Thursday, July 30, 2009

#12 Claudia and the New Girl

There's really no need for me to write a poem for this one when Dawn already did such a good job of it:

Traitor, traitor.
Claudia - we hate 'er!
Traitor, Traitor.
So long, see you later!
Good-bye, Claudia.


Claudia is spending an awful lot of time with Ashley Wyeth, the new girl in school. Ashley's a dedicated artist, and Claudia feels that she's finally found someone who understands that side of her. Pretty soon, Claudia starts spending all her time with Ashley. She misses BSC meetings, ignores her other friends, and even lies to Stacey once about why she has to miss a shopping trip. That's where all the traitor stuff comes in; I don't think it was the fact that Claudia made a new friend that upset them. It was the fact that Ashley (who had no interest in anyone but Claudia) was taking over her life. Claudia eventually realizes that she doesn't want to focus only on art and Ashley, and all is once again right in BSC-land. :)

Thoughts and Things

  • Ashley dresses like a hippie, which everyone thinks is weird. Just wait until the early 90's,'ll be wearing some of the same stuff.
  • This book always used to make me want to do something artistic, even though I'm not exactly a Claudia when it comes to stuff like that.
  • Is that Archie on the cover? He looks too young to be Shea or Jackie. Oh, and yay for Claudia looking somewhat Japanese. She doesn't always on the earlier covers.
  • I loved when the club raided Claudia's junk food...and now I'm hungry. :)
  • Claudia's English class is reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and A Wrinkle in Time. I wish my English classes had read fun stuff like that!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#11 Kristy and the Snobs

Kristy and Shannon
Enemies at first, then friends
Bonded over dogs
The Thomases are more or less settled in Watsons' neighborhood, and everyone but Kristy has managed to make friends. She thinks the other girls in the neighborhood are snobs, and doesn't actually want to make the effort to get to know them. She and Shannon Kilbourne, in particular, develop an instant dislike to each other. They play some pranks on each other, but when Shannon confesses that she was jealous of Kristy's success with the BSC (and the jobs Kristy was getting that used to go to Shannon), they're on their way to a friendship. Shannon even gives the Thomases a puppy (welcome to the family, canine Shannon) after Louie dies. She also becomes the second alternate officer of the BSC.
In subplot news, Louie the collie isn't doing so well. He's having trouble moving, and it's clear he's in pain. The Thomases try pills and shots, but nothing works. They have a family meeting, and eventually make the decision to put him down. After all these years, I still can't read the descriptions of what Louie goes through (falling down the stairs, losing control of his back legs, etc) or the entire chapter where the Thomases take him to the vet for the last time without getting choked up. Heck, I'm getting choked up now, in the middle of the freaking library! BSC books should not have the power to do this to a relatively non-weepy and emotional adult.
Thoughts and Things
  • Shannon's uniform on the cover is hideous. Amanda's is okay, but why does she have blond hair, when she's described as a brunette in the book? I've always seen her as a blond, so I'm okay with that particular inconsistency.
  • Did you know that Priscilla the beautiful white Persian cat cost $400? :D
  • There's a lot of snark out there about AMM making doctors, police officers, and other professional people female for feminist reasons. It's actually realistic that the Thomases' vet would be a woman, though; there are far more female veterinary students than male ones these days.
  • Shannon went way too far when she called Kristy, claiming that the Papadakis house was on fire. What if Kristy had called the fire department, or asked someone who wasn't Shannon to do it? That's a good way to get fined.
  • Eh, I just can't pick on this one too much because of all the Louie stuff. The next one has way more material for that kind of thing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#10 Logan Likes Mary Anne!

There are an awful lot of BSC blogs out there. They're great; I'm a regular reader of quite a few of them. I've decided, though, that I need to do something to make mine a little different. So, from now on, I'll be including a little BSC haiku as a part of each post. Some might be good, most will probably be bad, but I'm hoping that you guys get a little entertainment value out of them. :) Here's the first one:

Look at the cover.
Mary Anne is in love with
Logan. Jackie, too.
Wait...that makes it sound like Mary Anne is in love with Jackie. Oh, well. :D


The BSC is starting 8th grade...for the first of many times. Mary Anne marks the momentous occasion by getting a bra and falling for Logan, who's just moved to Stoneybrook. She isn't the only one; the other sitters seem to have the hots for him, too. I wonder what would have happened if another BSC member decided she wanted him? Probably the same thing that happened when Claudia and Stacey fought over Jeremy in the Friends Forever series. Anyway, the girls are little overwhelmed by the amount of new clients who are calling for sitters. They'd advertised in Kristy's neighborhood as well as at a PTA meeting, and they're in over their heads. They discuss the problem at lunch one day, and who volunteers his services? Logan, the Dreamboat of SMS. They invite him to a meeting, but it's awkward from the start. Claudia tells a story about a bra strap which embarrasses everyone, and Logan starts to tell a story about toilet training, but can't finish it. I'm still not sure what he was about to say before he realized that he couldn't in front of girls. When the Rodowskys call wanting a sitter (this is their first appearance in the series), Kristy wants Logan to go on the job with one of the sitters. Mary Anne oh-so-coincidentally happens to be the only one free. The job goes pretty well (Mary Anne actually manages to talk to Logan instead of being completely tongue-tied), but at the next meeting, the girls agree that it would be really uncomfortable to have Logan at every meeting. They give Mary Anne the job of calling Logan to tell him that. She calls from home after the meeting, and Logan invites her to the Remember September Dance. Mary Anne's dad actually gives her permission to go, and even gives her his credit card to buy a new outfit. The whole club helps, and the famous cities skirt is purchased. I know I'm not the only one who wanted one of those back in the day! At the dance itself, Mary Anne actually manages to have a good time until her shoe flies off and nearly hits the vice principal in the head. She's mortified, and goes stomping off to the bleachers until the dance is over. I can't believe Logan was willing to put up with her after that; most 13 year old boys would be running the other way. I guess Logan is Super Boyfriend or something, because the relationship continues. Stacey pushes Mary Anne to invite him to a party she's having, which is going to involve a surprise cake in honor of Mary Anne's birthday (hence the necessity of her attendance). When the cake is brought out and Mary Anne finds herself the center of attention, she bolts. She waits at home for someone to come by and apologize to her for putting her on the spot like that, but it doesn't happen. The next day, Mary Anne asks her dad for a cat. He agrees, and she calls Logan to ask him to come to the shelter with her later that day. They talk about the party, everything is hunky dory, Logan meets them at the shelter, and Mary Anne adopts the other love of her life, Tigger. A few days later, the BSC is meeting when a job comes in that none of them can take. It's for a family with four boys, and the girls know that Logan would be perfect for the job. They don't want to give the job to a non-club member, so Mary Anne comes up with the whole associate member idea. It's nice to see someone other than Kristy have a good idea! Logan accepts, and all is right with the world. :)

Thoughts and Things

  • I can't believe Mary Anne thought that her friends owed her an apology for the surprise cake at the party. She's the one who ran away, which probably put a damper on the whole shebang. Good grief!
  • Are bra straps still embarrassing to 13 year olds? I'm guessing not...I've overheard some far more, um, adult conversations between kids that age. Times change, I guess.
  • Pete Black is dating Dorianne Wallingford in this book (that's where the bra strap story came from). He gets around; he dated Stacey, goes to a dance with Dawn, had a thing for Laine Cummings when she visited Stoneybrook, and asks Mary Anne out after she breaks up with Logan in Friends Forever.
  • The SMS students aren't supposed to use tape to put things up in their lockers; they use gum instead. Wouldn't gum be a lot harder to remove?
  • When I picture Cam Geary these days, I picture Zac Efron.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

#9 The Ghost at Dawn's House

This is my all-time favorite BSC book, no contest. I used to read it out loud to my siblings, who weren't even BSC fans. :)


The BSC members are back from their various family vacations, and eager to make the most of the rest of the summer. Dawn decides to really search for a secret passage in her house, and actually finds one by falling through a trap door in the floor of her barn. How did they not notice the door before? Was there hay on top of it or something? Anyway, as she's exploring it, she finds some old-looking items and convinces herself that not only were they left there by someone who was locked in the passage to die, but that her house and barn were now haunted by that person's ghost. The strange noises that she hears coming from the passage at all hours of the day and night only confirm her theory (or so she thinks). Mr. Ghostie gets an indentity when Dawn finds the legend of Jared Mullray in an old book of her grandmother's. The book doesn't specify the location of the Mullray farm, where Jared supposedly disappeared, but Dawn is sure it's her house. The mystery of the strange noises and the appearing/disappearing items is at least partially solved when Dawn catches Nicky Pike in the passage. His trouble with the triplets has gotten even worse, and he'd been going there to escape. Nicky was only using the passage during the day, though, so the nighttime noises are still a mystery. I think we're just supposed to assume that it's the wind or something, but I'm with Dawn on this one: I think it's a ghost. :)

Thoughts and Things
  • At Dawn's BSC slumber party, Mary Anne wants to watch Sixteen Candles. I would've pegged her as more of a Sound of Music type.
  • Dawn doesn't tell the other BSC members (besides Mary Anne) about the passage until the aforementioned slumber party. Why in the world would she keep it a secret, and why did Mary Anne not tell anyone? Secret passages are kind of a big deal, and the girls usually tell each other everything.
  • I can't even tell you how many secret passage searches I went on as a kid. I never found anything, but I probably made lots of friends and relatives think I was crazy for knocking on walls and looking for trapdoors everywhere.
  • Dawn describes her room as the calm eye in the center of a hurricane. In later books, her room's a mess. I definitely see her as more of an organized type. She'd have to be, with her mom being so out of it.
  • Nicky buys a fancy ice cream cone from the ice cream truck that costs a WHOLE DOLLAR. I wish fancy ice cream cones only cost a dollar in real life....
  • Fried baloney sounds absolutely revolting. I can't even stomach non-fried baloney.
  • The Trip-Man doesn't sound all that bad. I wouldn't date him or anything, but I think Dawn and Jeff were a little hard on him.
  • I ALWAYS wanted to look like Dawn does on this cover!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#8 Boy-Crazy Stacey

Oh, how I love the Sea City books! This one isn't my favorite, and it hasn't held up quite as well over time as some others in the series, but it still brings back good memories. :)


Stacey and Mary Anne are going to Sea City with the Pikes as mother's helpers, and it takes Stacey less than a day to spot the "guy of her dreams" (her words, not mine). The guy of her dreams is apparently 35 and a romance novel cover model, if we go by the picture on the front of this book. She officially meets him the next day, and finds out that his name is Scott, he's 18, and he likes to send underage girls out to run errands for him. Stacey starts spending all of her beach time chasing after Scott and fetching things for him, which doesn't make Mary Anne very happy. I'm on team Mary Anne this time: Stacey's getting paid, and Stacey should be working. Scott keeps leading Stacey on, though, and Stacey keeps following. When she and Mary Anne are given a night off, Stacey decides to buy him a present. She spends ten bucks on a heart-shaped box of candy (that's pretty pricey for a 13 year old baby sitter in 1987), and promptly sees Scott kissing another girl. She's crushed, but gets over it pretty quickly after meeting Toby. Toby is the cousin of Alex, a guy mother's helper who'd been helping Mary Anne pick up Stacey's slack all week. The four of them go out on a double date, Stacey gets her first kiss in the Tunnel of Luv, and is head over heels again. Toby is her new Prince least, he is until she meets Pierre at the ski lodge!

Thoughts and Things
  • I really, really like the Stacey-Mary Anne bonding.
  • When Kristy is sitting for Karen and Andrew, the little kids wash one of Watson's cars with steel wool. She gets blamed for it, even though she was dealing with an emergency and couldn't give them 100% of her attention. I never though that was fair.
  • I wonder if Mary Anne kissed Alex in the Tunnel of Luv? It's never mentioned, and it never specifically says that Logan was her first kiss. Hmmm....
  • This book is where the Nicky vs. the triplets stuff really starts, and where Byron is first made out to be the "sensitive" one. Those things remained pretty constant throughout the series.
  • Smithtown is totally something I'd be into; I wish we'd actually gotten to see it in one of the Sea City books. I guess I'm just a nerd about stuff like that. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

#7 Claudia and Mean Janine

I think this book gets the prize for the most misleading title in the whole series...


The BSC has decided to run a summer play group three mornings a week for some of their charges. I guess they didn't get enough of large groups of children in the last book. :) The usual sitting hijinks ensue; Karen makes Jenny Prezzioso believe that Andrew is a monster, and also scares an entire playground full of kids into thinking that aliens are going to invade the earth.

On the domestic front, things are not well in the Kishi household. Claudia is fed up with Janine's lack of help around the house and the way she always manages to make Claudia's activities seem less important than hers. When Mimi has her stroke, Claudia gets even more frustrated. She ends up dropping out of the BSC play group and switching around art classes to sit with and care for Mimi, while Janine is let off the hook. Um, Claudia? You volunteered. Janine tried, but you interrupted her. She focuses on school because that's what everyone tells her to do. She makes your life seem stupid because she's hurt when you won't try and understand her better. Claudia and Janine end up talking things out, and both agree to try a little harder to get along.

Thoughts and Things

  • It sounds like Elizabeth and Watson have been back from their honeymoon for at least a few days when this book starts, but Kristy and her family don't move to the mansion until the middle of the book. Those living arrangements must have been interesting, since all the Thomases were apparently still living in their old house. I guess Watson could have just been staying with them, but I doubt it; Karen and Andrew were with him at that point, and weren't at the Thomases' house.
  • Claudia thinks it's her fault that Mimi had a stroke, because she threw a tantrum right before it happened and was rude to her. I actually feel sorry for Claudia; it's not that uncommon for kids to feel responsible for things like that.
  • Stacey gets her hair cut to her shoulders. I'm not an expert on perms, but wouldn't fluffy, curly hair just look like a fro if it was that short? Mallory's hair was even shorter when she got it cut in #21, and I just can't imagine that working, either.
  • Lucy Newton is christened in this one. Do people have big, fancy christenings anymore, with the fancy white baby dresses and the big parties afterward? I don't know anyone who actually had one, or who did that for their child.
  • Claudia wears a snake bracelet to art class. I'd wear a snake bracelet almost anywhere. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

#6 Kristy's Big Day

(How did I not notice until just now that I'd used the wrong title on this post? Bad, bad blogger!)


It's the end of the school year, and Kristy is looking forward to her last summer on Bradford Court before moving to Watson's. That all changes when her mother is forced to move up her wedding from September to the end of June, which means they'll now be moving in July. In order to get everything ready in two and a half weeks, the Thomases and Brewers have family and friends coming in from out of town to help. They all have children, and the BSC volunteers to sit for them at Kristy's house so the adults can get busy at Watson's (wait...that doesn't sound right ;D ). I'm a fan of the group sitting excursions, and this is one of my favorites. The kids are cute, and the baby sitting adventures are fun to read about. The wedding goes well, with the exception of Mrs. Porter showing up right after the kiss and Karen screaming about witches and then biting Watson when he tries to shut her up. I don't hate Karen as much as some people, but even I thought that was a bit much. :)

Thoughts and Things

  • Kristy's house has a den and a rec room, but David Michael sleeps in a room that used to be some kind of closet, and Sam and Charlie share a room. Why couldn't the den or rec room have been converted into another bedroom?
  • Kristy's cousin Peter is randomly referred to as Pete for an entire chapter, but ONLY in that chapter.
  • It took Kristy and Karen 15 minutes at the florists to decide that their flowers should be yellow and white, in spite of the fact that their dresses are yellow. That kind of seems like a no-brainer to me.
  • Stacey has seen Mary Poppins 65 times. Wow.
  • Speaking of, when Nannie drops Stacey and her sitting group off at the theater to see Mary Poppins, she says she'll be back in two hours. Is she planning on waiting in the car for awhile? The movie is 139 minutes long, and they arrived well before it started. Also, one of the kids thinks she loses her admission money, and they apparently don't have enough to get her in unless they find it. Then, when they do go inside, all the kids have extra money for snacks. Couldn't they have just used some of the snack money to pay the admission?
  • There are only 14 chapters in this book instead of the usual 15.
  • I wish we'd seen more of Kristy's cousins during the series. I don't think they ever appear again, although they're mentioned.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

#5 Dawn and the Impossible Three


Dawn's been in the BSC for a few months now, and things are, for the most part, hunky dory. Kristy is still jealous of Dawn's friendship with Mary Anne, and keeps picking fights and trying to make her feel like an outsider. What a refreshingly 12-year-old thing to do; in a later book, they probably would have just talked things out over coffee or something. Anyway, Dawn makes an effort with Kristy, and they finally bond over some rope-swinging in her hayloft. Kristy even gives Dawn her official "alternate officer" title.

When she's not trying to win Kristy's approval, Dawn is sitting for the Barretts. The Barrett parents have just gone through an ugly divorce, and things are tough. The house is a mess, Mrs. Barrett is disorganized, and the kids are wild. Dawn helps out as much as she can, but starts to feel a little put-upon. She considers saying something to Mrs. Barrett, but every time she's about to do it, Mrs. Barrett compliments her or tells her how much the kids love her, and Dawn just can't bring herself to say anything. She finally decides that she's had it when Buddy disappears on her watch one day. He was with his father and not in any danger, but the experience scares Dawn so much that she finally speaks up. Mrs. Barrett, thanks to the intervention of 12-year-old Dawn, promises to be more organized and responsible.

Thoughts and Things

  • Dawn describes Claudia as "a little bit hard to get to know." Since when?
  • Mallory takes a brownie away from Marnie Barrett because she's allergic. If she's allergic, why was she eating a package of MnMs earlier with no apparent side effects?
  • Club dues are only 50 cents at the beginning of the book, and the whole club is planning to buy Kid-Kit supplies with the 10 dollars in the treasury. I don't ever remember things being that cheap...
  • Claudia's handwriting is completely different in this book (all of the first ones, really) than it was later in the series. I think hers changed the most.
  • Dawn says that her barn is small, but by the end of the Friends Forever series, it's big enough to renovate into a house. Maybe barns grow in Connecticut. :)
  • Mary Anne is redecorating her room and puts up a poster of London at night. I'd be all over that....
  • Speaking of Mary Anne, she's replaced her reading glasses with contacts. I'm a contact wearer, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be worth the time to have them for reading. You'd be taking them out and putting them back in all the time!
  • I wasn't all that fond of this book growing up because of all the vomiting that happens in one chapter. I was a total Stacey about stuff like that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#4 Mary Anne Saves the Day

In this one, the BSC gets in what might be the mother of all club fights. First, Kristy accepts a sitting job for Jamie and Lucy Newton without offering it to anyone else. Claudia calls her a job hog, which reminds the others of all the times that Claudia herself took jobs without offering them around. Stacey reminds everyone that she's from New York and doesn't need shy little babies (Mary Anne), stuck-up job hogs (Claudia), and bossy know-it-alls (Kristy) as friends. Mary Anne flies off the handle, calls everyone names, and storms home. Then she cries (big shock).

The next day, Mary Anne realizes that she's all alone for lunch. Kristy's taken over their group of friends, and she never really hung out with Stacey and Claudia's other friends. So, she sits by herself and is approached by a new girl...Dawn Schafer. Mary Anne lets Dawn think that all her friends are absent. Really? Why not just be honest about that? Oh, yeah...then Mary Anne wouldn't have been able to use Dawn to make Kristy jealous. Which she does. Multiple times. Dawn eventually figures it out, though.

Claudia and Mary Anne make up temporarily, but that's over when Claudia overhears Mimi calling her "my Mary Anne." I think Claudia kind of overreacted to that. I mean, she really freaked out. I can understand being a little mad or jealous, but good grief, Claudia!

The fight lasts about a month, until all four girls help out at Jamie Newton's birthday party. It's a mess; they don't communicate about where to put the children, and get into a shoving match when Mrs. Newton asks for one of them to go check on Lucy. The worst of it happens at cake time: Mary Anne starts things by pouring punch on Kristy, and mass hysteria ensues. Mary Anne decides that enough is enough, and calls a meeting for after the party. No one can remember who's mad at whom or why, so they apologize in unison. I remember them demonstrating that for one of the newer members in a later book (Jessi?), and it's going to drive me crazy until I can remember which book it is. Anyway, Mary Anne gets to host her first BSC party + Dawn. By this time, Dawn and Mary Anne have discovered that their parents were hot and heavy in high school, and (ever so convieniently) they're reintroduced to each other when Sharon drops Dawn off for the party. They make a date for dinner, Dawn joins the club, and we get our very first BSC pizza toast.

In other news, Mary Anne is having daddy issues. She isn't terribly close to her father, and is starting to feel stifled by his strict rules. She doesn't really make any headway with him until the Jenny Prezzioso incident (Mary Anne had to get her to the hospital). The Prezzioso parents call Richard later and compliment Mary Anne on the responible way she handled the situation, which makes him see that she really is growing up.

Thoughts and Things

  • This book contains some of the only mentions of religion in the series, until Abby joins. Mary Anne talks about her father including her mother in their dinnertime prayer, and about her own bedtime prayers (Ishe thinks blessing her mother at bedtime should be enough).

  • The late Mrs. Spier's name is Abigail in this book. It's Alma everywhere else.

  • The BSC ran meetings one member at a time when they were mad at each other. I wonder what did the Kishis thought of that. Did they even notice?

  • Adam and Jordan Pike want to put on a play about Chuck Norris. Hee hee hee. :D

  • Mr. Prezzioso gives Dawn and Mary Anne TEN. WHOLE. DOLLARS. each as a thank you for getting Jenny to the hospital when she got sick. Sigh. I remember when ten dollars was a big deal.

  • Mary Anne uses the word "midget" twice in one chapter. That would never fly today.

Friday, July 10, 2009

#3 The Truth About Stacey

Like I said last time, this one is tied with #2 for my favorite among the first four books. I might even give it a slight edge, if I had to pick only one. I love Stacey's "voice;" she comes across as more mature than the other members, but she still seems 12 years old. I also love the way that she sides with Kristy when it comes to doing anything to save the club, proving that even sophisticated New Yorkers need friends. :)


It's competition time for the BSC; a group of older girls has set up a rival sitting service called the Baby Sitters Agency. Parents call eithe Liz Lewis or Michelle Patterson (the "leaders" of the group), and those girls in turn find them a suitable sitter. Or, a not so suitable one, as we find out later. Kristy has all sorts of drastic ideas for saving the club, including giving jobs away to older siblings lower rates. I don't understand how their rates could get much lower; Kristy only made $3.50 from her job with the dogs in #1! I know this was the 80's, but sheesh...was it really common to make so little back then?

The BSC begins to lose clients to the new sitters, so they decide recruit new members. The two girls they end up with are spies from the Agency, though; they stick around just long enough to accept one BSC job each, which they never show up for. Needless to say, they're fired from the BSC.

Not long after the agency gets up and running, the BSC starts hearing reports from the the kids they sit for that the sitters aren't exactly on the up and up. Jamie Newton claims that one of his agency sitters brought her boyfriend over, and burned a hole in a chair cushion with a cigarette. Just a thought...cigarette smoke is a tough smell to get out of fabric. If someone was smoking in the house, wouldn't the Newton parents have noticed, especially since neither of them is a smoker? You'd think they would be extra sensitive to the smell. Jamie is also left outside on a cold day to play near the street without a hat or mittens, and Charlotte Johanssen's Agency sitters ignore her as well. After finding Jamie outside, the BSC decides to tell the Newtons what's been going on. Mrs. Newton is outraged, and decides to call other parents to tell them what's happened. The BSC wants to settle the score with Liz and Michelle, though. They do, leaving them once again with a monopoly on the Stoneybrook baby-sitting market.

In other news, Stacey's parents have been looking for a miracle cure for her diabetes ever since she was diagnosed. That was a rough time for Stacey, but her parents seem to have taken it even worse than she did. They keep dragging her from doctor to doctor, looking for a miracle cure, and they've scheduled more tests with yet another one. Stacey isn't into it, but her parents basically tell her that she doesn't have a choice. Before leaving for New York for the tests, she decides it's time to take charge of her own health in whatever way she can. She gets Dr. Johannsen to help her schedule an appointment with a sensible doctor (not the holistic quack that her parents are taking her to see), who manages to convince the McGills to lay off the search for a miracle. They finally see the light, and agree to include Stacey in any future decisions that are made about her care. Stacey also makes up with her former New York best friend, Laine Cummings, who she'd been fighting with since she got sick.

Thoughts and Things

  • Lucy Newton is born in this book. It was published in late 1986, which means that Lucy would now be approaching her 23rd birthday. I feel so old...
  • Stacey goes to a dance with Pete Black in this book, making her forget about Sam Thomas until he romances her at Shadow Lake.
  • Stacey's parents didn't tell anyone but family what was wrong with Stacey, so she didn't, either. Is diabetes something that people really try and keep secret? Stacey wouldn't have had half the problems she did with her friends if she'd just told them why she was having so many issues. I know 6th graders (she was in 6th when she was diagnosed) aren't normally known for their maturity, but I'm pretty sure it would have been better just to say something.
  • Stacey's Kid-Kit has Colorforms in it. I loved those back in the day...are they still sold anywhere?
  • Polly's Fine Candy sounded pretty freaking awesome.
  • Why is Stacey so chunky on the cover when she's supposedly really thin?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

#2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

I love this book; it's tied with the next one as my favorite among the first four "original" books. All the storms and the spooky sitting jobs always make me wish it was fall and that I lived in New England. It also (kind of) makes me miss stupid middle school crushes; they were a lot more fun than I realized at the time!


It's late October, and the weather is typically dark and stormy. After finishing her homework, Claudia has Mimi sit for the portrait she's been working on. They have nice conversation about sibling relationships, in which Mimi advises Claudia to try and make time for Janine if she wants their friendship to grow. Seriously, if Claudia had just DONE that, most of book #7 wouldn't have been necessary at all! Anyway, Claudia is also in major crush mode over Trevor Sandbourne, and she and Stacey commiserate via the phone about that crush and Stacey's crush on Sam Thomas. The club gets together that weekend, and out of boredom, Claudia confesses her undying love for Trevor to Kristy and Mary Anne. They're a little hurt that she told Stacey first, but they get distracted by an article in the paper about the Phantom Caller. Apparently, someone has been been calling people and hanging up when someone answers. Once no one answers, he robs the house. Claudia remembers that she got two hang up calls at a recent sitting job, and the BSC goes into panic mode. The girls call an emergency meeting of the club, and make up their famous ribbon code for alerting each other (and the police) or any problems when they're sitting. Frankly, if I were alone in a house and someone was breaking in, I'd just call the police myself rather than waste time calling a friend.

Back at school, everyone seems to know about Claudia's crush on Trevor, but no one knows how the word got out. Claudia originally suspects Kristy, but Kristy denies it on the grounds that she doesn't care about stuff like that and would never voluntarily speak to Alan Gray, who was teasing Claudia earlier.

Both Kristy and Claudia continue to get funny calls, although no one else in the club does. When the Goldmans (the Kishis' next door neighbors) are robbed, Phantom-style, the BSC becomes even more convinced that he's in Stoneybrook and out to get them. Things come to head when Kristy and Claudia are sitting for the Newtons and Feldmans, and they see a prowler outside the house. They call 911 (no ribbon codes this time), and the officers catch Alan Gray sneaking around the house. It turns out that he had been the one calling Kristy, because he wanted to ask her to the Halloween Hop and didn't know how. She agrees to go, in spite of the fact that he's basically been stalking her. That solves the problem of Kristy's mysterious calls, but what about Claudia? Well, anyone with half a brain could see that one coming a mile away; it was Trevor. Alan just didn't mention him because he didn't want to get him in trouble with the police. He likes Claudia as much as he likes her, they go to the Halloween Hop together, and live happily ever after. Or not; we don't hear much about Trevor after this.

Thoughts and Stuff

  • Clock tights and lobster earrings!

  • Janine apparently has candy hidden in her room, too. Was this ever mentioned again in any book???
  • The only middle school dance I ever went to was a Halloween one, and I didn't have nearly as much fun as Claudia did.

  • Sam takes a girl with yellow and green spiked hair and gloves with no fingers to the movies, which breaks Stacey's little 12-year-old heart. This girl sounds like a reject from an 80's music video, and she doesn't strike me as Sam's "type." I always thought of him as a little bit preppy.

  • The little blond Marshall girl on the cover? Kirsten Dunst was the model. I wish I could remember where I read that....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

#1 Kristy's Great Idea

Returning to the earlier books is always interesting, since they're just so different from the later ones. The girls actually seem 12, they're voices are realistic and distinct, and their lives outside of baby-sitting seem a little more well-rounded. I actually wish they'd kind of kept to the groups of friends that they hung out with during these earlier books; some good plots could have come from that. Onto the book...

It's a hot Tueday afternoon at the beginning of seventh grade. Kristy is chomping at the bit to get home to her air-conditioned house, and when the bell finally rings, she jumps out of her seat and cheers. Her teacher asks her to stay after class, and the famous essay on decorum is born. :) I remember thinking that 100 words was brutal when I was younger; little did I know. Later that night, Kristy's mom is having trouble finding a sitter for David Michael. It's then (as Chapter 2 tells us in EVERY SINGLE BOOK) that Kristy gets the idea for the BSC. She tells Mary Anne about the club via their flashlight code, and they meet with Claudia and eventually Stacey. They put up fliers, put an ad in the paper, and then gather for their first official meeting. It's cute how excited they are; I would have been the same way at 12. The girls notice something odd about Stacey, though; she never wants to share the treats the Claudia passes around, and she's caught lying about being at home over a weekend that she claims to have been in New York. She finally confesses the truth at the end of the book; the diet isn't anorexia, as Kristy thinks, but diabetes.

Meanwhile, Kristy's mother and Watson are getting more and more serious. Kristy doesn't like Watson much, and won't have a thing to do with Karen and Andrew until she's forced to baby-sit for them in an emergency. By the time that Watson and Elizabeth (or Edie, according to this book) get engaged, Kristy's mostly okay with the idea, and has even promised to be Karen and Andrew's main baby-sitter until the wedding.

Stuff I Noticed
  • First Claudia outfit: "She was wearing short, very baggy lavender plaid overalls, a white lacy blouse, a black fedora, and red high-top sneakers without socks." I totally would have worn that...
  • First jobs through the BSC: Kristy sat for Pinky and Buffy, the Saint Bernards (and developed her hatred for pet-sitting), Stacey sat for David Michael (and fell in LUV with Sam Thomas), Mary Anne sat for Karen and Andrew, and Claudia sat for Jamie Newton and the Feldmans.
  • Did you know that sheep are in?
  • Kristy confronts Stacey about her lies, which leads to the first BSC fight (it's patched up in about 24 hours).
  • "I hoped that Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and I - the Baby Sitters Club - would stay together for a long time." Is more than 20 years long enough for you, Kristy? ;)

That's all for now...I actually have the first three books read and ready for recapping, so look for #2 soon!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hello, all!

Growing up, I was seriously into the Baby Sitters Club. I tried to copy their outfits, I hid candy around my room, and I diagnosed myself with diabetes more times that I care to remember. I always wanted to read the books in publication order, but I kind of outgrew the series before I could collect them all and do that. As an adult, I got swept up in the whole wave of nostalgia surrounding old YA series, and decided to finally finish my collection and do that read-through. That's what this blog is about; I'm going to go through the entire series, start to finish, and blog every outfit, dance, and Sea City trip for your enjoyment! The BSC will be the primary focus, but I haven't ruled out blogging about other YA books (especially other Ann M. Martin books) if I need a break from BSC-land. It's a big project, but I promise to update often. Expect the first few posts soon!

Does the world really need another BSC blog? Probably not, but it's getting one anyway. :) Enjoy the ride!