From Birth to Six Years
This chapter is mostly standard baby stuff. Also, Mary Anne stars school. She likes nursery school (does anyone still call is that???) and kindergarten, but not first grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Frederickson, yells too much.
The Tea Party
Still first grade. Mrs. Frederickson announces that her class gives a tea party every year in honor of Mother's Day, and Mary Anne starts to freak out because she doesn't have a mother to invite. Kristy sees that she's upset and asks Mrs. Frederickson what kids without moms should do. Mrs. Frederickson tells everyone that it's okay to bring another special person, so Mary Anne plans on bringing her dad. The next day, everyone has to tell the class who they're bringing to the tea party, and when Mary Anne says she's bringing her dad, everyone laughs at her (Kristy and Alan Gray almost come to blows over it). Mrs. Frederickson is so busy trying to restore order to the class that she never gets around to telling Mary Anne that bringing a dad is okay. Mary Anne is humiliated, and decides to ask Mimi instead and hope her dad forgets about the party. Nope, doesn't happen: BOTH Mimi and Richard show up. They get things sorted out with the teacher, though, and both get to stay. Later that day, Mary Anne has nice chats with both Richard and Mimi about the whole mix-up.
It's the summer after second grade, and Kristy, Claudia, and Mary Anne are all signed up for a ballet class at the Y. Claudia is pretty excited about it, and Kristy also gets into the spirit of things once she finds out that pro athletes sometimes take dance to improve their game. Mary Anne is the only one who isn't into it, and things don't get any better once class starts. The rest of the kids seem to be enjoying themselves, but Mary Anne hates it. She's not picking up on things as fast as the others, and she doesn't like it when they have to dance across the room one at a time. Then, the teacher announces a recital for the end of class. Mary Anne doesn't want to be in it, but she doesn't know how to tell her dad that. He's been so excited about her being in the class, and maybe overcoming some of her shyness that she doesn't want him to be disappointed. Her nerves are so bad on the day of the recital, though, that she throws up not once, but twice. Kristy finds Richard, and Mary Anne finally confesses how much she's hated class, and how much she doesn't want to be in the recital. Richard has her promise that she'll tell him the next time she's so unhappy about something. He's such a good dad. :)
E for Eyeglasses
There's a new girl, April Livingston, in Mary Anne's fourth grade class. Mary Anne thinks she fascinating, and that the fact that she wears glasses is fascinating as well. Mary Anne decides she needs glasses of her own, so she fails the school eye test on purpose. She's sent to the eye doctor for further testing, and when she's in the lobby, she realizes that she doesn't like the way she looks in glasses after all. So, Mary Anne tries her hardest to pass the test, but an actual vision problem is uncovered, and she has to get reading glasses.
Exploring My Secret Past
This section is basically just Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic, with a longer look at her visit to Iowa. Mary Anne goes on that trip want and expecting to talk about her mother, but when she gets there, she's disappointed. All that Grandma Verna wants to do is reminisce about things that Grandpa Bill used to say and do, and she keeps trying to get Mary Anne to remember things about her time on the farm. Mary Anne gets frustrated, blows up at Verna, and decides she wants to leave early. They talk things over, though, and both apologize for not being more understanding of each other, and the fact that they're still largely strangers.
Thoughts and Things
- The glasses chapters always confused me a little. Mary Anne seems to have had no problems seeing (even when reading) until this point?
- This just might be my favorite of all the portrait books, but I think I need to reread the last two before I make up my mind.
- I wonder whatever happened to April Livingston? Mary Anne doesn't mention anything, and it sounded like all three future BSC members were on their way to being friends with her.
- Mary Anne gets an A+ on her project, by the way. I think that might be the highest grade that any of the BSC members got!