The BSC gets a call from the Braddocks, who've just moved to Stoneybrook. They need a sitter two days a week, indefinitely, for Haley and Matt. The catch? Matt's deaf, and the sitter needs to be willing to learn sign language. Jessi is the lucky winner, which should be pretty obvious considering who happens to be narrating this book. :) She meets with the Braddocks several times before actually being left alone with them. They're nice enough kids, but Haley is dealing with some typical jealousy/guilt for being jealous that comes with having a sibling who's different. Jessi actually does a really good job of talking to her and validating some of her feelings. She also goes a long way towards making the Braddock kids feel welcome in the neighborhood by showing the other kids how fun Matt's "secret language" can be.
When she's not sitting for the Braddocks, Jessi is getting ready to dance the lead in her ballet school's production of Coppelia. Since she's still fairly new in class, a few of the other students are giving her a hard time. Namely, Hilary (aka the "Dance School Phantom" from later in the series) and Katie Beth, who used to be Madame Noelle's favorites before Jessi joined. Things start to get better, though. At one point, both Hilary and Katie Beth compliment Jessi on her dancing in rehearsals. They do it grudgingly, but they do it nonetheless. :) Jessi and Katie Beth also bond when Jessi finds out that Katie Beth's sister is deaf, and Jessi doesn't subsequently freak out or anything like K.B. seems to think she will.
Finding out that Matt has never been to the theater gives Jessi an idea that borders on Kristy caliber: she wants to invite Matt's class of deaf children to her opening night performance of Coppelia. She works it out with Madame Noelle, Matt's school, and the Braddocks (Haley is there to narrate the story, and Mrs. Braddock is there to translate the narration into sign language). It's actually kind of a nice gesture...can't really be too cynical about it. :)
Thoughts and Things
- I never actually owned this book as a kid, so it's one of the older ones in the series that still feels kind of "new."
- Jessi has more discipline than any 11 year old I've ever met. She goes to a restaurant with an extensive dessert menu after her dance performance, admits that she wants ice cream, and has fruit instead??? I don't think I could do that. I'd be off ordering a sundae with Claudia. Speaking of, she had a butterscotch one, which was a nice bit of continuity. That's the same thing she had on the cruise ship in Baby-Sitters On Board!
- The Ramseys are definitely my favorite BSC family. Is it wrong that I kind of wish that John Philip Ramsey, Sr., were my dad? ;)
- During chapter 2, Jessi reassures us that Claudia's crazy outfits aren't revealing. Thanks, Jessi!
- Does anyone remember the Sweet Valley Twins book where they did Coppelia? I think it was called Teacher's Pet. I didn't really get into Sweet Valley, but I do remember that one. Elizabeth got the lead role because she was Little Miss Favorite, not because she was the best dancer.