Dawn is super excited when her science class starts studying ecology. She's always had a passion for the environment, and now is her big chance to show it. Each student is going to do a project on how they can help save the planet, and Dawn is chomping at the bit to get started. After a sitting job at the Barretts and seeing how into all things ecology they are, Dawn gets an idea. If the Barretts are so enthusiastic about the environment, other kids probably will be, too. Why not teach a class on things kids can do to help the earth? She realizes pretty quickly that she'll need help, so she recruits Stacey. Stacey has the same teacher as Dawn (she's in a different class, though) and likes Dawn's idea. They get approval from their teacher to work together, and get to work right away.
Their first step is to call potential students and see if they'll be interested. Good thing their first call is to Kristy, because Kristy's able to point out the fact that they'd settled practically NO details regarding when/where/how. They take a little time and figure those things out before making any more calls. When all that's done, they have thirteen students for their class. Things go well at first; both Stacey and Dawn are good teachers, and the kids are into it. Soon, though, things take an ugly, ugly turn. Dawn becomes a total Environment Nazi. She scolds Claudia for eating candy that comes individually wrapped and for throwing away an aluminum can. She points her finger at Mary Anne for only using one side of the paper in the club record book, and is annoyed when the rest of the club members don't seem to be quite as...ummm...enthusiastic as she is. Dawn doesn't just limit her her crusading to the BSC; oh, no. She complains about the Styrofoam used in school lunches (as containers, not food), and yells at poor Erica Blumberg for daring to throw away a can. Bascially, she manages to piss off all of SMS.
While all this is going on, Dawn gets another brilliant idea. The only recycling center is in downtown Stoneybrook, and it's not always convenient for kids to get there by themselves. So, she decides that SMS should be the town's new recycling center, and comes up with a proposal to make that happen. Mrs. Gonzalez (her science teacher) likes the idea, as does Mr. Kingbridge. They put the idea, and the nomination of chairperson for the project, to a schoolwide vote. The students overwhelmingly approve the idea of SMS hosting a recycling center, but when the chairperson is announced, Dawn is really surprised to hear that it's Mrs. Gonzalez, not her. What went wrong?
After school that day, Dawn overhears Cokie and Grace talking about her. Apparently, hardly anyone voted for her to be chairperson because they're all sick of her pushy attitude when it comes to recycling issues. That's kind of eye-opening for Dawn; she honestly had no idea people were so irritated by her behavior. When Opening Day for the new recycling center comes, Dawn doesn't even want to go. She does, though, but is pretty dismayed when all the credit for the idea goes to Mrs. Gonzalez. Even Mary Anne, who's been just as annoyed with Dawn as everyone else, is surprised that Dawn gets no acknowledgement at all. After all, the whole thing was Dawn's idea.
Even after Dawn's comeuppance at the hands of Cokie and Grace, and even after getting ignored at the opening of the recycling center, she's still acting like Little Miss Bossy. She and Stacey are capping off their class by holding a Green Fair, so their students can demonstrate what they've learned and sell things like bird feeders and buttons to raise money for an organization to be named later. Dawn tells (not asks, but TELLS) the other members of the BSC that she expects them to help promote the event, and to help run it when it happens. Too bad Dawn didn't think to check in advance, because not everyone is available to do her bidding. The other girls kind of blow up at her; Stacey has been frustrated for weeks because Dawn has totally taken over the class, and has had the nerve to accuse Stacey of not doing her share of the work. Kristy calls Dawn's behavior "obnoxious," and Claudia points out how bossy she's been. Dawn had no idea that her friends were so upset with her (in spite of the fact that all of SMS feels the same way), and she apologizes. Mrs. Gonzales even offers her the chance to co-chair the recycling program...after the students vote on it. Dawn figures she's sunk, since no one wanted her before. but Mrs. Gonzalez points out that she's changed, and things will probably be different this time. Oh, she also gives Dawn and Stacey and A on their project.
Rating: 0 (I really hate this book)
Thoughts and Things
- I finally understand why this one is so universally hated...it was tough to get through, and I kind of wish I had that hour of my life back!
- I kind of agree with Dawn that writing on only one side of the paper is wasteful. I don't agree with the way she scolded Mary Anne about it, though. If Dawn had pointed her finger at me and my club record book the way she did to Mary Anne, I would have pointed a different finger right back at her...
- The Dawn/Stacey pairing was nice.
- Having Styrofoam figure so prominently in this book was weird...I hardly ever see it anymore.
- I totally remember the days before everyone had recycling pick-up at home....am I really that old???
- If there's anyone out there who actually LIKES this book, leave me a comment; I'd like to hear from you. I promise that no one will make fun of you; all opinions are welcome. :) I'm just curious since I've yet to meet any fan (or former fan) who has anything good to say about this one.