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.


Happy said...

I love that karen's grandmother (not Nanny of the pink clinker fame) still goes to the house next door to her daughter's ex-husband. That shows loyalty right there. Unless.. is it Watson's mom? Does he even have a mom anymore?

So many questions!!

Also, even though it was a short post I still totally loved it. Dont stop!

Lori said...

I thought it was his former mother in law. I couldn't believe she just goes into the house.

Sadako said...

Do we ever see Karen's other grandma? Weird.

And man, I thought the worst thing Karen ever did was screaming at Morbidda Destiny--er, Mrs. Porter for coming over to the wedding reception in Kristy's Big Day. I'd be so mortified if my kid went to someone's house and accused them of being a witch.

Molly said...

They were always giving excuses for why Karen wasn't in trouble, and it pisses me off. No wonder she's such a little twat.

Unknown said...

i totally wanted karen's grandmother to go to watson's and scold at him for abandonning karen and basically being a sucky dad. I mean what kind of parent lets their kid continue to spy and call their neighbors a witch.

i never liked karen that much because she hardly ever gets into trouble, watson and elizabeth never punish her, and she's awful to her friends and family, in particular hannie and andrew.
i hate karen.

metamorphstorm said...

I've never read this one, but now I really want to. I can't believe she barges into the neighbor's meeting and says all that!

(I can believe she doesn't actually get into trouble. It'd be so much better if her parents marched her back to Mrs. Porter's house and made her apologize to everyone.)

Of course, then, I guess everyone would be looking at her and she'd feel all special (and maybe scared, since nothing will convince her Porter's not a witch) and she still won't learn anything.

Anne said...

Sorry for the short (and late) post this week.

I think your recap was longer than the book. I just love your blog!

Haids said...

I'm dying laughing. I TOTALLY remember Hannie standing there crying! What a little wuss! :-D

Haids said...

Oh, by the way--I also had a dream about a Karen book once. I dreamt that it was called "Karen Grows Up" and the cover had her stashing tampons under the sink.