There's big news in the Kishi family: not only are Russ and Peaches (Claudia's favorite aunt and uncle) finally having a baby, but they're moving back to Stoneybrook! Since their new house won't be ready for month, they're invited to stay with the Kishis. Claudia is really excited about both the move and the new baby; she even asks Mary Anne to give her knitting lessons so she can make a blanket for her new cousin.
At first, Claudia loves having Peaches around. They go shopping for baby stuff together, and then decide to go to the movies on the spur of the moment. Claud is more than happy to put off doing her homework to spend time with her aunt...at least at first. Then, it starts to happen all the time. First, Peaches wants to cook a gourmet dinner for the Kishi family, and she wants Claudia's help with the grocery shopping, planning, cooking and serving. Then, Peaches needs Claud to look at baby catalogues with her, and to help her with pre-natal excersises. Claudia's worried about her grades, but she just can't say no to Peaches. The last straw comes late one Friday night, when Peaches wakes Claudia up at 11:30pm and asks her to go for a pizza. They go, but don't leave a note for the Kishis. When they get home, Claudia's mother is up and FURIOUS. The bulk of her wrath is directed at Claudia, about not only leaving in the middle of the night without leaving a note but for her slipping grades as well. Claud finally snaps; she yells that she's trying to keep up with her homework, but that every time she tries to sit down and study, Peaches needs something. Claudia runs off to her room without giving anyone a chance to reply.
Things are cordial but tense between Claudia and Peaches after Claudia's outburst, but Peaches doesn't really stop asking Claud to do stuff with her. Peaches can see that Claudia is stressed out, and calls her a "sulky teenager" and tells her to get over herself. After that, Claudia doesn't even want to finish the blanket she started, but Mary Anne encourages her to keep working on it, even though she's mad at Peaches. After all, the blanket is for the baby, and Claud isn't mad at him/her.
Claudia eventually realizes that she's not being a particularly good friend and niece to Peaches, so she comes home from a sitting job, intending to apologize. When she gets there, she finds the house empty except for a sad Janine. Mr. and Mrs. Kishi and Russ and Peaches are all at the hospital; Peaches had a miscarriage. Claudia feels awful; she's sure her outburst made Peaches so upset that she los the baby. When Peaches comes home from the hospital the next day, Claudia apologizes to her. Peaches assures her that it's not her fault, and that those things just happen sometimes, as sad as it is. Claudia shows her the blanket she'd been working on, and tells Peaches that she'll save it for the next baby.
Subplot: the BSC has just started sitting for Natalie Springer, who has friendship issues. She doesn't seem to have any her own age, and she clings to the members of the BSC instead. The club comes up with ideas to help her make friends, but when they watch Natalie interact with other kids; it's obvious why she can't make any friends on her own. Natalie is bossy and demanding, and tends to get shut out of activities because of it. The girls come up with some ways of helping Natalie overcome her bad friendship habits, and by the end of the book, she's bonded with Becca and Charlotte.
Thoughts and Things
- The company that helps Peaches and Russ move into their new house is Bohren's Movers. Kristy wore a Bohren's t-shirt way back in #7. There's some continuity for you!
- I had to have pizza for dinner last night after reading this book.
- When Claudia first tells Mary Anne that she wants to make a blanket, Mary Anne tells her that a blanket is too tough and that she should try booties instead. I don't know much about knitting, but wouldn't a blanket actually be easier? After all, you have to knit booties into an actual shape; a blanket is just square. Maybe someone out there who knits can set me straight....
- When Claud tells the BSC about Peaches' pregnancy, they all decide they're going to help her by taking her for walks, playing classical music for the baby, and speaking French to it. Do they really think a pregnant woman that most of them don't even know is going to want the help of a bunch of 13-year-olds?
- Are Peaches and Russ supposed to be rich? It seemed like Peaches spent an awful lot of money in this book...