Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#33 Claudia and the Great Search

Why are Claud's left hand
And right foot so deformed on
The cover? So strange!

(*This book brings me into my own personal BSC "Promised Land." :) #33 through #47, plus some Super Specials, Mysteries, and a few of the later books (I'm looking at you, Mary Anne's Makeover and Dawn's Big Date!) are among the first books I owned, and were the ones that were being published when I was at the height of my BSC reading and collecting. I'm pretty excited to have gotten to this point in my recapping!*)

Janine has just recieved another award, and is getting a ton of attention for it. Claud is feeling overlooked and left out, and after suffering through a celebratory dinner for her sister, she escapes into the den to be alone for awhile. She picks up one of the family's photo albums, and notices how many baby pictures there are of Janine. Claudia isn't thrilled, seeing as she wanted to get away from all things Janine for awhile, but she figures that there are probably just as many pictures of her in another album. There aren't. Most Claudia pictures include Janine, too. She even goes through her parents' desk for pictures that might not have been put into albums, but all she finds is a locked box, and no key to open it with. Claudia then puts two and two together: she guesses that the lack of pictures (and the fact that she's so different from her family) means she was adopted, and that the locked box contains her adoption papers.

Claudia doesn't tell anyone her secret for about a week. She finally confides in Stacey, who's (understandably) pretty skeptical. Claud convinces her that it's true, and Stacey encourages her to look for her birth parents. She starts by calling the adoption agency that placed Emily Michelle, but that's a dead end. The organization has only been in operation for five years, and they only place Vietnamese children. Claudia then decides to take a look at her birth certificate, which is in a safe deposit box at the bank. That's a dead end, too; she doesn't have a key. Her next stop is good old Dr. Dellenkamp's office (does Stoneybrook even have another pediatrician? Lord knows they have enough lawyers. You think they'd have more than one kid doctor, too). Claudia cooks up some story about needing to see her birth records for a school project, but the receptionist tells her that she and her sister weren't seeing Dr. Dellenkamp back then (oh, I guess Stoneybrook does have another pediatrician). Dead end #3.

About a week later, Claudia heads to the library to look up birth announcements. She times the visit to coincide with her mother's library staff meeting; heaven forbid a BSC parent actually know what their children are up to. She looks at all the birth announcements for the week she was born, plus the month before and the month after. Claud finds nothing under her own name, so she decides that it was probably changed when the Kishis adopted her. She copies down the names of three girls who were born during the same week she thinks she was, and decides to track them down. Claud confirms that all but one of them actually do exist, and becomes convinced that she's that actually Resa Ho from Cuchara, Wyoming. She calls Stacey with the news, and Stacey is again skeptical. She convinces Claudia to talk to her parents, and after dinner that night, Claudia actually does it. The Kishis tell her that she's definitely not adopted, and they help her to see that she's really not so different from everyone else in her family. She and Peaches are a lot alike, and Claud looks so much like Mimi when Mimi was young that she says they could have been twins. As for the lack of a birth announcement, the Kishis didn't put one in the Stoneybrook News. It appeared in another paper that went out of business. The mysterious locked box? It's full of cash, in case of emergency.

Subplot: Emily Michelle is having some problems. She's extremely delayed compared to other two year olds, and even got turned away from a preschool program because of it. When Claudia is sitting for her one day, she comes up with some simple games to teach Emily her colors, shapes, and matching. Kristy's mom ends up asking Claud to work with Emily several days a week, and those lessons help Emily progress enough that she'll be ready for preschool in the fall. Too bad that she'll never actually get there because of the BSC time warp. :)

Rating: 3.5

Thoughts and Things
  • If the Kishis keep things like birth certificates in their safe deposit box, why would Claudia think that her adoption papers are kept at home? Wouldn't they be in the safe deposit box, too?

  • I enjoy the Kishi parents! They're painted as being kind of strict, but when push comes to shove, they're very loving and supportive. Even though we always hear how they don't value Claudia's creativity as much as Janine's academic success, they tell Claudia multiple times throughout the series how proud they are of her art.

  • When I first read this book, I thought that it would end with Claudia finding out that she really was adopted, and that Emily Michelle was her sister.

  • Stacey hasn't been feeling well for the last few books. That's some serious foreshadowing for #43, and it's still 10 books away!

  • One of the stories Claudia concocts when she's calling the families that had baby girls the week she was born is that she's studying their last name, and wants to make a family tree. She asks for names and birthdates of their children, and I can't believe people actually gave her that information. I'd be pretty suspicious if someone called me up asking questions like that!

  • In this book, Mr. Kishi and Claudia have to drive all the way across town from SMS to get to Janine's award ceremony at the high school. When Dawn in stalking Travis in Dawn and the Older Boy, though, the schools are right next to each other.

  • The Perkins girls make chocolate chip cookies from scratch without a recipe. I still need a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies and I've made them lots of times. Should I feel bad that a 5 year old and 2.5 year old have me beat? ;)


  1. I remember when I read this book that I was amazed that Claudia thought the lack of baby photos meant that she was adopted. Five years later, when I was sorting through all my family photos, I discovered that there weren't that many baby photos of me either, but tons of my older brother! I guess the Kishis are right - parents do end up taking a lot of photos of their first child, and then end up with their hands full when they have two children, thus resulting in fewer photos of the second child...

  2. I think that SHS probably has campus' all over town. That's what one of the high schools where I live does.

  3. I work as an ABA therapist and I've only just recently read this book (as in the last three months recently, despite devouring 90% of the series almost 10 years ago lol) and was very surprised to see the kind of work that Claud did with Emily to be in a sense mirroring my own work :)