Monday, January 25, 2010

“You’re ALL our favorite sitters”……BSC Mystery # 2: Beware, Dawn!

Memory Reaction

Well, I remember how this one ends, and that it connects to the book where Kristy sits for Susan, the girl with autism. I was still really into the mysteries at this point, so I definitely liked it. It’s a relatively realistic mystery, the kind that made me jealous of the BSC for having such exciting lives. (As opposed to when they caught bank robbers and counterfeiters, and made me roll my eyes in disbelief).

Now, I WAS old enough to notice the blatant continuity issues with this book. They introduce a “Sitter of the Month” contest, which is never mentioned again. I hated when stuff like that happened. In fact, I still hate it when I see stuff like that happen in books or on television shows. How hard would it have been to say it was a favorite sitter contest, without doing the “of the month part?” They must have known they were not going to continue it.

Revisited Reaction

The kids of Stoneybrook have decided to have a “sitter-of-the-month” contest. This isn’t really explained in detail, so I’m not sure how big a contest it’s supposed to be. But, it seems like a bunch of neighborhood kids have just decided to have it on their own, and it’s just for the members of the BSC. Which is really kind of lame. Not to mention unbelievable – these kids are different ages and don’t all live near each other. So, how do they just get together and run this contest? How do they all even know each other? Mrs. Newton is supposedly helping run the elections, but I still don’t buy it.

But, either way, there IS a contest. The girls all agree not to “campaign” or get competitive about it. But, they all do anyway, although not in a totally obnoxious way. Then, at a sitting job, Dawn gets an anonymous phone call and hears someone creeping around outside. She also gets a “threatening” letter signed “Mr. X,” which just says, “watch out, I’m coming to get you.” At first Dawn thinks it’s Alan Gray, and actually calls his house to see if he is home. However, his mother tells her that Alan’s at a basketball game in Stamford with his father, so Dawn figures he’s innocent. She isn’t totally sure what to think, but decided to keep it a secret from the BSC, so it doesn’t make her look like a bad sitter. Meanwhile, the other girls all have similar experiences, but don’t tell each other. Then Dawn lets the name “Mr. X” slip to Mary Anne. They still aren’t sure if they want to tell the rest of the BSC, but then Dawn slips again (she is the worst secret keeper) at a BSC meeting. It turns out everyone has had a similar experience, except Kristy.

Then when Dawn’s sitting for the Newtons, Jamie lets it slip that Mel Tucker, this neighborhood kid, is planning to come by and do a “secret check” as part of the baby-sitter contest. For those of you who don’t remember, Mel is the jackass who turned an autistic girl into a circus act. We see him again at the start of this book, and he’s making fun of James Horbart for being Australian.

Dawn figures out this probably means that he is probably Mr. X. So, she and the other girls come up with a plan to catch him in the act. She spreads a story that she’s sitting for a cousin at her house. The assumption is that when Mel hears, he’ll try to scare her with the secret passage. She and the rest of the BSC wait until he gets there, and then surround both entrances to the passage and catch him in the act. Then of course, they talk to him and find out why he did it. It turns out he was mad because Dawn told Mrs. Hobart that Mel was teasing James, and she told Mel’s mother. Kristy and Dawn bring Mel home, and they tell his parents what he did. Then the parents tell us how Mel is all sad and that’s why he bullies people. Oh, and the reason Kristy never had any experience with him is that all her jobs had been in her neighborhood – too far away for Mel.

Then, all the girls tie as best sitter in the contest. Which never happens again, so it is really badly named.


  • Dawn’s sitting for the Hobarts and Jamie Newton’s playing with James and Mathew (the eight- and six-year-old), while Johnny (the four-year-old) is reading the magazine. But isn’t Jamie four too? Why is he old enough to play with the other boys, but not Johnny?
  • Dawn says she sympathizes with Mallory, because she also wanted to be 13 when she was 11. She also says how she hated waiting to get her ears pierced. But, I don’t remember it like that. When Mal and Jessi got their ears pierced, Dawn just called her mom and got permission to do it as well. It didn’t seem like she had to wait or beg her mom for permission.
  • Apparently Ben Hobart called Mallory a “bonzer Sheila.” Which, we’re told is a compliment in Australia. Are their any Australians reading this that can confirm if people actually say this?
  • Kristy agrees to bring back presents for her little siblings when she goes to the mall. She says they’ll be little gifts (like a hair ribbon). She apparently does this all the time, which seems like a bad idea. Things like that are why Karen’s such a spoiled brat.
  • I remembered this part as soon as I started reading it: When Dawn hears about the sitter-of-the-month contest, she’s sitting for Kristy’s siblings. She comes up with the idea of playing that stupid “Let’s All Come In” game of Karen’s, with David Michael playing all the “cool parts,” aka guests named Bruce Stringbean and Daryl Blueberry.
  • Dawn makes a point of saying how fast Stacey counts the money when they all pay dues. But how impressive is that? Stacey presumable counted the money last week, and she knows if they spent any money. So, all she has to do as add seven. That’s not exactly challenging math.
  • Jessi lets Becca watch a scary movie while she is sitting for her, because she wants to get her vote for “sitter of the month.” Then Becca has a nightmare, and Jessi actually gets in trouble for it. I kind of like that, these girls are always shown to be such perfect sitters who never do anything wrong.
  • Mal apparently called one of her teachers “Mom.” In class.
  • Dawn actually suspects Kristy is Mr. X, because she doesn’t get any letters from him. She figures that Kristy is doing it to win the sitter of the month contest. It’s nice that she has such a high opinion of her friends.
  • Dawn even tells Kristy she suspected her….and Kristy doesn’t care. She figures everyone else suspected her too. Um, does she really think her friends have such a low opinion of her?
  • Charlotte Johansson is reading Muggie Maggie. I remember reading that. This book is full of nostalgia.
  • Claud tries “campaigning” for Charlotte’s vote. Like there is a chance Charlotte won’t vote for Stacey?
  • It’s kind of mean to trick a kid like Mel by trapping him in the secret passage. I know he’s a jerk who was messing with them, but the girls are older and (theoretically) more responsible.
  • Dawn tells us that all the kids in town know about the secret passage, and they think it’s cool. And judging by Mel’s entering it, they also know how to get into it. Why would Dawn’s family not find some way to lock it? Theoretically, one of these “kids” could break in and do actual damage to the house.
  • Dawn starts a letter to Jeff like this: “Dearest Little Bro, What’s up? What’s fresh? Everything’s cool back here in Stoneybrook. What’s happening out there in sunny Cal?” Seriously? Who talks like that?
  • The end with Mel is sort of lame. Mel’s all in tears and says he was mad at the BSC for telling Mrs. Horbart he was still making fun of James. Apparently his parents told him he’d have to see a shrink if he kept bullying other kids. But Kristy and Dawn explain to him how that’s not bad thing, and I guess it is supposed to be a little PSA or something.
  • I don’t remember…did Mel get in trouble when he was taking money for Susan? Cause I don’t remember if Kristy ever told his parents in that one, and it seems like a worse crime than calling James a “Croc.”
  • The kids all just show up in Claud’s hallway to announce the contest winners. There are like, over a dozen of them just hanging out the doorway to her room during a meeting. Are we supposed to think the Kishi’s just let all these little kids in and wander upstairs?

Monday, January 18, 2010

“Now way could I do my homework and not feel like a moron in this house”….BSC #49: Claudia and the Genius on Elm Street

Memory Reaction

I was so glad to find this book, because I lent my original copy to a friend, and never got it back before she moved. I owned almost every book, and all of them over about #30. But there was always a big hole in my shelf for this one and it drove me crazy. But I guess that is karma. But as a result, I remember wanting to reread this book more than I remember actually reading it. The only specific thing I remember is how the little kid is practicing for some crossword competition and is always using a dictionary. It always seemed like cheating.

Revisited Reaction

The BSC has another new client, Rosie Wilder. Rosie needs a regular sitter for a few weeks while her mom is taking care of her sick mother. Rosie’s mom is a typical stage mom and has Rosie over-scheduled for all sorts of concerts, lessons, auditions, etc. Rosie even does some professional acting, in fact, Claudia recognizes her from a carpet commercial. Rosie also does well in school and can play multiple instruments. She’s preparing for what is supposed to be a big crossword competition, but actually seems a little lame.

Anyway, Rosie’s also a bit of a brat and asks her sitters questions that make them feel stupid. I know that’s not hard with Claudia, but this is a little more so than normal. Claudia asks Janine to come over and help tutor her. This works okay at first, but then Rosie insults Janine’s intelligence and she takes off. Note that Rosie doesn’t know things that Janine doesn’t….she just thinks that a high schooler should be able to answer the questions she has. All the girls from the BSC try to bond with Rosie, but she surprises them by saying she likes Claud best.

Claud realizes that Rosie’s actually a secret artist. Claud’s thrilled about this and encourages Rosie. She doesn’t understand why Rosie won’t tell her parents. But when the Wilders do find out and start to think of how to foster another talent, Claud realizes that Rosie just wants to paint/draw by herself. She also finds out that Rosie doesn’t like always be performing, or prepping for performances. She just wants to be a normal kid. This is the excuse for her being such a brat. Claud encourages Rosie to talk to her parents, who eventually let her cut down her activities to only a few – including art. We also find out that Rosie is obnoxious because kids at school make fun of her, and I guess were supposed to think that the situation will improve when Rosie is not so miserable and overscheduled. But that part isn’t really mentioned specifically.

Meanwhile, Claudia has been working on a series of paintings of junk food. Kristy gets the idea that Claud should have her own art show in her garage to show her paintings to the neighbors. Claud lets Rosie show some of her paintings there as well, so everyone is happy and the Wilder’s are okay with Rosie being an artist. Claudia even manages to sell three paintings – to Watson, Ms Besser (the teacher who helped the girls with the fundraiser for the Zuni kids), and Janine.


  • When Mrs. Wilder calls, Claudia just puts her hand over the phone and tells the other girls about the jobs. But…isn’t that against club policy?
  • Claudia leaves a note for Mrs. Wilder and Rosie corrects her spelling. Which seems somewhat less obnoxious than when Karen Brewer insisted on writing “Crushers” on her softball “uniform.”
  • I can’t think of anything more boring than watching people solve crossword puzzles. I certainly can enjoy doing them, but watching other people do them? And yet, the contest – which is after school – has three kids solving crossword puzzles on a big blackboard in front of an audience. On that is full of elementary school kids.
  • Not only is it boring, but the school’s crossword puzzle contest is also kind of dumb. Rosie previously won a contest within her class, then within her grade. Now, she’s about to go to the school finals where a kid from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades compete to see who solves a puzzle first. So there are only three of them, and I’m kind of surprised the school would make such a big deal about something only three kids were involved in. Also, they each have a different puzzle that is appropriate to their grade level. Now doesn’t that make the contest a bit unfair?
  • It turns out that Rosie didn’t end up using the dictionaries in the crossword competition. She was just using them when practicing, I guess to learn words.
  • The tag line on the cover of the book is, “How could a seven-year-old make Claudia feel so dumb?” Well, my question is, how can anyone NOT make Claudia feel dumb?
  • It’s actually kind of nice of Kristy to come up with an idea just to help Claud show her art. She’s almost always trying to twist things into advertising for the club.
  • Rosie’s main technique for solving crosswords (before the competition), is to ask whoever is around the answers. Then, she insults them when they don’t know the answer. “You passed third grade? Really?” seems to be her favorite.
  • Stacey’s sitting for Rosie when someone comes over to see Rosie audition for this televised talent show. So, it’s Stacey, Rosie’s agent, and the producer of this show. Which, seems inappropriate. Doesn’t a parent/guardian need to be there? I don’t think an agent would count in that situation. And wouldn’t most professional acting auditions occur at a theater/studio/wherever? Not just in someone’s living room?
  • The other ridiculous thing about the audition is that Rosie has a scene prepared, but needs someone to read the part of the father. And, so they make Stacey do it, and she is completely horrible. She keeps reading the stage directions and stammering. But I don’t understand why they would pick Stacey to read. If you believe that the audition happened at Rosie’s house, and that they didn’t know she would need a scene partner, wouldn’t the agent have been a better choice?
  • At Claud’s “art show,” mostly just neighbors show up, which is fine. But some random dude who was driving by and saw the sign, decided to stop and check it out. Then he starts trying to have a serious discussion with Claud about her art. I guess he was just being nice/interested, but it all comes across as a little weird.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Wilder are a little pissed when they catch Rosie doing something as worthless as drawing. But when Claudia tells them she’s good, they start thinking of all the ways they can work it into their schedules.
  • The book is called “Claudia and the Genius” on Elm Street, but Rosie doesn’t seem particularly smart – at least not book smart. Yes, she does well in school, but not exceptionally so. Not that she’s dumb, but I wouldn’t use the word genius. She is just involved in a lot of activities, and is forced to spend all her time practicing and studying.
  • Jessi tells Rosie that she saw her in a carpet-cleaning commercial that had a bunch of cartoon monsters (acting as dirt). Rosie makes a point of explaining that the monsters were not really there when she filmed it, they were added later. Does Rosie think Jessi doesn’t know that? These girls may believe in ghosts, but certainly not monsters.
  • Mary Anne outfit: “She wore a loose-fitting open shirt over a teal turtleneck with off-white chinos and white sneakers.”
  • Claudia suggests that Edward Allen Poe is the author of The Owl and the Pussycat.
  • Claudia refers to her art show as a “multi-media extravaganza,” but really, they are all paintings. Which does not quite fit the definition of multi-media.
  • The job for Rosie is Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from after-school until 8:30. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but that conflicts with a BSC meeting. Yet, no one ever mentions this, or references how Claudia would have to skip a meeting to go on the job.
  • This book is kind of anti-climactic, because after we spend 90% of the book setting up Rosie’s issues with her parents, the resolution is almost a throwaway line. Basically, Rosie just tells Claud that she talked to them and they are cool with her cutting down on her activities. No fight, nothing. I mean, Mr. Wilder talks about how commercials are going to pay for Rosie’s college, and Mrs. Wilder’s whole life is about being a stage mother. And they barely react?

Monday, January 11, 2010

“If only I were thirteen instead of eleven. Life would be a picnic.”...BSC # 29: Mallory and the Mystery Diary”

Memory Reaction

I was so jealous of Mallory when I read this book. I know, that sounds crazy. But this was another book where one of the girls discovered some secret in their attic/basement/house. I think technically, Mallory discovered the secret in Stacey’s attic, but it still seemed cool. I don’t really remember what the specific mystery was, just that they resolved it by finding a painting in the attic that was painted over another painting.

Also, this book is where I learned what a séance is. Clearly, the schools just were not doing their job with that.

Revisited Reaction

Mallory and Claudia are helping Stacey unpack after moving back to Stoneybrook, and they find an old trunk in the attic. Stacey and her mom don’t want it, so Mal brings it home with her. Now, the trunk is locked and Mal refuses to let anyone break the lock off, because it is so pretty. But when Vanessa threatens to talk all in rhyme until she finds out what’s inside, Mal gives in.

The trunk is mostly full of old clothes, as well as a diary. It was written by a twelve-year-old girl named Sophie in 1894. In the second half of the year, Sophie’s mother died giving birth to a little boy. Soon after, Sophie’s “Grandfather Hickman” accuses Sophie’s father (Jared) of stealing a portrait of the mother (his only daughter). Grandfather Hickman never approved of Jared and uses the missing painting as an excuse to write the whole family out of his will. In her final entry, Sophie vows that she will find the real thief, and writes that if she doesn’t, she’ll come back and haunt her house (that Stacey is now living in).

Mallory believes this, because not only does she believe in ghosts, but she thinks that some one would still care about something they wrote as a twelve-year-old when they die years later. She asks Stacey if she has seen signs of ghosts, but Stacey has only heard a few noises that she attributes to the “country.” So, the BSC tries to solve the mystery the old fashioned way. But they really have no way to go about this, so then they try having a séance. Shockingly, that doesn’t work either.

Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving Buddy Barrett, who’s having trouble reading. Because they can’t see a problem and not get involved, the BSC offers to tutor him, and Mal gets the job. It starts off bad, but Mal gets him to improve by letting him read comics and Encyclopedia Brown mysteries (which makes me all nostalgic). This gets Buddy excited about reading, which makes him better at it, etc., etc. But more importantly, this leads to Buddy wanting to see the diary. He also asks to search the trunk, and finds some more papers at the bottom. Amazingly, this includes a “confession” where Grandfather Hickman confesses that the portrait was never stolen; he just had it painted over because looking at it depressed him. And he was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so he said it was stolen. Grandfather Hickman was a bit of a jackass.

Mallory guesses that the confession and the diary ended up in the same trunk because Grandfather Hickman owned both houses, and someone in the family must have been throwing different things from different places into the trunk for storage. So, they guess that maybe that same person moved paintings to Stacey’s. They search Stacey’s attic again to see if they can find the missing portrait, and of course, they do. Even though the damn thing’s painted over. They are able to figure out what it is, due to a chip in the paint. It’s all pretty most contrived. I mean, what are the chances that a) the diary and the confession, which were written years apart, by different people, and in different places, end up in the same trunk; b) That the trunk itself ends up in the same place as the painting, which had been hanging somewhere else; and c) That the painting they are looking for is not only chipped, but chipped in a spot that makes it clear what is painted underneath? It’s so ridiculous it is distracting.


  • Mal writes in her journal that she feels like she has been eleven for a decade. Imagine how she’ll feel after another 100 books or so?
  • The title is kind of a stretch because the book isn’t really a mystery, and the girls certainly don’t solve anything. They read the resolution on piece of paper that tells them everything they needed to know. And they need Buddy to do that, because Mal was apparently incapable of looking at the bottom of the trunk herself.
  • Buddy has trouble reading Green Eggs and Ham. Now…I know people read at different levels, but when I was eight, I was reading BSC books. So, if Buddy’s still struggling with Dr. Suess, shouldn’t someone have noticed the problem a lot sooner?
  • Kristy gets inspired to explore her own attic after Mal’s discovery. We’re told that Watson’s mansion has an entire 3rd floor that isn’t being used, and THEN an attic/fourth floor that runs the entire length of the house. That means the place really must be huge. If all the people in Kristy’s house have their own bedroom, it has got to be at least ten rooms, plus more on the third floor and fourth floors?
  • Is it my imagination or are there always more outfits than usual described in Mallory books? She does a run through of the whole club (except Kristy, who was in jeans and a turtleneck – shocking stuff).
  • Jessi: “A long, heart-covered sweat shirt over her dance leotard and a pair of pink pants that…were held up at the waist with a drawstring.”
  • Mallory: “Boring old jeans, but a top that I liked a lot – a big white long-sleeved T-shirt that said I (heart) KIDS across the front.”
  • Mary Anne: “She was wearing a very cool short printed jumper over a striped shirt…the jumper was white with a small red print, and the shirt was white with narrow, widely spaced stripes.”
  • Claudia: “Jeans, a plain white blouse, a pink sweater, white socks and loafers. She said she’d gone back to the fifties for the day.” She should do that more often.
  • Stacey: “A short-sleeved blue-and-white jumpsuit with cuffed pants. Parts of it were striped, parts were solid. On her feet were high-topped sneakers laved only halfway up so that she could roll the tongue down of the shoe.”
  • Dawn: “Her outfit was fairly normal – pants and a baggy sweat shirt – but on her head was a small straw hat.” A straw hat? WTF?
  • It is ridiculous how much of a difference Mallory supposedly makes with Buddy in a couple weeks.
  • How come everyone in BSC land has an attic that you get to by going up a flight of stairs? I always had the kind that pulled down from the ceiling.
  • Buddy Barrett’s teacher is a bit of a jerk. He sends a note home to Mrs. Barrett explaining that Buddy’s having trouble reading. In it, he suggests that Mrs. Barrett spend “quality time” with Buddy reading. Because it can’t be his fault for not being a good teacher. And he’s completely justified in critiquing how a single, working mother spends her time.
  • Kristy only agrees to have a séance if she can be the “channeler.” Mal wanted to do it, since it was her idea, but goes along with Kristy because, “that’s the sort of thing that happens when your friends are older than you.” I think it is just the sort of thing that happens when your friends are bossy and controlling. And when you let them walk all over you.
  • Kristy gets all dressed up with clothes Karen found in their attic to play the channeeor. And she gets all into it, pretending to have spoken with Sophie. Which seems really out of character for her.
  • Poor Mal is disappointed because she thought a séance would really work. When my friends and I played with a Ouiji board, none of us thought it was actually going to work, we just thought it would be fun.
  • Stacey’s worried about going in her attic, and Claud asks if she’s afraid of the “boogeyman.” And Stacey says yes, because “they didn’t have the boogeymen in New York.” Which seems like an odd answer. I would think being from New York made her too “sophisticated” to believe in the boogeyman.
  • Mallory tells Stacey that if her house isn’t haunted, it must mean Sophie cleared her father’s name. Kristy’s actually the voice of reason and tells Mal it might also mean there’s no such things as ghosts. But then she turns around and asks to be the channeler/leader of the séance.
  • It is kind of sad that even though this is a Mallory book, the mystery is really about Stacey’s house.
  • Dawn’s apparently jealous of someone else having a ghost, because she tries to tie the Sophie mystery to Jared Mullray, the ghost that supposedly haunts her secret passage. Her reasoning is that Sophie’s father’s name is Jared, but that really shouldn’t mean anything since that Jared lived in her house, not Stacey’s.
  • It turns out that “Grandfather Hickman” is actually Old Hickory, who is some famous ghost in Stoneybrook, and his grave is the site where Cokie and Co. tried to scare BSC once. Which is kind of a ridiculous coincidence. I mean, what are the chances that the diary Mal reads is connected to a semi-famous person?
  • I don’t think they actually tell us the story of Old Hickory in that book. It turns out he was some rich guy who left all his money to a long-lost nephew, but demanded that no fancy tombstone be set up (because it was a waste of money). But the nephew had one made anyway, and so Old Hickory haunts the cemetery. It seems like a lame reason to haunt somewhere.
  • Mary Anne and Dawn are all excited at the end because their parents go out to celebrate their “25th date” as adults. Which I guess is foreshadowing to the next book when they get married. However, isn’t 25 dates a kind of lame thing to celebrate? It also doesn’t seem like a long enough time to be on the verge of marriage.
  • It’s really kind of unbelievable that these girls believe in ghosts. They’re always being described as super mature, but then they go and freak out about ghosts.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

“If I’d known what was going to happen at our club meeting the next day, I would have thought that a snake on the loose was nothing at all”…..BSC # 22

Memory Reaction

I think I sort of stole my original copy of this book from my cousins’ house. They had it on a bookshelf in their basement, and I started reading it while I was there. My aunt told me I could bring it home to finish reading, and I never gave it back. I don’t think they minded though. My cousins were both boys so I don’t even know how the book ended up in their house in the first place.

In terms of the actual plot, I remember that a snake gets loose and a hamster has babies, but that is really it.

Revisited Reaction

Jessi has what she calls a week off coming up – even though she still has school - because the Braddocks (who she sits for regularly) are on vacation and her dance school is closed. At first, she is looking forward to the time off, but she ends up taking a pet-sitting job for the animal-crazy Mancusis. This is the couple with multiple dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and a snake. Kristy didn’t want the BSC to accept a job like this, but Jessi talked her into it.

So, for a week Jessi goes to the Mancusis and takes care of the animals. At one point Claudia brings over Jamie Newton and Nina Marshall and Mary Anne brings over the Perkins girls to see the animals. It is fairly dull except for the point where Mary Anne lets the snake get loose, and she and Jessi freak out a little. But super-girl Myriah Perkins helps find it.

Throughout the week, Jessi notices that one of the hamsters is acting “strange,” as if hamsters actually do anything anyway. But this one keeps sleeping in the corner instead of with the other hamsters, and it tries to bite Jessi. She finally takes it to the vet, and finds out she’s pregnant. The hamster ends up giving birth on Jessi’s last day on the job, and the Mancusis offer her a hamster. They also extend this offer to the BSC, but Mallory is the only one who takes them up on this. These hamsters end up being referenced regularly in future books.

The subplot is actually the (relatively) more interesting one. Kristy’s being more bossy than usual and it leads to some arguments with the older girls. The girls are also annoyed that she won’t just trust them to read the club notebook, and instead she asks them about it every day. Mallory and Jessi try to stay out of the fight, because they’re wimps who think that being President of the BSC actually gives Kristy power over them. And because they think the eighth-graders won’t stay their friends if they don’t think they can walk over them. Which makes me wonder why Jessi and Mal consider them such good friends.

The fight eventually leads to Claudia, Mary Anne, and Dawn insisting on new elections (Stacey is in NYC at this point). I’d completely forgotten this whole storyline, until I got to the part where they discuss new elections – when I remembered how it ended. Jessi and Mal are nervous about whom to vote for, because again, they’re wimps. But Jessi eventually decides to “listen to her heart” and votes for everyone to stay in the same roles. It turns out everyone else agrees, because the vote is unanimous to keep Kristy’s President, Claud’s VP, etc. Even Mary Anne votes for herself to stay as Secretary, Dawn votes for herself to stay as Treasurer, Claudia votes for herself to stay as VP, and all of them vote for Kristy to stay as President. They all make up and Kristy swears she’ll stop being so bossy and annoying about the notebook. But, I’m fairly sure she still asks this in later books.

  • You can tell this book is early, because Jessi only says she might become a dancer someday and that Mallory might become an author someday.
  • When giving the club backstory, Jessi says that Kristy or her brothers usually watched David Michael after school, and when they couldn’t, Mrs. Thomas made a bunch of phones calls. But isn’t what happened really that Kristy and her brothers had a day to watch them, with another sitter working on the other days? And the sitter cancelled, which led to all the phone calls and Kristy’s whole idea?
  • Jessi says that Shannon and Logan were made associate members to help fill the void left by Stacey moving. But, that’s not true either. Someone better make Jessi study her BSC history before they let her narrate another book.
  • Kristy says she hates the idea of pet-sitting because of her very first sitting job through the BSC, where she ended up sitting for a couple dogs. Which is good continuity. So, one point for the ghostwriters.
  • During one argument, Mary Anne, Claud, and Dawn point out that Kristy doesn’t really do anything for the club besides come up with ideas….which they all do in addition to actual responsibilities. They actually have a pretty good point there.
  • In the early books, they have pretty good continuity about Jessi having a regular job for the Braddocks, but that seems to stop later on. Was there a point where they actually mention her stopping, or did they just forget about it?
  • The reason the Mancusis call the BSC is that their pet-sitter canceled at the last minute. When she hears this, Mallory is all, “that’s so irresponsible.” Way to be judgmental, Mal.
  • It’s kind of wrong that while Jessi is sitting she lets all the neighborhood kids come and visit. She doesn’t let them feed the animals or anything – because it’s “her responsibility - but still. I’m sure if the Mancusis wanted little kids running around their house, they would have had their own children instead of running a zoo.
  • The snake gets loose because Mary Anne took the cover off his cage to get a better look. That seems like something Mary Anne would never do in a million years.
  • Of course, six-year-old Myraih Perkins knows that snakes are cold blooded and would most likely be found on the porch (where it is sunny).
  • Jessi goes to the Mancusi’s before school, and then again right after school, and doesn’t finish until it’s time for the BSC meeting. That’s gotta be about three hours a day. I’ve never had pets, but it seems like an insane amount of time to spend taking care of your animals.
  • Claud outfit: “This one consisted of an oversized, short-sleeved, cotton shirt with gigantic leaves printed all over it, green leggings – the same green as the leaves on her shirt – bright yellow push-down socks, her purple high-tops, and in her hair a headband with a gigantic purple bow attached to one side.” If it weren’t for the purple sneakers and headband, that seems semi-acceptable. At least for the eighties.
  • Jessi outfit: “An oversized shirt – a white sweatshirt ballet shoes on the front…with jeans and regular socks and regular sneakers.” Jessi outfits are just not as fun to describe.
  • “New elections” is probably a silly term, since they never even had real elections to begin with. They all just chose what they wanted.
  • Hey, amazing coincidence. Kristy’s sitting for Jack Rodowsky, who’s running for a class “office” at this school. He wants to be the person who gets to feed the class rabbit. But he’s worried they will vote for the girl who can walk down the hall without falling. I can understand why he would be worried about that.
  • Kristy tries to “help” Jackie, by telling him how to appear neater and more responsible, and Jackie actually calls Kristy out on being bossy. Interesting, because he was never able to do that with Jessi.
  • Mary Anne asks Jessi and Mallory what they think of new elections – but then says their positions won’t change. If I were them, I would say, why not? Just cause they can’t sit at night doesn’t mean they can’t collect dues or anything.
  • At one point, Mallory’s name is written with a lower-case “m.” So, maybe I’ll take back the point I gave the ghostwriters. I mean, don’t you learn in kindergarten to capitalize a person’s name?
  • When she is at the vet, a kid in the waiting room has a white cat and she tells Jessi he’s deaf. Apparently, this happens a lot with white cats. That must be true, or else Ann Martin knew at least one white cat that couldn’t hear. Because I am pretty sure that in the Mallory mystery there is a deaf cat.
  • Jessi hangs around at the Mancusi’s house the day they are supposed to return, because she wants to be there to tell them about the hamster having babies. But I’d be really annoyed if I got home from a long trip and was totally exhausted, only to have some random kid there.
  • I can see people thinking Mary Anne’s the perfect secretary and Kristy the perfect President, but saying Dawn’s the best Treasurer is sort of random, since it was really Stacey who was perfect for that job.
  • Jackie ends up losing his election, so Kristy talks to his mom and offers to hook them up with one of the Mancusi hamsters to make him feel better. I guess it’s good that she talked to his mom first, but it’s sort of a rude thing to ask out of the blue like that. Especially since she says it will be good for Jackie. These girls need to learn how to not butt in.