Friday, December 18, 2009

#63 Claudia's Freind Friend

Shea Rodowsky has just been diagnosed with dyslexia, and he's having a hard time of it. He feels stupid, and the adults in his life aren't having much luck getting through to him. He never wants to do his homework, and he gets discouraged so easily, so Mrs. Rodowsky decides that he needs some extra help. Who does she turn to? The BSC...of course. At least she has good reason: she thinks Shea might respond better when someone closer to his age is helping him than when an adult is.

Mary Anne is the first one chosen to give Shea a tutoring session. He's reluctant to even start his homework, even with Mary Anne there, and he gets discouraged right off the bat when she points out some mistakes he's made in one of his assignments. Shea doesn't even seem to believe Mary Anne when she tells him that he did good work. Not a happy kid, that's for sure. Jackie and Archie aren't exactly their normal selves, either. Mary Anne catches them watching as she and Shea try to work, but they don't seem to have any particular reason for doing so. Mary Anne just chalks it up to them being jealous of all the attention that their brother is getting, and doesn't think much of it since they're staying out of trouble.

Claudia took herself out of the running as a possible tutor because she herself is barely passing English, but she does end up sitting for the Rodowskys several times. The first time, things go even worse, Shea-wise, than they did for Mary Anne. Claud doesn't technically need to help Shea with his homework, since she's sitting and not tutoring, but she tries anyway. She makes all the same comments and platitudes about his situation that everyone else has made, and which haven't helped, because she's too chicken to say what she really feels. That changes at her next sitting job; Shea is feeling dumb (as usual), but instead of just telling him that he's not, Claudia shares some of her own struggles with school. Shea's intrigued, and asks for Claudia's help with his spelling. She's a bit reluctant, seeing as spelling is not exactly her strong point, but she agrees. Claudia notices that Shea has made up all sorts of little tricks to help himself get by, and some of them are pretty smart. Then, Claudia turns the tables and asks Shea to help her. They end up making a pretty good team,and Shea even ends up requesting Claudia's help specifically.

One of the reasons that Claudia was the right person to help Shea was, of course, her own struggles with school and learning. As I mentioned, she's barely passing English. Her teacher has told her that is she doesn't get a good grade on an upcoming test, she'll definitely fail the class. Stacey agrees to tutor Claud, which Claud is happy about at first. That changes with their first session. Stacey is uber-serious, and treats Claudia like she's a child. Stacey even gives Claudia the assignment of keeping a journal, which she will then read and correct. Claud actually goes above and beyond that and keeps two of them: one boring one for Stacey to read, and one real one where she basically writes about how miserable she is being tutored by her. Claud gets more and more frustrated at her supposed best friend, until she finally blows up at Stacey. They stop speaking, and don't start again until Stacey accidentally reads Claudia's secret journal and realizes that she was being a complete tyrant.

The members of the BSC have also been getting mysterious notes. They're always left on Claudia's door while a club meeting is going on, they always say things like "you're the best." Each and every club member is sure (at first) that those notes are meant just for her, and are from a guy who's trying to get up the nerve to ask her to the upcoming Spring Dance at the Stoneybrook Community Center. Never mind the fact that the notes are always addressed to the ENTIRE BSC. They get one final note that's different from the others; it asks the BSC to appear at the Rosebud Cafe for a treat that weekend. By that time, the girls think that Cokie and Grace are responsible for the notes, and figure that they're in for more of a trick than a treat. The BSC members decide to fight fire with fire, and on the big day, they dress in their weirdest outfits and bring a bunch of joke stuff with them. Imagine their surprise when trhey arrive at the Road Spud to find not Cokie, Grace, and trickery, but a bunch of their sitting charges. They were the ones who had been sending the notes, and they really DID just want to give the BSC a treat. The mystery of Jackie and Archie's weird behavior is also solved: They weren't jealous of their brother. They were studying the BSC members so they could draw pictures of them. After a quick bathroom trip to try and make themselves look a little less odd, the BSC enjoys a nice afternoon with the kids.

Rating: 2

Thoughts and Things
  • So...who says the title exactly like it's written, by saying the word "friend" twice? I do!

  • This book felt like it was all subplot....

  • I can't believe that the Kishis let Claudia get away with being tutored by a friend without kicking up more of a fuss. I was a horrible math student in high school, and in danger of failing one year. I asked a friend of mine, who was EXCELLENT at math, to help me study, and my mom hit the roof. She calmed down when I ended up passing the class.

  • Man, these ghosties really can't make up their minds about exactly where Stacey and Sam are in their relationship. In this book, he's apparently reverted back to teasing her endlessly to prove he likes her. Geez.

  • This whole Shea plot was very reminiscient of the Buddy Barrett tutoring storyline from back in book #29. Nice recycling; Dawn would be proud!


  1. I like to pretend it's Claudia's Fiend.

  2. I think the title was about Sheas spelling.

  3. Anybody wonder why if Shea thought up lots of tricks to help him why he needs a tutor in the first place?Plus why not hire a professional to help Shea

  4. Personally, I loved this book because I was basically Shea Rodowsky because I have a VERY rare condition which caused me to have Dyspraxia (and I was tested for Dyslexia at one point) I distinctly remember enjoying how the BSC was helping Shea with his reading issues because 1 i helped a girl I used to babysit for - actually I discovered that she had Dyslexia, there was a boy with the condition in my class at school and I asked him about it and did a little research and then the next time I babysat for the little girl I had her do the writing part of the drama we were going to be performing for our parents... she was 9 and she was still printing (most 9 year old children are capable of cursive) and she spelled everything literally. Later that night i casually asked her mother if we could talk in private and I confessed my suspicion but if I hadn't read this book right before this conversation took place I would never have figured it out.