Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#98 Dawn and Too Many Sitters


Dawn and Jeff are spending the summer in Stoneybrook. Dawn is pretty excited to be back on the East Coast, until she finds out about the trip that SMS is going to be offering in July. They've made a deal with a tour company that will allow the school to get a big discount on a trip to Hawaii, provided they bring 50 kids (plus chaperones). If they don't get 50 SMS to sign up, they'll take non-SMS students. The total cost of the trip is $500 per student; half of that is due at the end of the sign up period as a deposit. Mary Anne and Dawn both want to go, so they work on their parents at dinner the day they find out about the trip. Sharon isn't thrilled with the idea of letting Dawn go all the way to Hawaii when she's just paid for her to fly from CA to Stoneybrook, but she and Richard agree to think about it. The next day, Dawn and Mary Anne get the good news: they can go on the trip. Their parents will pay half the cost for each of them, but they're going to have to earn the rest. The other BSC members (the ones who are going to Hawaii, anyway) all have the same deal with their parents.

Meanwhile, Jeff and the Pike triplets have decided that they want to be baby-sitters as well. The BSC agrees to take them on as BITs (baby-sitters in training). Each BSC member will take one BIT with them on on each of their jobs, and then pay the BIT 25% of what they earn. Things don't exactly go well, even from the start: the boys don't really want to go to meetings, they don't like changing diapers, they eat all of Claudia's junk food, and they argue with the kids. Sometimes, they actually add to the BSC's work load rather than lightening it. The club members start to feel like it's a little unfair that they have to PAY the BITs when they're doing more harn than good.

When they're not wrangling BITs, Dawn, Mary Anne, and the others are busy trying to earn the rest of their Hawaii money. Dawn tries selling health food in downtown Stoneybrook, but she doesn't have many takers. Mary Anne tries having a yard sale, and to Dawn's surprise, actually unloads a lot of her old junk. The whole BSC starts doing yard work for their clients, and Logan picks up some extra shifts at the good old Rosebud Cafe. Then, the big day comes: the end of the sign up period and the day the deposts are due. It's also the day that Dawn will find out if there will be a space for her on the trip. Luckily,. there is; Dawn is the only one from the non-SMS waiting list to make the cut.

Back to the BITs. The situation with the boys hasn't really improved much. Byron DID skip a little league game to keep a sitting committment, but then Jeff spends most of a sitting job arguing with Haley Braddock. The girls in the club decide that the experiment isn't working out, and thet the BITs have to go. Since Dawn and Mallory are the ones who are actually related to the boys, they get the job of telling them the bad news. Dawn is sure that Jeff is going to be traumatized, so she keeps putting off telling him. Finally, Jeff comes to her and tells her that they boys really don't WANT to sit anymore; they want more time for fun stuff. So, everything works out there, but the BSC still needs to earn quite a bit of money for their trip. The 4th of July is coming up, so the club decides to hold some games, face painting, and a concession stand at the town's celebration. That brings them MUCH closer to their goal, and when that money is added up to everything they've made sitting, they make their goal with two days to spare until the money is due. It's off to Hawaii for the BSC!

Rating: 3

Thoughts and Things
  • I wonder how parents felt paying for all the games and stuff at the 4th of July celebration when the BSC usually hosts things like that for free?
  • I kind of love that Matthew Hobart thinks that the "Rebellutionary War" was when fireworks were invented. :)
  • $500 for a 10 day trip to Hawaii is pretty darn reasonable, even in 1996. That price includes a plane ticket (from the East Coast, no less), hotel, and three meals a day.
  • OF COURSE Dawn is the only non-SMS student to make the cut....
  • Why didn't Anna want to go on the trip?
  • The idea of 10 year old baby-sitters is just ridiculous. Jessi actually mentioned that near the end of the book, which is funny, since it's totally possible that she's less than a year older than some of them.
  • This is the last regular series book narrated by Dawn. She gets one more mystery, and then she's out of the series except for some Super Special chapters.


  1. I'm with you. $500 trip to Hawaii? Impossible. But I know I'd be there.
    Where I'm from, all school-sponsored trips need an educational benefit. What is this one?
    And why would the girls take on BITs (and give up 25% of their earnings) when they're trying to earn extra money for the trip?

  2. I have no clue, Alison, but it's odd. I always felt like eleven would be a better age to be kind of a sitter in training. You know, maybe watch your own siblings when your parents are away, but it doesn't quite seem old enough for real sitting. I'm just remembering myself and classmates in 5th grade. And sometimes I picture 11 year olds doing stuff like taking care of tiny babies and I cringe.

  3. Being 11 and a full-on babysitter always made me cringe. I know how I was in 6th grade and there was no way I would do it. I know kids are different but I also wouldn't let an 11 year olf watch my 1 year daughter either. And Dawn is the only non-SMS student to go? It would have been awesome if Dawn was shut out. Or even if one of the girls didn't come up with enough money and their parents couldn't cover the difference. I know, I'm dreaming.

  4. They took a few educational tours when they were there...but that's all in the next book. :)

  5. I've been reading this blog on and off since Saturday! Funny stuff!

    I got this copy when it just came out, at a book signing actually and Ann M. Martin signed it. It was such an exciting day for my 13 y.o. self, even though I was starting to grow out of the books then.

  6. As for the ten year old baby sitter thing, these books were so misleading. I assumed I could baby sit at age eleven. My mom convinced me to just try to be a mother's helper. I typed up flyers and said how old I was. No one called. I finally got my first job at age fourteen and I've been baby sitting since. I'm just saying that a lot of parents wouldn't trust an eleven-thirteen year old with a young child all by themselves. I was very lucky at fourteen to find a couple to let me be a mother's helper to twins and then an actual baby sitter to a three month old and a girl just over the age of one. Now I'm almost seventeen and I have a few steady clients, finally.

  7. "I kind of love that Matthew Hobart thinks that the "Rebellutionary War" was when fireworks were invented."
    Oi don't knock the aussies!

  8. I am 11, and am allowed to sit for my little sister,but I have to wait until I'm 13 for real sitting.

  9. I would totally not listen to a sitter who wasn't even a year older than me. Go Hayley