT walk to school together -- says that Kristy and her family went to Disney World in the past. ?!?!

Happy said...

In the earlier books (I forget which one) they mentioned that Claudia was going with her family to somewhere in the mountains and she skis there. Maybe it was a postcard that Claud sends one of the girls where she's like,"hi who aer yu. skeeing wus phun."

nikki said...

The whole thing about the elem kids' parents letting them stay with their chaperones out of comission is completely redic.

But I totally remember reading this when I was a kid and thinking, "hell yeah! That is the perfect job for the BSC!"

Sadako said...

Nikki, agreed. And if your kids were trapped in some kind of scary snow situation that was so bad that some teachers had to go to the hospital, wouldn't you want them home with you? I mean, you think they'd be a bit traumatized or at least upset.

Amiee said...

I remember the scary stories being told and actually thought they were pretty creepy (at the time)! Was there also one about a killer hiding under the bed or this some other kind of repressed memory getting to me?

HelenB said...

I always got so frustrated reading MA's ghost thing. Like, why did they even bring it up? Her trying to find the ghost would have made a way better plot than her mooning after Logan, too.

Again, Mallory gets the lamest plot, although again, she's really only behaving her age.

Anonymous said...

Of course some random middle-school girls can chaperone! They're the BSC!

Anonymous said...

Mallory is a baby she did the same thing over and over again like when she was 10

Anonymous said...

I like that Dawn The Individual didn't want to be in the rest of the events because people laughed when she fell down. She's a jerk.