Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dawn's Book

What a coincidence...Dawn's school in California has given their 8th graders the EXACT SAME AUTOBIOGRAPHY PROJECT that the SMS 8th graders have to do....

West Coast Beginnings

Dawn is born, then Jeff is born. In preschool, Dawn and her little friend Ruthie build Paris out of blocks every day, only to have it get wrecked when it's someone else's turn to use them. They get the brilliant idea to glue their tower together, but their teacher makes them wash all the glue off when she finds out what they've done.

The New Girl on the Block

Dawn is 6, and really wants a best friend that lives in her neighborhood. When the Winslows move in, she thinks she may have found that friend. Too bad the Winslows are, in Dawn's eyes, weird. They wear hippie clothes, dance in their yard without shoes, and are planting flowers in the shape of a peace sign in their front yard. At first, Dawn doesn't want much to do with them, because she's afraid of what everyone else will think if she's seen with the Winslows. Then, Sharon announces that the two of them will be taking Sunny and her mother shopping. Dawn isn't thrilled, but when a big storm hits, she's pretty glad to have Sunny around. Sunny stays calm, and when the girls discover that their mothers got stuck in an elevator, she uses Morse code to talk to Mrs. Winslow and find out that everything is okay. From that day on, Dawn doesn't care what people think of the Winslows, or about Dawn herself for hanging out with them.

The Golden Anniversary

Dawn's now 10. Granny and Pop-Pop are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and the whole family (Dawn, her parents, Jeff, and Granny and Pop-Pop of course) are going to celebrate in San Francisco. Right off the bat, Dawn notices that things seem to have gone sour for her grandparents. They don't seem to want to spend any time together, and they're always arguing and teasing each other. Dawn is really upset that they don't seem to be in love after all those years of marriage, but her theory that they don't like each other goes right out the window on the night of their big celebratory dinner. Pop-Pop is VERY late meeting them at the restaurant, which is totally unlike him. Granny is obviously VERY worried about him, and the way they are with each other when Pop-Pop finally DOES show up (he'd been told that dinner started later than everyone else thought it did) shows Dawn that they're still in love. :)


Dawn is 12, still living in California, and terrified of fire. She lectures her family on fire safety, and even wakes them up in the middle of the night for an escape drill. One day, she's sitting for Clover and Daffodil Austin when their kitchen catches fire due to faulty wiring. Dawn stays calm in spite of her fears, gets the girls out of the house, and calls 911. The fire is contained in the kitchen, and no one is hurt. Dawn finds that she's less scared of fire after that experience, and learns that she can stay calm in that kind of crisis.

A New Life on the East Coast

Not long after Dawn moves to Connecticut, she sits for some new BSC clients, the Lazars. Sandra, their daughter, is having some trouble with reading, and Dawn finds a letter from her school stating that she needs to repeat second grade. Sandra brings this up to her mom after a sitting job, and Mrs. Lazar is not happy with Dawn for snooping. Dawn is afraid that she'll call the BSC to complain, and Dawn will be kicked out, but Mrs. Lazar simply never calls the BSC again.

Rating: 3

Thoughts and Things
  • Dawn gets and A- for content and a B for presentation on her project.
  • Explain to me how Granny can be in her 50's or 60's in The Ghost at Dawn's House, and in her 80's in this book. Does she age backwards like Benjamin Button???
  • This was a pretty boring book overall, but I DID like seeing the fire story that Dawn brought up so many other times near the beginning of the series.
  • So there are notes included that Dawn, Jill, and Maggie passed back and forth to each other in elementary school, but when Sunny surprised Dawn with the We Love Kids Club in Dawn on the Coast, Dawn didn't seem to know the other two that well. There definitely wasn't any mention made of them having all been in elementary school together....


  1. This was the first Portrait Book I ever read. It wasn't all that fun, you're right. I agree that I liked finally seeing that fire story.

    Aging is so weird in these books. The girls can have summer after summer and Granny gets younger? It's like the Twilight Zone in there.

    I totally forgot about the Lazar story till now! I remember that little girl liked doing fake cooking show and how sad she was when Dawn let the cat out of the bag. I remember that being one of the few really memorable sitting moments. Usually they were so perky and "let's do a project!" This felt more real.

  2. Never read this one. The Lazar story sounds so odd, because things like that *never* happen to the BSC!

  3. I never read this one, but having Sunny move into Dawn's neighborhood messes with my inner rationalizations of the BSC universe. I liked to imagine Sunny's hippie family having lived in that house for years as an explanation for how/why they would live in what is clearly intended to be an yuppie-ish, upscale area (the assumption being that the neighborhood changed around them). I loved picturing the Winslow's house with an overgrown yard and wind chime sculptures amidst 80s-style modern houses and manicured lawns.

  4. I guess the Winslow part made Dawn an individual! ;D

  5. Since when does a SIX YEAR OLD care what other people think? Oh yeah, in BSC world where everyone acts older than they really are. If I was to read this series again, the only thing that would make it bearable would be to pretend that the BSC members were 16 instead of 13.

  6. the BSC books kind of remind me of The Simpsons