Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“My IQ is just fine, thank you very much.”…….BSC # 101: Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout

Memory Reaction

I didn’t read this as a kid, but I wish I did. I would have loved finding inconsistencies.

Revisited Reaction

So, this book’s all about Claudia being an idiot. It’s October, close to the beginning of the school year, but Claud’s already behind in all her subjects. She’s frustrated because she truly doesn’t understand a lot of things she’s learning. Her parents get her a tutor and she promises to work really hard, but she still struggles. So, the school decides she should go back to seventh grade. The hope is that if she has time to re-learn everything from last year, she may actually be able to remember it and then succeed in eighth grade next year.

Claudia’s understandably upset about this. But she does notice that when she’s back in seventh-grade classes, she does understand what she’s learning. She also notices that a lot of the seventh-graders look up to her, watch her in the hallways, imitate her clothes, etc. I guess because they think she’s cool for being a year older? Regardless, she starts to feel a little better about the situation. She’s also taking an art class at the community college, taught be a semi-famous artist. She had to apply to get in, and is the youngest student, so it’s a bit of an ego boost for her.

Then she finds out that she isn’t allowed to go to the school’s Halloween dace – it’s for eighth grader only. She’s depressed about it for a while, and doesn’t even bother to tell her family that her work’s in an art show. Then, she finds out she won first prize in the show. She’s still upset about the school thing, however, she talks to the art teacher, who tells her she had to repeat two grades when she was in school. So, Claudia starts to feel better, and she tells her family/friends about the art show.

Meanwhile, Jackie Rodowsky gets out of the hospital after his accident in the previous book. We get a lesson in charity, cause all the kids decide to give half their Halloween candy to kids in the hospital, and they throw a party for them. Then probably forget all about them.


We start with an outfit, but we only get to hear part of the description (Stacey interrupts it). This is unfortunate, cause it sounds like it would have been a doozy – “Tie-dye leggings, black overall shorts, red high-tops and…” Any guesses? I’m thinking something plaid, stripped, or some other pattern that looks horrible with tie-dyed.

Claudia complains that no one told her she was going to need to know what she learned last year to learn new material. My question is, how did she not know that? Especially in math, where everything is built on basic skills you have learned in the past?

I can’t totally blame Claudia for not remembering though. I mean, she hasn’t been in seventh-grade for about 95 books. That’s gotta be about ten-years, right?

The BSC keeps talking about how school’s so much different “this year” and that the teachers are expecting more from them, but also letting them be more independent. It wouldn’t bother me, except they have been in eighth grade forever. So, it rings a bit false to hear about things being different, when they weren’t different the other twelve times that started eighth grade.

The BSC organizes a “hospital buddies” thing to be nice to kids stuck in the hospital. But I feel like they already did this at one point. Maybe the one where Danielle was first introduced? If so, does that mean that they just stopped their previous charity work?

At Claud’s first art class, she wears “a black sweatshirt with the neck cut out of it, black jeans…and [her] purple high-tops with orange laces.” It’s the orange shoelaces that kill the outfit for me.

We have no reached a point where only one sitter’s required at the Pikes. Apparently the triplets are mature enough to be a “second sitter.”

So, Claudia even tells us the outfit Stacey was wearing in her dream. She wore “a short plaid kilt, a white baby-T, black tights, and black, chunky-heeled shoes.” That actually sounds okay, and definitely in style for when the book first came out.

Claud’s tutor is actually a friend of Janine, but apparently she’s not just a “brainy nerd” because she knows how to dress.

I have a hard time believing that the 7th graders would be so into following Claudia around. Even if they think she’s “cool,” I think there would still be some kind of stigma about her being left back.

Claudia says Rosa, her tutor, taught her the trick of skipping the questions she didn’t know and coming back to them at the end. But, Janine taught her this back when she was accused of cheating. I guess it’s just another thing Claudia forgot.

Claudia’s teacher has the kids switch papers to grade each others’ quizzes. Then he records the grades in his gradebook, based on what the students show him walking out of class. But wouldn’t he also want to keep the quizzes (to make sure the kids were honest when grading)?

Okay, so the whole eighth-grade dance thing annoys me. Has there ever been a dance that Mal and Jessi weren’t also able to attend? And didn’t the girls go to dances in the first few books when they were in seventh grade? There was never any mention of the lower grades having an “afternoon party” complete with bobbing for apples and other “kid” games. It was a dance for the whole school.

I’m not sure why Claudia keeps saying she’s so mature. Her wardrobe? Because dressing cool doesn’t make a person mature. And neither does dressing like a crazy person. But I can’t really think of anything that makes her especially mature, and I don’t think the year between 12 and 13 makes a huge difference in terms of maturity.

I guess this book came out when the movie Pocahontas did, cause that’s what Margo and Claire are fighting about dressing up as for Halloween.

Cokie Mason dresses up as a Barbie on Halloween. This sounds like she’s asking to be mocked. When I was in middle school Barbie was considered very babyish not cool or pretty.

Claudia says that Mal and Jessi collected a few treats while the three of them took a bunch of kids trick-or-treating. Which sounds realistic for eleven-year-olds, but completely inconsistent with what we’ve seen Mal and Jessi do in all the past Halloween books.

Claudia says Halloween’s a holiday for “kids,” then immediately follows by saying, “Who over the age of ten gets excited about it?” Cause once you pass ten you’re an adult?

To go to her art show, Claudia wears, “a long black jumper with red embroidery around the neckline…over a white turtleneck…[and] a pair of red dangly earrings.” I kind of think it sounds like something Mallory would wear, which makes sense, since Claudia said it was the first time she didn’t care how she looked.

Is Claudia really SO talented as an artist, that her teacher can’t stop praising her work, and that an adult in the class tells Claudia she’s been trying to reach her level for 15 years? Can’t they just make her a good artist, without having her be some kind of prodigy?

One thing I like about the Halloween books is hearing the costumes everyone wears. Claudia picks a scarecrow (for the kid’s party, she would have gone to the dance as a “punk”). Meanwhile, Stacey goes as a flapper, Mary Anne and Kristy go as Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and Abby goes as a soccer player, which is boring since she already is a soccer player. Mallory goes as Emily Dickinson, and Jessi goes as the Sugar Plum Fairy, which is almost as boring as Abby’s, but not quite.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

“Was I ever wrong about not having a mystery on board!”…..BSC Mystery # 30: Kristy and the Mystery Train

Memory Reaction

Yet another one I missed as a kid. But if I had read it, I’m sure I would have found the plot unbelievable, no matter how old I was.

Revisited Reaction

Derek Masters has a new movie coming out, so it’s only logical that he needs a baby-sitter. The movie’s about a murder that takes place on a train, and to promote it, the studio has organized a replica of the train to travel from Boston to Charleston, SC for the premiere. There are stops planned in different cities for reporters to ask questions and watch reenactments of key movie scenes. Derek gets to invite friends with him, because who wouldn’t want a bunch of eight-year-olds hanging around at a media event like this? Meanwhile, Mrs. Masters can’t go and Mr. Masters is an Executive Producer (who will therefore be busy), so they want three BSC members to go along. Kristy, Abby, and Stacey are the lucky ones, and they’ll be watching Derek, his CA friend Greg, Nicky Pike, Buddy Barrett, David Michael, James Hobart, Linny Papdakis, and Derek’s little brother Todd plus his friend Daniel.

Anyway, the first day on the train everyone finds a threatening-type note in their programs saying “the truth will come out.” Later, a smoke bomb goes off in Derek and the BSC’s compartment. Everyone’s fine, but the “mysterious” events don’t end there. Kristy and Stacey are at the back of the train and witness two men fighting in the dark. It ends with what looks like a guy being thrown overboard. They tell the conductor, and a search of the train’s done, but no one’s missing and everyone thinks that Stacey and Kristy made it up. Of course, the girls decide to “investigate” and they eventually realize that Mr. Pierce (Daniel’s father and the film’s writer) had lied about where he was during the man overboard scene. They think he’s behind everything, but that’s not quite it.

It turns out that Mr. Pierce is a teacher, and he based the film’s script on a script an one an old student had submitted to him. So, the student went crazy and tried to make him look like a murderer. There’s this whole ridiculous show-down scene where Kristy saves Daniel by locking him into a bathroom. It’s ridiculous. But the real villain gets caught, the crazy guy gets half credit for the script, and the idea-stealer’s supposedly still going to teach, but not write any more.

Subplot: The rest of the BSC is spending the weekend helping at the summer-opening weekend at Greenbook Country Club. There are lots of kids there having fun in the pool, but Stephen (The owner’s son) keeps trying to avoid going in. Eventually, he admits to Jessi that he can’t swim, and she gives him lessons. By the time they have an evening pool party, Stephen’s fine in the water, and everyone has a blast.


  • I was pleased to see Kristy refer to Emily Michelle as her sister (and not her “adopted sister” like she usually does). But then later in the paragraph she adds “she was adopted” in parentheses. I feel like saying that every time makes Emily seem like she’s second-class or something.
  • Kristy says that if people have something important to do (like baby-sitting) they can skip meetings….but that seems inconsistent with everything we know about Kristy and BSC meetings.
  • Claudia: “She was in bright mode: red shorts, a purple crop top over a longer red-and-white-striped muscle shirt, purple socks, and red high-tops laced with red-and-white striped shoelaces. Her hair was pulled up to one side with a know of red and purple scrunchies, and her earrings were shiny red apples.”
  • Kristy looks hideous on the cover.
  • When the girls go to Boston for the start of the train ride, they talk about how Mallory would have liked to see Louisa May Alcott’s house. Which I guess is true, but isn’t Mary Anne the big Little Women fan?
  • When talking about past dealings with Derek Masters, Mallory’s all, yup, all the details on “Kristy and the Vampires Mystery” are right here in the mystery notebook. I guess that’s supposed to imply that the book we all read was almost entirely an entry?
  • Stacey calls Boston a “nice little town.” Because according to Stacey, nowhere but NYC is a real city.
  • There’s all this talk that the two leads in the movie are together in real life, but they are sleeping in separate rooms on the train, and in the morning are up at completely different times. I know that doesn’t mean anything, it just seems weird to have them talk about dating, have the woman acknowledge it’s true, then not show them acting as a couple at all. In fact, they barely talk.
  • The idea of a train ride as publicity seems pretty dumb to me. That’s really the best way they could come up with to promote a movie like that?
  • Why didn’t the crazy-guy just sue Mr. Pierce for stealing his idea? It would have been easier than faking his murder. Crazy-guy was also going to wait until the press figured out about the idea-stealing and then come back to bask in the glory by pretending he had amnesia after the “murder.” Cause that makes sense.
  • “Claudia was wearing a huge tie-dyed T-shirt knotted at the waist, and her sandals sported flowers that matched the flower barrette holding back her hair. Her gear was in a funky, bright yellow, plastic mesh tote that was the same shade as the rims of her big, round sunglasses.”
  • There’s this whole subplot about Stacey looking just like the reporter. It ends up being important because when crazy-guy jumped off the train, he saw that she was watching and thought it was the reporter. He somehow thought this would get her to investigate, and find out Mr. Pierce stole the script. But I’m not sure how one thing leads to another.
  • “Mary Anne was wearing a faded green Izod shirt and a baseball cap that read “Ted’s Tools.” Which makes me ask two questions – first, should I know what Izod is, and second, is it sad that I recognize the name Ted’s Tools as the name of the hardware store in downtown Stoneybrook?
  • Jessi “was wearing blue bicycle shorts with a red cutoff T-shirt over a blue sports top and reef-runners.” Reef runners? Again, I have no idea what they are…water shoes maybe?
  • At the country club, Mallory’s wearing all sorts of hats and with extra sun lotion. They all make fun of her and laugh about how it reminds them of Shadow Lake. But that was because of a problem with bug bites…Mary Anne’s the one with the sunburn issues. Mallory was always at the beach in Sea City and never had sunburn issues.
  • At the country club, Jessi, Mal, Mary Anne, and Claudia are acting as counselors to the kids whose families are there. This includes Ben Hobart, who’s Mal’s age, but seems to be lumped in with the kids in this book. I wouldn’t have a problem if he was just hanging out with his siblings and the BSC, but they have him taking part in the kid’s cannon ball contest and making fake barfing noises to gross out some of the girls. It seems really weird, especially since Mallory’s around.
  • The kids at the country club play “Old Bachelor” instead of Old Maid. Is that a known version of the game, or just a splash of feminism the ghostwriters inserted?
  • Jessi can tell that Stephen has had swim lessons before, but he still seemed to struggle. Apparently, he just needed BSC magic to solve the problem.
  • Ann Martin and/or the ghostwriters don’t have a great view of movie stars, do they? This is the second one where she has the “heartthrob” being a pompous jerk.
  • So, the end of this book’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Kristy’s trying to protect Daniel while Mr. Pierce knocks crazy-guy down in the hallway. Then Kristy says she sees (or thinks she sees) Abby and Stacey “piling on.” So are we supposed to think that Stacey and Abby were actually physically fighting crazy-guy? Or that Kristy was seeing things? Cause the former’s just to silly to even respond to.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

“Nothing like this has ever happened in this building before”……BSC Little Sister #99: Karen’s Big City Mystery

Memory Reaction

I didn’t read this as a kid. I think I only made it to book 20 or so, and didn’t even read all of those. But I do remember being amazed sometimes when I went to the bookstore and realized there were so many Little Sister books. I found them so much less interesting than the regular series and couldn’t believe people were still buying them.

Revisited Reaction

The good news: Karen’s leaving Stoneybrook for a month. The bad news: this is a little sister book so we’re going with her. She’s heading to Chicago for a month to live with her “little house” family.

There’s a break-in in Karen’s apartment building and some “valuable” paintings are stolen from one of the residents. Karen’s all excited about it and wants to solve the crime. She wanders all over the building looking for clues, and even manages to interview a couple neighbors. While doing this she keeps running into Matt, the grandson of the victim, and thinks he’s “suspicious”(despite only being seven). But eventually, she realizes that she’s been running into him because he’s also playing detective. They decide to join forces, and Matt introduces Karen to his grandmother, Mrs. Arthur. She tells Karen the paintings were a gift from an old boyfriend and shows Karen a picture of the guy. Karen thinks he looks familiar, but doesn’t figure out why until she sees Fred, a deliveryman, walking into the basement of the building.

They tell Mrs. Arthur, who tells the doorman, and they all go downstairs to confront Fred. In addition to being the thief, Fred turns out to be the son of Mrs. Arthur’s old boyfriend. He also has the dumbest motive ever. It takes ages to explain because it is so stupid there’s no way to summarize it. Basically, his mother died, his father got “too sad to work” and lost all his money. When the father died, Fred and his brother changed their names to hide from bill collectors. They knew their father had given someone paintings and described them, and then when he was making a delivery, he happened to notice the paintings and came back later to take them. He realized he didn’t know what to do with them after that, and wanted to return them, but didn’t know how to do that either. The grandmother decides she doesn’t want to press charges, and while the cops still bring him in, he gets off pretty easy.

Then Karen has a “calm” stay for the rest of her time in Chicago.

  • I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it is fitting that Karen recognizes that Fred is the son of the guy in Mrs. Arthur’s picture, because in the mystery where she and Kristy are stuck in an old house, she recognizes that the woman in a picture was someone who had a store in Stoneybrook.
  • While “investigating” Karen hides by the mailboxes and jumps out and takes a picture of everyone who comes to check the mail. How does she get away with that? I would think the doorman would say something to Karen’s mom about how she should keep her daughter from annoying the crap out of everyone.
  • When Karen asks the doorman about the theft, he says that he didn’t see anything, but that he’s sure the police will figure it out. Now, maybe he was just saying that cause he was talking to a kid, but normally police wouldn’t solve a small break-in like that.
  • Karen can really be very bratty. Matt was using a tape recorder to tape his notes as he “investigated.” And when he drops it she grabs it and runs to her apartment to listen.
  • Here’s a sign of the times….Karen took pictures the day of the break-in, but she can’t look at them, or show them to Matt because the film hasn’t been developed.
  • Isn’t Karen supposed to be smart? Cause after she steals the tape from Matt, she needs to listen to a lot of it to figure out he’s playing detective too. Even when he talks about having suspects, she’s not sure what it means.
  • I’ll give Karen some slack about believing a seven-year-old could be responsible for the break-in because she’s a little kid too.
  • If I think it’s unrealistic for 13-year-olds to solve crimes, then clearly I think it’s beyond ridiculous for a seven-year-old to do it. But at least Karen tells an adult before trying to confront the culprit.
  • So, Karen’s little-house family moved to Chicago for six-months, and she was originally going with them. But does that really make sense? It seems really disruptive to have a seven-year-old switch to a new school that likely has a different curriculum for such a short time. Especially since her father has joint-custody of her and lives in Stoneybrook.
  • Fred says he changed his name to hide from bill collectors. Is that supposed to make him sympathetic? Even if it was debt from his father, I just don’t feel bad for him for it.
  • I think we’re also supposed to be sorry for Fred’s father too. But honestly, his wife dies and he’s too sad to work for the rest of his life? I’m sympathetic to his loss, but that excuse can only last so long.
  • There is this backstory about how Mrs. Arthur was once an actress, and it seems to be a set up for the end, when she lies to Fred about having called the police (which ends up delaying him from running off before someone else DOES call the cops). I guess one would need acting training to pull off a huge con like that?
  • I don’t quite understand how these paintings were “valuable.” Mrs. Arthur’s old boyfriend was an actor who stopped working years ago. So, he’s not famous or anything. How are some random paintings he did so valuable? Granted, Mrs. Arthur says they weren’t the most valuable things in the apartment, but she says they were valuable.
  • Karen informs us that when she found out the guy next to her on the plane had been on a business trip to NYC, she started telling him everything she knew about the city. Amazingly enough, the poor guy had to take a nap soon after.
  • Matt’s grandmother tells Karen that the paintings that were stolen were not as valuable as other paintings in the apartment. Karen looks at these paintings and thinks she could have made a better painting. Is that supposed to be a dig on modern art?
  • Karen says that her father grew up in the “Big-House.” I guess that should have been assumed, since Ben Brewer haunts the attic, but I don’t remember any other direct confirmation of it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

“Me, the worst speller on the planet, work for the school newspaper?”…..BSC # 71: Claudia and the Perfect Boy

Memory Reaction

When I first read this book, I thought it was the most unrealistic thing ever. It had middle-school students placing personal ads and going on dates like they’re adults. I didn’t believe it would happen in an actual middle school, without it turning into an outlet for ridicule.

Now, today, I have multiple friends who have gotten engaged/married to someone they met on match.com. However, when this book came out, there was no Internet. It was much less socially acceptable to place personal ads. So, having 13-year-olds do it with no issue is ridiculous. And it certainly wouldn’t become the most popular thing in a school. Even if some kids were willing to do this, I’m sure there would be others who laughed at them or used it to play tricks on certain kids. I’m don’t know what it would be like in a middle school today, but back then, it was ridiculous. There’s really no other word for it.

Revisited Reaction

This book takes place right after Stacey met Robert, so it makes sense that Claudia suddenly feels bad about not having a boyfriend. She and Stacey are talking about it while reading magazines, and notice some personal ads. Claudia ends up asking Emily Bernstein (editor of the SMS paper) if they can add a personals section for kids to the school paper. Emily says yes, the rest of the newspaper board agrees, and Claudia’s placed in charge.

The personals column becomes a major hit. Claudia also adds a “suggestions” section, where she notes if two people placing ads would actually be a good match for each other. However, while Claudia’s being a great matchmaker for all her classmates, she doesn’t have any luck finding a guy of her own…the guys placing ads sound great on paper, but in actuality kind of suck. She tries placing an ad of her own, and has equally bad luck. She finally gets one letter that seems promising, but the person didn’t provide his real name or any contact info. Eventually, Stacey admits that she wrote the letter to try and make Claudia feel better, but realized it was making things worse. So, Claudia doesn’t end up with a boyfriend, but decides that she’s not quite as upset about it, since she still has her friends and gained a new talent/hobby in working on the column.

The subplot focuses on the Barretts. It seems that Marnie’s allergic to dogs, which means they need to get rid of Pow, the family pet. Buddy and Suzi are all upset about it, as one would expect. But eventually, the Pikes agree to take the dog in, which means the Barrett kids can still visit.

  • Claudia outfit: “Pink socks with gold stretch pants, and then…a gold turtle neck with a pink sweater and…blue jewelry.” She thought she looked like a “human sunset.”
  • When the BSC hears that Marnie’s going to the allergist, they wonder if Mrs. Barrett could be forgetting that Marnie’s allergic to chocolate. Do they really think that little of her? Forgetting to leave a phone number of where you’ll be is quite different than forgetting your child’s allergy.
  • Right after the news goes out that there’s going to be a personals section, Claudia starts getting letters for it. One of the first ones is from a guy upset about his parents divorce, saying he wants to talk to other kids with the same problem. Even in a world where middle-schoolers place personal ads, it seems a bit unrealistic that a kid would do that.
  • Claudia wonders if she should tell said kid to talk to a therapist. I feel like that’s a PSA the ghostwriters wanted to add in, starting about midpoint of the series. Like someone suddenly decided kids needed to know it was okay to see a therapist.
  • I think Claudia does mention doing this personals column in at least one other book, but it definitely doesn’t get mentioned much after that. I always hated that…Claudia spends so much time on it in this book, and then never seems to again.
  • Claudia loves spell check, as you would expect. But her misspellings are SO bad, I’m surprised it even knows what she means. I tested some of her misspellings in Word, and it didn’t come up with the right suggestion for “butey” (beauty) or “cule” (cool), and those are pretty basic words.
  • It seems weird that Emily has so much control over the paper. Yeah, she’s the editor, but this is middle school. There should be some teacher involvement.
  • After she finds out Marnie’s allergic to the dog, Mrs. Barrett removes the rug and all the stuffed animals from her room, to help keep it “dust free.” But, if it’s the dog she’s allergic to, does dust still matter? Pow’s sleeping out in the garage at this point.
  • I don’t think Suzi and Marnie have always shared a room, have they? I remember when Dawn first started sitting for them, and she helped the kids clean their bedrooms….there were three of them. I think they just made that up for this book, so that Suzi could complain about the lack of toys (which she does when Shannon’s baby-sitting her).
  • One of the guys who Claudia meets actually goes to another school, but had Alan Gray (his neighbor) submit the ad. And Claudia’s all, “Well, if he goes to private school, it must be the Paulson School.” But how would she know this? There are other private schools in Stoneybrook.
  • One of Claud’s date outfits is, “A long white shirt under a green tapestry vest, green corduroy pants, and low boots.” That’s pretty tame for a Claudia outfit. In fact, it seems too tame. Especially for a date.
  • Wow, this book’s dated. Claudia has to cut sections of her column at the last minute. And to do so, she literally cuts and pastes the text out of a layout board that’s going to the printer.
  • Mary Anne puts a note for Logan in the personals section, saying “You’re cuddly kitten will love you forever, call the Tig at…” It’s really just there as a way to add drama, because the ad gets switched around with someone else’s, and Logan thinks Mary Anne’s placing an ad for a new guy. But it makes no sense, cause no one else is using the personals for messages like that. Also, why would Logan be reading the personals in the first place?
  • Emily says that they need to start printing more copies of the paper, because before only some students bothered looking at it, and now every kid wants to get a copy. I’m pretty sure in my school they gave one to every student, regardless of who read it. I would think they’d make a point of doing that in most schools.
  • Actually, it was my high school that gave every student a copy. I don’t think we even HAD a paper in my middle school, and we most certainly didn’t have a weekly one. Emily says that they only recently became weekly, but it still seems unbelievable.
  • One of Claudia’s dates has an actual tattoo. He says he was grounded for a month because of it, but it’s the real thing. Now, I suppose he could be lying, but how does a thirteen-year-old get a tattoo without his parents’ permission. Ear piercings are one thing, but tattoos?
  • Claudia makes a list of things she wants for a guy, and at first it seems like she’s being picky…but she really has good reason for turning down the guys she does meet. One guy will only talk about things that are Asian and one doesn’t say a word except to answer her questions. Another turns out to be Alan Gray, who she doesn’t even bother meeting for a date.
  • The Pikes tell Buddy and Suzi that they can come over to see Pow any time, and Mallory just tells them to “call if it’s after midnight.” I’m not sure they should have been quite that generous.
  • It seems like a personals page would be a hit for a couple weeks, then die down. So all the talk about Claudia helping the paper seem premature.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“We may not have found the fortune, but we had done something almost as wonderful”….BSC Mystery # 19: Kristy and the Missing Fortune

Memory Reaction

I was so jealous the BSC in this book. I would have loved to solve mysteries all over town as a kid, but I just didn’t have the opportunity. But the BSC kept falling into them. Then on top of that, we get this book where they get to look for buried treasure. Totally not fair.

I do remember sort of siding with Cokie in this book. Because Kristy keeps thinking she’s related to the woman who’s treasure they’re looking for. But then Cokie shows up all, “she’s actually my ancestor, I should get her treasure.” I remember being amused by it, although I’m not totally sure why.

Revisited Reaction

Kristy and her younger siblings are looking through Watson’s library (he has a library because he lives in a mansion, you know) and come across an old Stoneybrook town record book. In it they find a reference to a Christina Thomas who disappeared in 1863, at age 18. Kristy feels connected to this woman because their names are so similar, and tries to find out what happened to her. She goes to the library to investigate and finds out that when Christina was 16, her parents died in an accident and left her and her siblings a fortune. When Christina disappeared two years later, so did a large amount of her gold, as well as papers documenting the family’s holdings. Kristy tracks down Christina’s Great-Great-Niece Mildred, who’s now a senior citizen, to see if she knows anything about Christina. Mildred tells Kristy that Christina was in love with a Union soldier during the Civil War, and gives her a letter Christina had written him before she left (it was returned to the family when this soldier died). Mildred believes this letter’s a clue to the whereabouts of the money.

Meanwhile, Jessi goes to the town arboretum to ask for advice on taking care of plants (she has a plant-sitting job). She finds out that the town arboretum’s in danger of closing, because no one knows who actually owns the land it sits on, and a developer wants to buy it. Jessi says the BSC and their charges will come help fix it up, to try and convince a potential donor to buy the land for the town.

It turns out that the arboretum actually sits on the land that once belonged to Christina’s family, which brings our two plots together. The BSC becomes convinced they’ll be able to find Christina’s missing gold buried in the arboretum. While looking, they actually make the place look worse by digging holes all over the place and the donor backs out. But the girls come back at night and use the letter from Christina as a map. Then they actually find something, which is beyond ridiculous. There’s no gold, just some papers where Christina bequeaths the land to the town, which means the arboretum’s saved, even though the BSC totally blew it in terms of fixing the place up. And as a sidenote, it also turns out that Mildred’s Cokie Mason’s grandmother, which explains why Cokie had been hanging around listening to the BSC’s conversations.


  • Claudia: “She was wearing this blue-and-green stripey shirt that was kind of tight and stretchy-looking. Over it, she was wearing a really, really, baggy pair of overalls. On her head was a floppy green hat, and on her feet were those big black clunk boots made by Doctor somebody.”
  • Stacey: “Platform shoes with really high cork soles…black lacey legging-things, and a blue dress that looked kind of like these pajamas I used to have when I was seven. Baby dolls, I think they were called.” I can’t picture Kristy in baby-doll pajamas, even at age seven.
  • Karen drops Emily Michelle on the floor when playing, so Kristy puts her in a “time out.” But two minutes later when they all decide to explore the library, she’s allowed to come with them. Some punishment.
  • Kristy’s all worried about the plant-sitting client calling the parents in town to say the BSC members are plant killers. I think that’s a bit over top.
  • Charlotte skipped into the “third grade”? Then why is she eight? I know I’ve said this before, but every book where it’s mentioned it annoys me all over again.
  • The arboretum woman would have given Jessi advice for nothing, but Jessi insists they do it “fairly.” It actually seems less fair to Jessi to spend days helping out, in exchange for some pretty simple advice.
  • What is it with Ann Martin and February? In one of Abby’s mysteries, she’s moaning about how much February sucks because winter’s almost over but it’s not springtime yet….and Kristy does the same thing here. Honestly, I feel like that describes March better than February.
  • Of course, all the kids in Stoneybrook just love the idea of going and fixing up an arboretum with their baby-sitters. No kid would EVER be annoyed at the idea of being forced to do yard work for someone else instead of watching cartoons or playing video games.
  • Kristy goes over to Mildred’s for tea all by herself. Doesn’t that seem a little dangerous? I mean, she doesn’t know anything about this woman.
  • It’s very rare to get a Kristy outfit other than jeans, so I’m including it here, even if it isn’t as much fun as a crazy-Claudia outfit. When meeting Mildred she wore, “A dark-green corduroy skirt…with a white button-down shirt, and a blue sweater.”
  • Mildred says she has “heard” of the BSC….which seems odd considering she has no young children. Cokie’s her granddaughter, which might explain it, except that Mildred has heard GOOD things about the club.
  • Marilyn Arnold’s described as the more outgoing twin, but I’m not sure this is true. Usually, Carolyn’s said to be the trendy/popular one and Marilyn’s the serious musical one.
  • Isn’t Charlotte supposed to be super-smart? Cause she doesn’t know the meaning of the word sabotage, and then can’t even repeat the term five minutes later. I can buy her not knowing what it meant, but I would think she’d at least remember how to say it.
  • On the day that Dawn and Jessi realize the arboretum used to house Christina’s estate, they get so excited that they run off and leave the place a mess. The next day, Mrs. Goldsmith (the curator) yells at them a bit (although we don’t specifically see what she says). It’s pretty rare for something like that to happen, but it’s nice to see a bit of realism.
  • The next day happens to be the day some potential donor’s looking at the place. Now, since this is what the BSC has been fixing the place up for, you would think Mrs. Goldsmith would remind them that it’s happening that day and ask them to clean up quickly. Or that she would have done some work herself earlier in the day, rather than depend on teenagers she doesn’t know very well.
  • How did these girls not know Cokie was Mildred’s granddaughter? They traced the family for multiple generations, but than stopped as soon as they found a still-living person? I would think they’d spend a little bit more time searching to find out about Mildred’s kids. Especially since the research probably got easier as they got closer to the present time.
  • Cokie shows up when the girls go treasure hunting because she overheard the BSC talking about it. Those girls never seem to learn about that. This isn’t the first time Cokie has caused problems for them because she overheard a conversation.
  • Kristy also tells us that Cokie once tried to steal Logan from Mary Anne. Which, I guess she did early in the series. But, Kristy specifically described Cokie trying to steal Logan when he and Mary Anne were temporarily broken up. And that’s not really a fair statement, cause if someone’s broken up, they can’t be stolen.
  • When they go on their little treasure hunt, Claudia and Stacey put together theme-outfits (again). I kind of wish I had a treasure hunt to go on so I could do that.
  • Claudia: “Was wearing black jeans, short black cowboy boots, and a black suede jacket with fringe along the back and arms and silver buttons that looked like those old Indian-head nickels.”
  • Stacey: “Was wearing black leggings, black high-top sneakers, and a long, bulky dark green sweater. She had hidden her blonde hair beneath a dark green wool baseball cap.”
  • I actually feel a little sorry for Cokie. I know she’s a bitch, but Mildred gives a locket that was dug up with the “treasure” to Kristy, who she barely knows, over Cokie, her granddaughter. That doesn’t seem right.
  • Of course the papers the girls found ended up saving the arboretum. Because we couldn’t have had a scenario where the BSC screwed up and did something bad that they weren’t able to instantly fix.
  • There’s a big fancy party at the end to celebrate the arboretum being saved, but we hardly get any outfits out of it. Just that Claudia wore a tuxedo (which she’s done before).
  • The locket they find with the treasure has a picture of a girl (Christina) who looks just like Kristy. I’m not sure where they are going with it….earlier in the book, Kristy wonders if she could be related to Christina, but acknowledges that Thomas is a common last name. Then, when they track down Mildred, it seems to put an end to the relative-speculation. But the picture suggests there’s really a connection.
  • The problem with the plants (since I’m sure you’re all wondering) was that Jessi was over-watering them. But since the owner had left multiple pages of instructions, I would think Jessi would have known how much to water them. This isn’t Claudia were talking about.
  • How likely is it that Kristy would be able to read copies of newspapers from 1861?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

“It’s lily-livered and chicken-hearted! Check your script”…..BSC Mystery # 8: Jessi and the Jewel Thieves

Memory Reaction

I was really glad when I tracked down a copy of this book, because it’s one I have a lot of memories about. The first is that it has a totally unoriginal plot – two people think they overhear criminals plotting something, only to find out later they were actors (or something similar). Now, when I was younger, I didn’t know it was unoriginal. But then I went through a phase of watching old TV shows, and saw this exact plot on episodes of both I Love Lucy and Three’s Company (and possibly others). Both of these shows were on before the BSC existed, but I hadn’t seen them before I first read this book. So, when I saw those particular episodes, I thought, “hey, that’s just like the Jessi Mystery!”

The other thing that stands out in my mind’s that Stacey explains to Jessi how to take a cab and how much you’re expected to tip. She tells her a trick for figuring out 15% is to take ten percent and add half. For the longest time I thought of that every time I was in a restaurant figuring out tips.

Revisited Reaction

Jessi’s friend Quint is in some big ballet performance in NY, and he invited her to come see it. She’s staying with Stacey, who’s visiting her dad for the weekend. On Friday night, Jessi’s at Quint’s apartment for dinner and they’re hanging out by an open window that looks out on the building next-door. They overhear two men arguing about stealing some jewels. Then, because open windows go both ways, the thieves hear Quint’s mother calling out their names. This makes Jessi and Quint worry that the thieves will stalk them to get them to stay quiet (or something), but they also think the police will laugh at them if they report it. So, they decide to “search for evidence.”

The next morning, Jessi’s back at Quint’s and they overhear the same two men (Frank and Red) talking, and then see them leaving the building. So, of course Jessi and Quint follow them. They trail the “thieves” all over the city, but never find any evidence, or even information, about where/when this jewel heist’s going to take place. They lose Frank and Red in the afternoon, but later that night Jessi sees them in the audience at Quint’s ballet. This freaks her out, because she’s sure she and Quint are being followed.

Jessi and Quint decide to follow Frank and Red again on Sunday. However, they lose them, because the thieves go in some fancy jewelry store that kicks Jessi and Quint out. But back at Quint’s, they see Frank and Red return to their apartment pretty quickly. Jessi and Quint overhear their argument, which is pretty much word for word the argument they had the other night…and is the biggest hint that these guys aren’t real criminals. But, the ghostwriter wanted to spell it out, so then we hear Frank flub his line. Red laughs, they mention scripts, and Jessi and Quint realize the two are actors. Their immediate reaction’s to crack up, and I really like that they don’t mind laughing at themselves.

Now, this whole time, Jessi has been a little worried about talking to Quint. See, she’s decided that she isn’t ready for a serious boyfriend, let alone a long-distance one. She wanted to tell Quint that they should just be friends. She manages to do this at the end and he agrees. And then I think we go awhile without hearing from him again.

Not even worthy of being a subplot: Jessi’s parents and Aunt Cecilia are out of town this same weekend (for a wedding), so Becca gets stuck staying at the Pikes. She’s miserable at first, but Mary Anne gets her to feel better. Dramatic stuff, huh?


  • At the BSC meeting, the girls are talking about their sitting jobs at the Pike house on the upcoming weekend. On Sunday, there’s only one sitter needed, because as Mal said, “My parents are taking us older kids to a concert.” Which sounds like a really weird way to phrase things. Why not, “My parents are taking me, Vanessa, and the triplets to a concert”?
  • Jessi tells us that she and Stacey have to miss a BSC meeting on Friday because they’re taking a 4:30 train to NYC. But then at the train station, they board a 5:05 train.
  • Jessi thinks the cab driver will appreciate her kindness at giving a dollar tip instead of 90 cents. As he should….I mean, with ten extra cents you can buy, what? A piece of gum? That’s a big deal.
  • Jessi and Quint lose Frank and Red at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, because they see a sign saying “Pay what you wish, but you must pay something,” and realize they don’t have any extra money. But couldn’t they theoretically pay a really small amount? I mean between the two of them they should have been able to come up with a few coins at least.
  • The cover of the book has the teaser line that, “They don’t have criminals like these in Stoneybrook.” Which is true. In Stoneybrook they have worse criminals.
  • Two chapters are devoted to sitting jobs at the Pikes, one on Saturday (by Mallory and Mary Anne) and one on Sunday (just Claudia). Only at the beginning of the Saturday chapter, the notebook entry’s dated Sunday and is in Claud’s handwriting. In front of the Sunday chapter, the notebook entry’s dated Saturday, and is in Mary Anne’s handwriting. That’s probably something I wouldn’t have noticed as a kid, because I often skipped those notebook pages.
  • I’m trying to figure out the relationship between Frank and Red, and what type of show they are in. They seem to live together, and spend pretty much the whole weekend together either rehearsing or going to the Central Park, art museums, jewelry stores, and the ballet.
  • Byron gets Becca to try pancakes with ketchup on them. What’s with the Pike’s and horrible food combinations?
  • The entire BSC comes to the train station to welcome Jessi and Stacey home. When they were gone two days. That seems like overkill.
  • At Claudia’s sitting job for the Pikes, she wants to do something special with the kids. So she decides on an art project where they “make dragons.” Which seems really random. But, the kids get into it and make a bunch of cardboard creatures with yarn, paint, and other stuff.
  • Jessi keeps referring to Quint as the first boy she ever kissed. But isn’t he also the only boy she’s kissed? I would think that’s how she’d phrase it.
  • Mr. McGill says he wants to take Stacey, Jessi, and Quint out to lunch – his treat. Stacey tells Jessi to pick the place, and Jessi picks the Palm Court, the restaurant in the Plaza. Now, I’m just speculating here, but that’s likely an expensive place, right? Isn’t it kind of rude to pick something like that when the other person’s paying?
  • When Mary Anne’s sitting at the Pikes, Becca tries to “run away” so she can sleep in her backyard. She asks Mary Anne to come with her, so Dawn comes to the Pikes to be the second sitter (with Mal). I wonder if she got paid for this. Is it weird that that’s the first thing I thought of?
  • Stacey laughs (but not in a mean way) when Jessi asks she can read the comics in the New York Times. Because no one in NY would ever read a comic strip. Everyone in that city’s sophisticated and only reads serious stuff. Even thirteen-year-olds.
  • I must be getting old, because when Jessi and Quint complain about getting kicked out of the jewelry store, I just feel like I agreed with the store. Who wants eleven-year-olds with no intention of making a purchase hang out in their store?
  • Jessi and Quint want to follow the thieves, so when they get in a cab, Jessi jumps into another one and says, “Follow that cab.” She says she always wanted to do that, which I guess I can understand. The cab driver goes along with it cause he thinks they are just kids playing a game. I wonder what would happen if someone did that as an adult.
  • Jessi’s worried about telling Stacey about the thieves, cause she thinks Stacey will worry about her. But when she finally tells her, Stacey’s excited, because as Jessi says, “everyone in the BSC loves mysteries.” This line sounds really familiar, and I’m starting to think it’s included in almost every mystery book.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

“I’m just saying that he was acting like a man with a secret”…….BSC Mystery # 31: Mary Anne and the Music Box Mystery

Memory Reaction

Sorry, but this is another that I didn’t get to as a kid. So, no memory.

Revisited Reaction

Dawn’s grandparents (who Mary Anne now calls Granny and Pop-Pop) are away on a cruise for their anniversary when their basement floods. It causes a bunch of damage, so Mary Anne and some of the other BSC members help Sharon clean up. While doing this, Mary Anne finds an old music box hidden in the wall that’s wrapped in a note saying “do not open or you will be cursed.” Mary Anne asks Granny about it over the phone, but Granny says it isn’t hers, then claims they have a bad connection and hangs up. So you know it really IS hers, although Mary Anne doesn’t realize this. Mary Anne doesn’t tell the BSC members about the box until bit later, but when she does, they open it and find a picture of a sailor and a note that reveals the guy who gave the girl the box was leaving for someplace far away.

Meanwhile, Sharon hires a plumber who happens to have grown up in the house across the street from Granny and Pop-Pop. Mary Anne also finds out that Granny grew up in the house next to where she lives now, and is still friends with someone who lived on the same street. Mary Anne decides that the plumber’s acting “weird,” basically because she sees him looking in an old desk that’s nowhere near any pipes. After the plumber mentions needing to dig in the yard to fix some pipe/draining problem, Mary Anne decides that two friends of her grandparents are acting weird as well.

Sharon and Mary Anne also find a bunch of old letters in the basement, and Mary Anne reads some that Granny had written as a teenage girl. She finds out that Lydia, a girl who grew up in Granny’s current house, had been in love with a boy her father didn’t approve of. Mary Anne thinks the music box must have been a gift for the girl, who hid it from her disapproving parents. I guess she also thinks Lydia never bothered to retrieve the box after she turned 18/moved or whatever. Which I think makes it a little less romantic. But whatever.

Also, from the letters, Mary Anne finds out that Lydia’s father embezzled money from the bank he worked at. It was never found, and neighborhood legend says that it was buried in the yard. So, the BSC figures out that everyone’s acting weird because they thought someone would find the money. Finally, the plumber’s father shows up and just starts to dig himself, with everyone watching. They find a box with old papers but no money. And that’s the end of that.

Everyone’s a little disappointed, especially Mary Anne. But she isn’t disappointed about not finding the money, she’s upset about not finding out who owned the music box. Later, Mary Anne goes to borrow some jewelry from Sharon and sees a bracelet that was in the photo in the music box. From this she realizes the music box must have really belonged to Granny (who had given Sharon the bracelet). Granny admits this and tells Mary Anne about the guy who gave it to her (her first love who died in the war). She’d never told anyone before, and Mary Anne promises to keep her secret.

Subplot: The Barrett/DeWitt’s are almost done with the addition to the house, even though they started it like thirty books ago. Coincidentally, the contractor at the Barrett place also helps out at Granny and Pop-Pop’s, so the BSC uses sitting jobs to spy on him. But it turns out he’s just a nice guy, and he helps the kids build a playhouse.

  • I don’t know why everyone was so excited about the idea of digging up money. It was on Granny and Pop-Pop’s land, so random people couldn’t have just claimed it. Also, it was STOLEN money. Wouldn’t they have had to notify the authorities?
  • Although if everyone knew the story about money being buried, you’d think they would have tried to find it years ago. Granny would know about the stories.
  • Suppose Lydia’s father did bury the money he stole to keep the cops from finding it….wouldn’t he have found time to retrieve it at some point in the next 50-some years? I mean, what’s the point of embezzling money if you’re not going to spend any?
  • The recap of this book makes it seem convoluted, but it really was kind of boring. There wasn’t much of a mystery.
  • I was hoping to find out that all the “old” people had killed someone in the past and buried him in Granny and Pop-Pop’s yard. Then we could have had a book called, “Mary Anne and the Prison Visit,” where she goes to visit them.
  • The letters Mary Anne reads say that little-girl Granny saw Lydia (the girl who used to live in her house) and her boyfriend burying something in the middle of the night. But I don’t think a teenage girl was burying her father’s papers. So…that part really makes no sense.
  • The music box got hidden in the basement because when Granny and Pop-Pop moved in she stuck it down there.
  • Oh, so the note about the music box being cursed was just something random that Young-Granny wrote to prevent other people from opening the box.
  • One of the more interesting parts in this book, is that Mary Anne keeps having vivid dreams about a young sailor. Then, when the BSC opens the box, she sees that the guy in the picture is the same person she’s been dreaming about. I was expecting to find out that the guy was a young Pop-Pop, which would explain how Mary Anne could picture his face. But it isn’t, and we get no other explanation for the dream.
  • I’m glad Mary Anne ignored the curse warning and opened the music box. It shows growth from her previous experience.
  • Does anyone else find it annoying and unrealistic that the BSC is always correcting kids’ grammar?
  • Sharon and Mary Anne find a bunch of board games in Granny and Pop-Pop’s basement and laugh at the idea of them playing Clue and other games. But what’s wrong with senior citizens playing board games?
  • Did we know Sharon was a Realtor before this book?
  • The music box plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” which turns out to be Young-Granny and her “first love’s” song. They also called each other “Little Star and “How I Wonder.” That seems like an odd choice of song.
  • Claudia and Stacey were sitting for the Barrett/DeWitt kids while they were building the playhouse, so they decide to dress for the occasion….
  • “Claudia had on her favorite painter’s pants. They used to be white, but…now [they’re] splattered with paint in every color of the rainbow. To complement the pants, Claudia wore a tie-dyed shirt…that features a huge yellow peace sign surrounded by star bursts of orange, red, and purple.” Orange and purple? Ew.
  • “Stacey was wearing a pair of pink denim overall shorts with a white baby T underneath. Purple Doc Martens and a white baseball cap…completed the look.” Now, that sounds cute, at least for a thirteen-year-old.
  • The note in the music box referred to L.S. and H.I.W., and the BSC spends hours researching town records for people with those initials, but don’t find anything, most likely because the letters actually refer to Little Star and How I Wonder.
  • After the BSC finds out about the stolen money, they decide to let the adults hear them talking about finding a box while digging in the yard. But this isn’t really thought out, because the adults ask to SEE the box, and Mary Anne has to say they were just playing a game.
  • Sharon’s throwing a surprise party for Granny and Pop-Pop’s anniversary and the guests are supposed to arrive at 6:00 on a Friday, with the guests of honor showing up at 6:30. But somehow, Mary Anne has time to get home from a BSC meeting, get dressed, borrow jewelry, and put out food, all before anyone gets there.
  • In a totally obvious plot twist, the kids build their playhouse in a shed, and when they finished, found out it’s too big to get through the door. Which I could buy if the kids built the thing themselves. But the contractor was helping them. Shouldn’t the size of the door been the first thing he noticed?
  • Lydia (the girl in the letters) and her boyfriend did get married and are now a nice boring old couple. I’m sure you were concerned.
  • At an anniversary party for Granny and Pop-Pop, Mary Anne opts not to where her yellow-checkered sundress that Logan likes, and to wear her “floaty, flowered skirt” that he thinks makes her look like a hippie instead.
  • This book takes place right after the BSC’s cross-country RV trip. But wasn’t THAT at the end of summer? Because Dawn said she was supposed to stay in Stoneybrook until the end of summer, but left two weeks early to go in the trip. But it’s still summer in this book.
  • Mary Anne says that Sharon knows what people like to eat at a party, even though she’s a vegetarian herself. But this is the opposite of what we saw way back in the first Dawn book. But maybe she learned from that experience.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We may have a new kid to baby-sit for at the Papadakises soon”…….BSC #62: Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever

Memory Reaction

I think this book was the first time I heard of a foster home, and it probably gave me a very unrealistic impression of what they were. I mean they had the Papadakises take in this girl for a few weeks, then she went off to live happily ever after with family, and we never saw another foster kid. There were very few references to the fact that a lot of kids don’t end up with family or that some foster homes are not actually mansions that are regularly visited by the world’s best baby-sitters. (Do the Papadakises live in a mansion? They live across from Watson and next-door to the Delanys, so I guess it’s likely).

Also, I remember how when Lou first arrives, Kristy and David Michael are watching from across the street and can’t tell if she is a boy or a girl, because she had short hair and was wearing baggy non-feminine clothing.

Revisited Reaction

The Papadakises have decided to become a foster family, or at least the BSC version of one. They take in an eight-year-old girl named Lou (Louisa). Her mother has been out of the picture since she was a baby, her father recently died, and she and has now been separated from her brother. Also, her dog ran away and never came back. So, Lou’s got some issues, which make her act out. She talks back, she taunts Hannie and Linny (as well as Karen and David Michael), she traps the cat in a pillowcase, and she just generally puts down anything the BSC or other kids suggest. Kristy dubs her the “worst kid ever.”

After a couple of weeks, Dawn sits for the Papadakises and sends Lou to her room for throwing cookie dough at Hannie. Later, Dawn sees her crying and comforts Lou while she talks about some of the things that have happened to her. This makes Dawn realize that Lou’s actually sad and is mean as a defense mechanism. Which, I kind of thought was a given from the beginning, but I guess a kid might not. Before we find out if the conversation with Dawn made a difference in Lou’s behavior, a social worker shows up and tells Lou that she and her brother are going to live with their (recently found) aunt and uncle. Lou freaks out a bit because she thought her mother was going to turn up. But Kristy talks to Lou and gets her to calm down. She ends up leaving on a positive note and seems legitimately happy, especially since she’ll be with her brother, and her aunt and uncle bought her a puppy.

Subplot: SMS is having an auction to raise money for new computers. It’s supposed to be all student donations, and the BSC tries to come up with something cool to donate. This desire grows stronger when Cokie Mason gets her hands on a certificate for an unlimited 3-minute shopping spree at some music store, and makes that her donation. Cokie keeps going around bragging about it, which pisses off the BSC. Kristy gets the idea to write to celebrities asking for memorabilia to use as donations. The week before the auction, they get all sorts of responses, including a jacket that Cam Geary wore in his latest movie and a baseball signed by every player on the team that “just” won the pennant. So, even though it’s “not a competition,” the BSC pretty much upstage Cokie at the auction.

  • Claudia outfit: “She was wearing purple-and-white-striped tights, Doc Martins…a short black ruffly skirt that looked like it was part of a women’s Olympic figure-skater’s costume, a purple cropped sweater with silver button covers on the black buttons, and a scrunchy black velvet hat decorated with purple and red velvet flowers.” I actually think that sounds like something you could see today.
  • Stacey outfit: “Today she had pulled her blonde permed hair back into a complicated braid threaded with green ribbon. The ribbon matched her shoes. She was wearing silver Capri pants, and oversized shirt with a green belt, a green checked short skirt, and gold leaf-shaped earrings.” Except for the silver pants with gold earrings, I kind of like it.
  • The BSC’s description of foster families seems a bit white washed. They say that foster kids stay with families until relatives are found or until they are adopted. And that maybe some kids have to stay in foster homes until they are adults.
  • On Lou’s first day she needs to walk back to the car to get her stuff. So, she jumps on the hood of the car, walks up the windshield to the roof, and then does a flip-type thing to slide into the (open) door. I guess this was supposed to show she was a bad-ass, but I think it kind of sounds like fun.
  • Mallory asks if Lou was as bad as the Barretts back when they were the “Impossible Three.” Which really isn’t fair. It was only hard sitting for the Barretts because of Mrs. Barrett. The kids didn’t really act up.
  • I remembered this as soon as I started reading it….Hannie’s home work assignment was all centered around dinosaurs. She had math problems, writing, spelling, and art about them. I remember thinking that it was kind of a cool way to teach/learn, although I’m curious how it was worked into math.
  • Karen and her friends spend the whole book building and decorating a playhouse, and during her freak out, Lou just totally trashes it.
  • On a sitting job Jessi thinks how younger kids admirer older kids or stuff they do, just because they’re older. I just find it funny because I’m pretty sure Jessi and Mallory are both like that themselves.
  • There’s a slightly humorous scene when Kristy’s searching her attic (for auction donations). She’s trying to talk her younger siblings into helping, but Karen’s all, “oh no, the ghost of Ben Brewer will get us.” So, David Michael replies, “I thought Ben haunted his bedroom, is he going to bother us in the attic too?” This causes Kristy to reply that “Ben’s not going to leave his bedroom.” And Andrew took that’s confirmation that there was a ghost somewhere and refused to help. I can just picture that scene so easily.
  • At a sleep-over, the BSC tries Fritos dipped in butterscotch. That sounds extremely disgusting. But, it does give me flashbacks to sleepovers I had at age eleven.
  • Lou really doesn’t seem bad enough to be the worst kid Kristy ever met.
  • When the social worker tells Lou about her aunt and uncle, and Lou flips out, the social worker just turns to Kristy expecting her to calm Lou down. Isn’t a social worker supposed to be trained to deal with situations like that?
  • The social worker “finds” Lou’s father’s brother and his wife, and says they were excited to hear about Lou and her brother. But why did they “just hear” of the kids? Had the uncle just not talk to his brother for ten-years? Did he not know his brother died?
  • At Lou’s good-bye party, Karen starts telling Lou about Morbidda Destiny. So, are we supposed to believe that Karen knew Lou for weeks, and never mentioned the whole witch for a neighbor thing? It’s usually the first thing she tells people.
  • Why would celebrities donate so much stuff for some random middle school? I mean, I’m sure they get requests for much bigger causes than computers for kids in Connecticut.
  • So, of course, most of the celebrity donations match the girls personalities…Mallory gets a blanket worn by the horse that just won the Kentucky Derby and an autographed set of books from some author she likes, Jessi gets toe shows from some ballerina, Mary Anne gets the Cam Geary jacket, etc. The only surprise is that Stacey gets the autographed baseball.
  • I’m not an animal person, so I could be off on this….but who would want a blanket worn by a horse?
  • The BSC members are really very goody-goody aren’t they? They all mail Lou letters before she left, so she’d have them to read when she first arrives at her aunt and uncle’s home. I mean, it’s really nice of them to do that, but I can’t believe that these girls are all so thoughtful about stuff all the time.
  • According to Stacey the highest ticket item at the auction is 24 hours of baby-sitting that the girls donated. We don’t hear the price, but we know it’s over $100, because Cam’s jacket reached that high. Why would someone bid so highly on that? I guess it’s someone’s excuse to make a donation, but it’s just annoying to portray the BSC as being so wonderful that they bring in money like that.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I’ve divided the eighth grade into teams”….BSC Mystery # 20: Mary Anne and the Zoo Mystery

Memory Reaction

I don’t remember the exact resolution to this mystery, but it’s one of those books where one scene stands out vividly in my memory. In this case, it’s when Matt Braddock tries to “talk” to some gorillas in sign language. The BSC had hoped the gorillas would be able to report the culprit (who’s guilty of letting animals out of cages). I know that Matt asks them and the gorillas give a weird answer that doesn’t seem to be remotely useful. But then at the end, someone points out that whatever word the gorillas were signing could have been a clue. However, I don’t think they really know this for sure since no one could really ask the gorilla for clarification.

Revisited Reaction

The eighth-graders at SMS have a new science project where groups of three students observe animals and create a report about them….with no additional research allowed. They set up some kind of partnership with the nearby zoo, so kids can have access to animals. (They can also observe their pets, but most students seem to pick going to the zoo). There are two gorillas from the San Diego Zoo on loan to the zoo, so they get a lot of attention from the students (and the regular zoo customers).

Claudia, Dawn, and Logan are in one group, while poor Mary Anne’s stuck with Alan Gray and Howie Johnson (a friend of Alan’s). Kristy ends up with Stacey, but she’s unhappy about it because this is during the time Stacey had left the club. Because she’s so mature, Kristy decides that she and their other group member should just watch their own dogs and write about them separately. She makes the other group member tell Stacey she needs to find someone else’s dog to observe. Nice.

This leaves us with Claudia, Dawn, Logan, and Mary Anne at the zoo all the time. Alan and Howie are there too, but don’t get as much screen time as the others. The boys are getting competitive, because the group members with the “best” project get extra credit and passes to some water park. Mary Anne feels in the middle and is upset about it, but waits until the book’s almost over to tell Logan. But when she does he’s sensitive about it and says he’ll tone down the competitive stuff. But neither group ends up winning.

But to get to the actual “mystery”……One day, an animal gets let out of its cage. This doesn’t seem like a real mystery, but it’s probably more realistic than when the BSC’s battling counterfeiters. After additional animals are set loose, they girls try to figure out who’s letting them go, but don’t get very far. The suspects are a group of protesters (who think zoos are cruel) and some “weird” couple that wears matching sweatsuits and hangs out at the zoo a lot.

The SMS students all have fake keys to the zoo, that open information kiosks by each animal. Supposedly these look just like the real keys that zoo staff uses on the animal cages, and Mary Anne realizes that her key has been switched with a real one. She thinks Alan had something to do with it, but it turns out it was actually Howie. He admits that he found the real zoo key and accidentally let one of the animals out. However, he didn’t let out the others, so there’s still a culprit to catch. Then Mary Ann and Logan realize that the assistant to the zoo director lied about where he was when one of the animals was released. They tell the zoo director, who sets up a sting operation…and with the help of the BSC the guy gets caught.

The subplot’s about how some shopping center in Stamford has a baby elephant living in a little cage, to promote the place. Animal rights groups are raising money to buy the animal and send him to a habitat where it has more space. The BSC gets their charges involved by making and selling buttons and t-shirts, plus having a walk-a-thon. And of course, by the end they raise a bunch of money and save the elephant.


  • Mary Anne gets screwed in all these group projects. There’s another book where she ends up with Logan (while they are broken up) and Cokie Mason.
  • I knew there was a book where this happened, but I wasn’t sure which one. Kristy sees Stacey baby-sitting for Charlotte and is all, “but you’re not in the BSC. How can you baby sit?” I remember being a bit annoyed at her attitude because it was so ridiculous.
  • SMS always seems to be giving fun/interesting projects to their students, but I kind of wonder about the effectiveness of this one. The kids are supposed to do reports based only on observation, but how much can they really observe by going to the zoo after school and on weekends?
  • Mallory and Jessi seem a bit more forgiving towards Stacey than the other girls, which I guess makes sense. They weren’t quite as involved with the drama as the others, and they sometimes were impressed with the older girls, just for being 13.
  • The girls realize at the last minute they don’t have a way to play music for the elephant walk-a-thon. Jessi’s relieved when someone says Stacey has a good boom box, until Claud reminds her that they’re not speaking to Stacey. So, Jessi calls Becca, then Becca calls Charlotte, than Charlotte calls Stacey to ask about borrowing it. This sounds ridiculous, yet realistic.
  • Stacey lets them use her boom box, but insists on coming to the walk-a-thon and pulling the wagon holding the box. Kristy’s all annoyed, but I think it’s actually nice of Stacey to be willing to help. Of course, I don’t know if she did it because she really cared about the elephant or wanted to annoy Kristy.
  • There’s a scene where Mary Anne accuses Alan of letting the animals out of the cage, and he’s just like, “What the hell are you talking about?” These girls are always trying to be all serious about their detective skills, so it made me laugh that Alan seemed clueless that an investigation was even happening.
  • Alan really needs extra credit in Science, so he gets a book from the library on the Emu (on of the animals they’re observing) to add to his observation. But Mary Anne finds out and at the last minute they switch to another animal so they can do the assignment fairly. It’s so last minute that they can’t pick a zoo animal and have to follow Tigger around for a weekend.
  • I’m not sure why Mary Anne was surprised to find out Alan had used a book for his research. He’s “observing” an Emu, and writes down the bird’s weight, how much food it eats, how it swallows food, and the fact that it uses dirt to get rid of parasites on its body. He CLEARLY didn’t get that from looking at an animal in a cage.
  • Shawna Riverson’s in the group that gets the “best project” prize. The BSC thinks they cheated (because the girls didn’t see how someone could write a 50-page report on observation alone). But no one bothers mentioning that Shawna has cheated before.
  • Of course, the BSC decides to bring their sitting charges along with them to the zoo so they can still baby-sit.
  • The gorilla’s at the zoo know sign language, so Jessi brings Matt Braddock to the zoo to “talk” to them. She has him ask the gorilla who let the animals out of their cages. But a) Isn’t Jessi really good at sign language too? Why didn’t she just sign to them herself? And b) Isn’t it kind of mean to invite Matt to go to the zoo just because you want him to translate for you? I’m sure he enjoyed it, but still.
  • Alan complains about the price of soda at the zoo being one dollar, but that doesn’t seem too expensive to me. It’s not cheap, but it’s not horrible. Alan only had a quarter with him, and he seems surprised that he couldn’t afford one. I can’t imagine a place where that was enough for a soda (even in 1995).
  • There are actually quite a few scenes where people complain about prices of things inside the zoo. I’m not sure if there’s any hidden meaning to that.
  • When Mary Anne sees a picture of the gorillas and says they’re cute, Dawn tells her that she thinks all four-legged creatures are cute. Which may be true, but it’s a bit irrelevant in this context, since gorillas actually have two legs.
  • There’s an exhibit at the zoo where elephants paint “pictures” with their trunks. I don’t know if it’s realistic but it sounds like it would be kind of fun to watch.
  • Of course there are protestors at the zoo (they don’t think animals should be locked up) and of course the girls suspect them of letting the animals go. What’s up with the BSC always suspecting protestors?
  • Oh, and the weird couple with the matching sweats? They are trying to figure how much it would cost some crazy rich guy to build a zoo on his estate in New Hampshire.
  • The director’s assistant’s reason for committing these horrible crimes? He wanted his boss’s job, so he was trying to make her look bad.
  • During the “sting” security people actually dress as gorillas. That seems a bit extreme.
  • Also during this sting, the zoo director wants to make sure someone with a camera’s around to get pictures of the assistant in the act. So, she asks Claudia. Because that’s an appropriate thing for a thirteen-year-old to do.
  • In the backstory chapter, Mary Anne’s talking about the Schafers moving to Connecticut and says “my ten-year-old brother never adjusted….” I know technically he’s her step-brother, but I think this was supposed to be Dawn’s line. Do you think the ghostwriters actually have a template where they just go in and switch who’s saying I?
  • I don’t have much to say about the subplot, but it seems a bit weak. A shopping mall bought an elephant for publicity? How does an elephant promote a shopping mall?
  • How much money would it take to buy an elephant (from the mall) and send it to a habitat? They raise enough with the kids’ efforts plus a donation from a “wealthy benefactor,” but I’m guessing the benefactor paid for the majority of it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

“I know what I’m doing when it comes to detective work”……….BSC Mystery # 17: Dawn and the Halloween Mystery

Memory Reaction

The main thing I remember about this one was that at this point, it was really obvious Dawn had been in California more than the initial six-months. She had left in September/October, experienced a winter AND a summer, and was now experiencing Halloween. The not aging thing didn’t bother me too much, except when they made references to the timeline like this. Interestingly enough, I can’t remember if I wanted Dawn to come back to Stoneybrook or not.

The other thing I remember is how all the kids were not going to be allowed to go trick-or-treating because of a robbery in town. I didn’t understand how something like that could be enforced. It’s not like they made a law stopping trick-or-treating. If some parents weren’t letting their kids go out, it would be one thing. But talking about it like it was some town-wide ordinance (which is how I remember it) annoyed me.

Revisited Reaction

As the title would suggest, it’s almost Halloween (again). Dawn’s living in California and a store in town gets robbed at gunpoint by someone wearing a clown mask. Dawn witnesses the culprit running out of the store and getting into a car, so she has to give her statement to the police. This also means she knows enough details about the crime to play detective. When the parents in town hear about the robbery, they decide to establish a curfew preventing kids from being out after 7:00 pm, unless they are with an adult. The parents also decide that if the robber isn’t caught by Halloween, there will be no trick-or-treating. Obviously, the kids in town are upset by this, so Dawn and the We Love Kids Club decide to save the day. First, by trying to catch the thief on their own, and second, by planning a Halloween party for the kids.

Their investigation involves going to stores in town trying to find out who bought clown masks, staking out the restaurant that the thief had a bumper sticker for, etc. They really get nowhere with the investigation, and after awhile, there’s a second robbery. Then, by pure luck, Dawn sees the car that the robber used in the garage of a neighbor’s house. This particular neighbor lives across the street from the DeWitts, one of her babysitting clients. She has actually been watching Timmy, the little boy who lives there, on most of her sitting jobs for the DeWitts.

Anyway, after she sees the car, she runs and tells Mrs. DeWitt. They call the cops, who come and arrest Timmy’s father. Word spreads around town that trick-or-treating’s back on, and Dawn takes the DeWitt boys, as well as Timmy (who’s not told about his dad, at least at this point). Towards the end of the evening, Dawn sees a person dressed in black and wearing a clown mask digging in Timmy’s backyard. She makes the kids go back to the DeWitt’s house, where Mrs. DeWitt tells her Timmy’s dad has an alibi for the robbery and couldn’t have been the thief. So, they call the police again, and the real robber (who’s digging in the yard) is arrested. We find out that it’s Timmy’s mother (the parents are separated), and she had to steal because “she was poor.” Anyway, after this, everyone goes back out to the party Dawn and her friends planned.

We only get a few chapters about events occurring back in Stoneybrook…..Mrs. Barrett and her fiancé are looking for a new house where they can fit their seven children. They find one in a town about a half-hour from Stoneybrook. The kids don’t want to move, so they pout about it and make their parents retract their offer on the house. They go house hunting again, but the place in Stoneybrook that they can afford is a tiny one by the elementary school. The kids swear they don’t care about the size, and so Mrs. Barrett and her fiancé buy it. They will regret this decision later on, but somehow will have all the money they need to build an extensive edition to the house.

  • I understand the concern about keeping kids safe, but I have an issue with the curfew, mainly that both robberies happened in the middle of the afternoon. Keeping the kids in at night’s not necessarily going to be any safer.
  • Jeff says he has trouble remembering what it was like when his parents were still married. But wasn’t that less than two years ago? He’s ten. He should remember something about it.
  • Dawn and her friends are staking out a hot dog place because the robber had one of their bumper stickers on her car. The food doesn’t exactly appeal to them, so her friend Jill’s all, “we should have brought sandwiches.” Because restaurants LOVE when customers bring their own food.
  • I’m actually shocked that a hot dog place exists in California. Aren’t all Californians healthy eaters like Dawn?
  • I’m surprised that it doesn’t even occur to Dawn that the robber could be a woman. Usually, at least one of the BSC members will give the feminist point of view. Plus the robber was around 5’8,” one of the people who purchased the clown mask was a tall blond woman, and a tall blonde woman worked at the hotdog place. And if Dawn checked, she would have seen that this woman was wearing a pair of the sneakers like the robber did.
  • At the hot dog restaurant, Dawn wonders why the cashier was staring at them. She decides it’s because they stayed for ages and only bought soda. Sunny thinks the woman’s an undercover cop. But it’s most likely because they told her they were looking for a person driving a car that looks just like hers and wearing shoes like hers.
  • Dawn said that she used to dislike Carol (her dad’s fiancé) for driving a red convertible, because “adults” shouldn’t own them. I’m not sure what age she’s using as a cut off for “adult,” but someone should tell her that usually “kids” can’t afford fancy new cars.
  • Dawn says that Carol has a “cool hair cut.” I’m not exactly sure what that means. How’s that a description?
  • The reason the robber was digging in the yard where her soon-to-be-ex-husband and son live, was that she had hidden her gun there. Or something. I can’t imagine why she would have done this. Or why she would have gone to dig it up on a night when all the neighborhood kids are running around outside.
  • Dawn’s friend Maggie talks about a guacamole recipe that she got from Winona Ryder. Now…I’ll believe that her father’s a producer and she gets to meet celebrities. But getting recipes from them?
  • After Dawn witnesses the robber’s getaway, the cops question her when she is by herself. (Carol was down the hall). Now, I realize they weren’t accusing her of anything, but shouldn’t there still have been a parent present?
  • Dawn and Sunny go to a Halloween store to find out if any people bought the mask the robber used (they don’t say the real reason they’re asking). And the clerk says they sold three, then goes on to describe the people who bought them. What are the chances that this guy would have been present for the sale of all three masks, and that he’d remember what they all looked like?
  • After she talks to the police, Dawn remembers seeing a logo on the clown mask that the robber was wearing. This logo ends up revealing there was only one store in town that was selling it. And she decides she and Sunny should go around questioning sales clerks first, and THEN she’ll tell the police. It is not like it is important information that could have helped their investigation.
  • This is the second time Dawn has “solved” a mystery simple by being in the right place at the right time, not because of her actual “detective work.”
  • Apparently all of Mal’s siblings are young enough to be captivated by Halloween. So the triplets love it, but Mallory’s too old to get into it? I know it’s been said before but that 11th birthday must be magical in Stoneybrook.
  • It’s kind of annoying that the Barrett kids get to stay in Stoneybrook. Not because I dislike them, just because it’s unrealistic. Sometimes kids have to move away. If Mrs. Barrett and her fiancé can’t afford something in Stoneybrook, then they should tell the kids to deal with it.
  • Dawn finds out about all the Barrett drama via letters that BSC members send her. But after each letter, Dawn calls one of her friends to get rest of the story. That seems to defeat the purpose of writing letters (assuming one reason for the letters is to keep the cost of phone calls down).
  • No one can figure out the problem when the Barrett kids react negatively to moving to the house in another town. Why was it so hard to figure out? I would expect most little kids to be upset about moving.
  • Mrs. DeWitt (the California client) has decided that Dawn should start calling her Cynthia. I guess this is because when Mrs. Barrett gets married, she’ll become Mrs. DeWitt as well, which could cause confusion.
  • Mrs. Barrett gets frustrated while house hunting and says, “We’ll never find a house, and then we’ll never be able to get married.” It just made me laugh for some reason.
  • The parents association that helps the We Love Kids set up the Halloween party want to help decorate the school gym (where the party’s happening), but Dawn and her friends insist on doing it themselves. It seems a little unbelievable that a bunch of teenagers could have that much control over it.
  • The haunted house Dawn and Sunny set up at the party consists only of stations where kids are blindfolded and told to feel cold brains (spaghetti), eyeballs (peeled grapes), etc. While I can certainly see kids enjoying that, it doesn’t really seem like a haunted house.
  • While trick-or-treating, Stephie Roberts starts to eat some candy, but Dawn stops her by saying that her dad didn’t want her to eat too much along the way. Now, when I was in elementary school, I remember teachers telling us not to eat candy until we got home for “safety” reasons. We were always supposed to have our parents look at it to make sure no one poisoned it or stuck in needles or something. Why isn’t that an issue here?
  • The We Love Kids Club decides to dress up in costume for the party. For those interested: Maggie goes as the Pink Panther, Jill goes as Marge Simpson, and Sunny goes as Mrs. Claus. Dawn recycles a costume from her childhood, and goes as Pippi Longstocking.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

“Ten years of baseball and where was I?”……BSC # 129: Kristy At Bat

Memory Reaction

I have read this book before, but it wasn’t as a kid, it was a few years ago shortly before I started this blog. However, I remember very little about it….just that it had a very predictable plot. Kristy and Watson meet some famous baseball player and are upset when he isn’t nice. But then Kristy gets him to see the error of his ways. What would the world do without the BSC?

Revisited Reaction

Kristy’s about to spend her spring vacation at a “dream baseball camp” that’s run by a bunch of former major league players. This includes Bill Bain, Watson’s childhood hero, which is perfect because Watson’s going too….it’s a special father-daughter session of the camp.

Before they go, Kristy tries out for the school softball team. Apparently she’s a returning player, but she makes no reference to the events from this book. Anyway, since the coach knows her, Kristy’s not that nervous about trying out. She also doesn’t really put all her effort into it and ends up on the second string team. So, she’s all upset and thinks she won’t enjoy the camp. Once there, she keeps angsting about each little mistake she makes. All the softball also makes her think of her dad, who first taught her to play. She’s upset that he isn’t there to see her play, but she’s also upset that she even cares about her dad when Watson’s there.

Some of the campers are getting anxious because they aren’t seeing very much of Bill Bain. When he finally shows up, Watson tries to introduce himself, and Bill snaps at him. One of the other coaches talks about how Bill’s having a hard time because he’s getting older and can’t play as well as he used to. So then Watson starts to angst…partially because Bill Bain isn’t as great as he expected and partially because he realizes that he’s getting older too.

The other issue about the camp is that the coaches are not as organized as President Kristy. This annoys her, so she keeps stepping up to “help” by organizing the campers, giving players tips and semi-pep talks, and helping sort out the equipment. When Bill yells at one of the other coaches (who was doing nothing wrong), Kristy tells him off. She’s actually pretty nice and respectful about it, but Watson’s annoyed at her for being “rude to a legend.” It turns out okay, because Bill decides she’s right and tries to be nice/spend time with the campers. He even apologizes to Watson for being rude. So, the end of camp’s great, and Kristy decides that since she loves playing, she doesn’t care about being on second string.

The subplot’s also about baseball, so I guess the ghostwriter had some kind of fixation. David Michael has been collecting baseball cards and trading them with his friends. One kid’s super into the value of cards and only wants to talk about how much money each one’s worth. He influences the other kids, and soon they’re all focusing on the money part. But the BSC gets David Michael (and some of his friends) to see that they shouldn’t just think about money, they should find cards that mean something to them and have fun.


  • I kind of like that Kristy was put on the second string team, but I wish they didn’t have it be because she didn’t try very hard. It’s kind of annoying that these girls are all so good with whatever they like to do. I mean, Claudia sucks at school, but she’s fabulous at art, which is what she really loves. Abby and Kristy are good at sports, Mallory’s a great writer, Jessi’s this gifted ballerina, and in the book where Stacey tried out for cheerleading, she was great at that. In real life, some people just aren’t that talented.
  • In this book Kristy describes her wardrobe as that of a seven-year-old boy's, but “minus Spiderman underwear.” This basically translates into jeans a T-shirt, and sneakers. I think this is a lot more realistic for a “tomboy” than jeans, a turtleneck, and a sweater, which used to be Kristy’s standard outfit.
  • Kristy said that Mary Anne used to be the only BSC member with a steady boy friend, but that Claudia recently dated a guy named Josh. But what about Stacey? She dated Robert for a good thirty books, all before Claud even met Josh.
  • Kristy refers to how Jessi has seemed lost since Mal went off to boarding school. Maybe if they had given Jessi her own book after that happened, or even a storyline in another book, we could find out what she was thinking about it. But no, Jessi hardly even gets mentioned outside of the backstory chapter.
  • It’s so AWKWARD when Kristy finds out she’s on the second string team. She sees some other girl looking at the list who was placed on second string. And Kristy’s all, “oh, second string’s a great place to work on your skills.” Then when she can’t find her name on the first string list, the girl’s like, “um, you’re Kristy, right? You’re name’s over here.” I hate scenes where people embarrass themselves like that.
  • Kristy mentions that Watson’s older than her mom, and refers to him as “old.” But how much older can he be? Karen and Andrew are seven and four, how old was he supposed to be when they were born?
  • One of the things that supposedly shows how disorganized the coaches are, is that one of them tells people to split into two groups, but doesn’t give them any instruction on how to do it. Kristy has to get up and tell people to count off by ones and twos. But do you really think that would happen? I think most people would just naturally group with the people standing near them. It’s not exactly hard.
  • There are references to e-mail and cell phones in this book. It feels strange to see that in a BSC book, but I guess all the later books are like that.
  • Kristy makes friends with a camper named Vicki. Vicki’s only at camp because her dad wants her to play softball – she doesn’t really like it. She also doesn’t care about some of the other activities her dad wants her to do, which basically makes her Rosie Wilder. Kristy convinces her to tell her dad this. And of course, the father’s immediately okay with it. Because when you’re honest with someone, they’ll never even be a little upset about it.
  • David Michael forgot to bring his “value list” with him to a baseball cad trading session, and ended up agreeing to a trade where he gave up an “expensive” card. He keeps whining about how he was cheated. So, Abby’s all “you weren’t cheated, you agreed to it fair and square. It’s not his fault you forgot your value card.”
  • These kids seem to have baseball card trading sessions daily. But how many people would have been getting new baseball cards every night? Cause otherwise, there could only be so much trading.
  • It seems kind of out of character for Kristy to not put all her energy into the softball try out.
  • I wonder how much this dream camp cost. Assuming that everything Kristy mentioned was included in the price (food, hotel, uniforms, video highlight reel, autographed baseballs, evening entertainment, not to mention the coaches and playing), it seems like it could get pretty expensive. Good thing Watson’s a millionaire.
  • There’s an awards dinner on the last night of camp, and after the rest of the awards are given out, Kristy gets a specially created "best coach" award. Because her leadership skills are just THAT good.