Monday, September 21, 2009

SS #3 Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation

The BSC sits
During their vacation. Try
Having fun instead!
Apparently, SMS takes a week long trip to a Vermont ski lodge every year...yet this is the first and last time we actually see them go. During their time at the lodge, the school holds their annual Winter Carnival. It includes events like snow sculpture and a snowball fight, but the highlights are always the sports competitions. This year, things get a little interesting when a busload of elementary school kids are in an accident on the way to the lodge, and left without any supervision while their teachers are in the hospital. Enter the BSC. Let's see what else they get up to during the week:

Mary Anne has volunteered to be the trip historian. That means she's in charge of researching the lodge and town, and writing a paper about them when she gets back home. She manages to uncover a possible lodge ghost story during her studies, but the consensus seems to be that people have active imaginations when it comes to stuff like that. When she's not working on her project and avoiding the sports competitions like the plague, she's busy mooning over Logan. He's not at the lodge because his family is in Aruba, and Mary Anne is convinced that he's going to fall in love with some hot island girl. She writes a whole bunch of sappy letters that rival, if not surpass, the one from SS #2 in terms of embarrassment factor. At least Mary Anne realizes that they're stupid and doesn't send them. She does, however, continue to worry until she gets a phone call from Logan. He will apparently die if SMS is snowed in at the lodge and he can't see Mary Anne when he comes back from Aruba, which makes her feel a whole heck of a lot more secure in their relationship.

Stacey falls in LUV on the ski slopes with Pierre, from upstate Vermont. She's hot for the fact the his voice is changing, and lets us know that meeting Pierre basically negates every single other crush she's ever had. Stacey then kind of disappears until the end of the trip, when she and Pierre say a romantic good-bye at the dance that the lodge throws for all the students who are staying there.

Dawn has a pretty tough time of it during this trip. She klutzes out during the ice skating competition, incurring the wrath of her team. She then joins a practice snowball fight, but leaves when Alan Grey stuffs a snowball down her back and laughs at her. To clear her head, Dawn plans to take a few runs on the ski slopes. She only gets as a far as the lift; when she falls getting on, she gives up and goes back to the lodge. She tries to talk things out with Mary Anne, but Mary Anne is too wrapped up in herself and her Logan issues to care. They fight, but it doesn't last long.

Kristy is the captain of her Winter War team, and the organizer of all the competitions and contests. She spends most of the book being really, really competitive, especially where Claudia is concerned. They're both apparently expert skiers, with Claudia having a slight edge over Kristy. Kristy doesn't seem to like that much, so she's determined to beat Claudia (and her team). No luck there, though; after Kristy pushes a bunch of kids who don't ski into the cross-country skiing competition and one of them breaks his ankle, her team ends up losing the war. Kristy is also the one who volunteers the BSC to rescue the elementary school kids after their bus accident, and she's also the one who offers their supervisory services during the week, while the kids' injured teachers are recovering. To her credit, she makes that second offer after Claudia suggests it. So, she's not totally responsible for the sitters working on their vacation.

Claudia basically just skis a lot. She develops a massive crush on her French ski instructor, and actually starts to think he might be interested in her. The trouble with that? He's at least 25, married, and the father of two. She eventually realizes that it would never have worked out between them (duh), and that's she's still got Will Yamakawa from Camp Mohawk waiting for her.

Jessi is in charge of the SMS talent show. It's the first time the role has ever been given to a 6th grader, and she's eager to prove herself to the other kids at school. She still feels that some don't accept her because of her race, and she wants to show them that she's more than that. She ends up performing something from Swan Lake during the show, and when it goes over well with the audience, Jessi finally feels like she's made a name for herself at SMS. She also has her very first "OMG racism!!!) moment in this book: one of the elementary school kids, Pinky, is awful. She's rude and nasty and bossy, and Jessi is sure it's because she's black. What Mallory tries to point out, and what Jessi doesn't see until the trip is almost over, is that Pinky is nasty to everyone. Pinky is homesick, and is trying to cover it up with attitude. No racism there.

Mallory goes all Harriet the Spy again, and it works out about as well as it did when she spied during the Bahamas trip. Mal says she's determined to make observations that are totally true, and not read anything into what she sees that's not really there. So, of course, she spends the whole week reading things into her observations that aren't really there. Mal decides that Ms. Halliday (gym teacher extraordinaire and one of the chaperones) is secretly in love with the vice principal after she sees her crying in the bathroom, and that the cook is trying to kill everyone after she sees him sprinkle something into a vat of soup. She also spies on Stacey and Pierre because she really wants to know what goes on when a boy and girl kiss. Has she never seen a movie? Do her parents never kiss in front of her? Do kids at school never kiss in the hallways? Anyway, Stacey and Pierre actually catch her watching them. If it were me, I'd be creeped out. Mal is also scared about the dance at the end of their week at the lodge, but it all goes okay in the end.

Thoughts and Things

  • Okay, let's play a game of who's who on the cover: Mal and Jessi are obvious, and the girl standing behind them is (I think) Kristy. Claudia is also obvious, Mary Anne is in the yellow coat and grey hat, Dawn in in the green coat and red beret, and Stacey is in the brown coat and blue beret. It took me forever to decide who was Kristy and who was Mary Anne, and I'm still not sure about my choice. I'm a little more confident about Dawn/Stacey, but they're kind of interchangeable, too.
  • Jessi really only had a couple of days to pull together the talent show. It might have been smarter to hold auditions before the trip; waiting until they were already at the lodge meant that some people who weren't chosen hauled all their props and costumes up there for nothing.
  • I can't believe that the Brunos let Logan call Mary Anne from Aruba. That must have been freakishly expensive. I also found it a little freaky that he said he'd die if she got snowed in and he couldn't see her when he got back. If it were me, that would be grounds for ending the relationship.
  • Why did Guy (Claudia's ski instructor) have to be French? That's so cliche. I'm sure there are hot ski instructors from other countries, too. :)
  • Speaking of Guy, I always think of that ski lodge episode of Frasier when I read this book. It's one of the best in the series, and it too involves a French ski intructor named Guy.
  • Pierre writes Stacey an "I love you" postcard after they get home, but the only time we hear about him for the rest of the series is when Mary Anne observes how easily Stacey forgets about him when she sees Toby again in Sea City. I guess that's actually pretty realistic, though. How often do 13-year-old vacation romances really last for more than a couple of postcards/letters/phone calls/emails?
  • Mary Anne was ridiculous for blaming her fight with Dawn on Dawn. The poor girl had a rotten day and needed a listening ear, but Mary Anne couldn't put her own issues aside long enough to be of any help. You think she would have learned not to be so self-centered after everything that happened with Logan in #25, but I guess not.
  • This book gets a lot of hate when Super Specials are discussed, but I like it. The lodge sounds awesome, and we don't see too many wintery vacations in the BSC. It's just this one, SS #7, and one of the Super Mysteries, I think.


  1. If you can get over the ridiculous "let's have the BSC take care of all of these chaperoneless children!" plot point, then this one isn't that bad.

  2. I think I only read this once or maybe not at all...weird! I really need to go back and read it. For some reason the winter super specials kind of turned me off. I hate cold weather. Snowbound was fun, though.

  3. Has anyone noticed that Stoneybrook Middle school takes their students on a lot of trips? Ski lodge, Europe, Salem, Hiawii.And how the BSC (or most of it) goes on every single one? Wouldnt their be like some sort of waiting list or transfer system? Like 6 graders go to Salem, 7 graders go to haiwii,8 goes to Europe... Or did I just delete the purposes of most of the Super spiecials?

  4. Mary anne= arggghhh bleh grrrr. Soooo annoying in this book. Get a grip honey please, you'll live. Otherwise i love this book. The children plot seemed a bit long winded at times and I felt bad for Dawn but it's is a good book. I actually get a bit bored with the Super Specials- any of them. It feels as though I have to take a huge breathe of energy to start reading and get through them. However, still like them :) Love this blog by the way :D