For things like Persian cats that
Cost 400 bucks.
The company that Mr. Pike works for is in financial trouble, and he loses his job. The Pike family is all set to tighten its belt by foregoing allowances, only buying necessities, and having Mallory baby-sit for free, and Mrs. Pike is going to be registering with a temp agency. Mal is glad to pitch in, but she's scared about what's going to happen to the family, and scared of her dad (getting laid off has made him cranky). She figures her siblings are probably scared, too, so she forms the Pike Club. They come up with even more ways to save money, like not leaving the lights on, and (per Claire's suggestion) only using one Kleenex to blow their noses. :) Banding together and coming up with ways to contribute helps the Pike kids feel a little better about things.
Not long before Mr. Pike lost his job, the Delaneys called the BSC for a regular, 3-day-a-week sitter for a month. Kristy originally took the job, but agrees to give it to Mal instead. The big news in the Delaney house is their new in-ground swimming pool. Max and Amanda like swimming, and they like having their friends swim with them, but it becomes pretty clear that some kids are only pretending to like them in order to use the pool. To figure out who their real friends are, the Delaneys pretend that there's a new pool rule in effect: no swimming when there's a sitter in charge. The kids that come over anyway are real friends, and the ones that don't, aren't.
Mallory can't help but contrast her situation (the Pike only getting what they really need) with the Delaneys (they have everything they want and more). She does feel a little bit connected to them, though: the Delaneys and the Pike kids are in the process of finding out who their real friends are. Mal and her siblings have been teased and excluded at school because their dad is out of work, and are learning to appreciate those who've actually stuck by them during their tough times.
Mr. Pike eventually finds another job. Over a celebratory dinner, Pike kids mention how relieved they are that they're not going to lose the house. Mr. Pike reassures them that they wouldn't have, even if he hadn't found a job; he'd been getting severance pay from his old company. The Pike kids are a little exasperated when they find that out; they'd put an awful lot of work into earning and saving money. Also, Mal hosts her very first BSC sleepover, at which they prank call some of the girls who'd been meanest to her. Sweet revenge. :)
Thoughts and Things
- If Mr. Pike was getting severance pay, why did they Pike parents take all the money that their children earned? From they way they discussed things over their celebration dinner, it sounds like they did just that. That seems kind of wrong....
- Mal mentions that she's only allowed to wear gold hoops or dots in her ears, yet one of Mrs. Pike's conditions for letting Mal get her ears pierced in #21 was that she not stick to boring stuff.
- Here's another mystery: it was Halloween in the previous book, yet in this one, it's pool weather. That much time doesn't usually pass between BSC books.
- Is having an unemployed parent really something that would cause kids to tease each other?
- If Mr. Pike's company was having such trouble, maybe they shouldn't be paying for families of 10 people to go on cruises to the Bahamas and Disney World. ;) Heck, maybe that's WHY they ended up in dire straits!