August 18, 2010

BSC #53, Kristy for President: Kristy is Too Busy to Tell You What Your Problem Is

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:55 pm by Jenn

I bet Emily Michelle's delayed in sitting and smiling, too

Summary: Kristy runs for class president against Alan Gray, Pete Black, and Cokie’s main minion Grace Blume. The campaign wreaks havoc with Kristy’s already-busy schedule, but she feels like it’s her responsibility to lead the class because none of the other candidates is qualified. (I’ll give her Alan and Grace, but Pete doesn’t sound too bad.) After having to juggle too many things, including studying for a test (which she fails twice), Kristy realizes that she doesn’t have time to be president, so she gracefully bows out of the race.

In the B plot, Jamie Newton wants to ride a bike. It’s boring.

Thoughts: Karen declares herself chief leaf collector and David Michael executive president in charge of choosing colors. What are you on, Karen?

Stacey says absolutely nothing when the other girls trash Mary Poppins as the upcoming school play. Pay attention, ghostwriter! Also, they think Mary Poppins is babyish but have no problem doing Peter Pan not too much later in the series?

Dawn wants to do A Raisin in the Sun. Dawn, honey, there are three black kids in your school. Not gonna happen. She probably only wants to do it because it has a fruit in the title anyway.

Janine: “I believe you would be glad to know that a pizza delivery has just been effected.” Janine for president – of the U.S.

Kristy calls Pete a nerd. How dare she!

Speaking of Pete, his slogan is, “Vote for Pete, for SMS’s sake!” Dude, not “for Pete’s sake”? It’s right there!

March 28, 2010

BSC Super Special #4, Baby-sitters’ Island Adventure: The One With the Shipwreck

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

"Uh...what are we waving at?"

Summary: Dawn and Claudia have been taking sailing lessons, and they decide to have a little race. It ends in a tie, and for their rematch, they agree to race to an island a few hours away and have a picnic with Jeff, Jamie Newton, Becca Ramsey, and Haley Braddock. A storm hits while they’re racing and the six end up stranded on an island. Yes, really. We get everyone’s perspective on the event so Dawn can keep it all for posterity. Because I’m sure she would want to remember every detail of a traumatizing experience.

Dawn takes care of Jamie, who’s sick, while Claudia takes charge of the other kids (with lots of help from Jeff). Claudia also proves that she’s smarter than she seems by rigging up a system for collecting rainwater, which saves everyone from dehydration, and using a mirror to signal a plane, which rescues everyone.

Mary Anne has a big fight with Logan, accusing him of standing her up, which turns into a fight with Dawn, who was supposed to give Mary Anne a message telling her that Logan wouldn’t be showing up. Mary Anne tells Dawn that she never wants to see her again, so when Dawn vanishes, Mary Anne feels guilty. She manages to hold it together a lot better than you’d think Mary Anne would, though.

Jessi is left in charge of Becca and Squirt for the weekend while her parents go away (more on that later), and after the boating incident, she calls her aunt Cecelia, a really annoying woman who seems to think she should be in charge of her brother’s children. Jessi spends most of the rest of the book complaining about Cecilia, and will spend most of the next book, Jessi’s Baby-sitter, doing the same.

Stacey is in New York with her father when the six are shipwrecked, and she wants to go back to Stoneybrook to help everyone search for them, but her father won’t let her go. Even though his daughter’s best friend could be dead. Shut up, Stacey’s father. She winds up standing up to him and going home anyway. Yeah, that’s about it.

Kristy is her typical take-charge, let’s-solve-this-problem-ourselves self, but she gets stumped when she realizes that there’s an upcoming game between her Krushers and Bart’s Bashers. She decides to cancel the game, which makes Bart accuse of chickening out. Apparently that’s what passes for conflict here.

Mallory does pretty much nothing except help with the search effort. Once again, Mallory is the forgotten BSC girl.

Just like in SVH, a near-death experience makes everything okay.

Thoughts: I was more excited to reread this book than any other, because I absolutely loved this book when I was younger. I always thought it was SO exciting. If I’d ever gotten stranded on an island, I would have used tips from this book to survive. (Let’s be honest, that’s still the case now that I’m an adult.) I have a feeling this book is part of the reason I’ve always liked stranded-on-an-island stories (I liked The Swiss Family Robinson, too), which means it’s probably part of the reason I started watching Lost when it debuted.

Jessi’s parents let her sit for Becca and Squirt by herself for an entire three-day weekend. Um, NO. SHE’S 11. I don’t think I spent the night alone in my house until I was 15 or 16, and that was without any kids to look after, especially not a baby. There is absolutely, positively no way this would happen; I don’t care how mature Jessi is.

Mary Anne wishes she never had to see Dawn again just because Dawn forgot to give her a message from Logan. Oh, yeah, that’s completely reasonable. I never realized Mary Anne was such a drama queen.

Why does Kristy make Stacey write about her New York sitting jobs in the club notebook? I thought the notebook was used to tell the other sitters what they might need to know for future sitting jobs. The BSC girls will never sit for the kids in New York. Clearly the power has gone to Kristy’s head.

Claudia and Dawn aren’t sure if Jamie, who’s four, is old enough to know to stay away from a fire. Uh, he’s four, not stupid.

Logan and Mary Anne have this stupid fight about her believing he stood her up, and then after the boating incident, he calls to tell her he’s sorry her stepsister is missing but he still can’t forgive her for the fight. Logan kind of sucks.

Bart sucks, too, for accusing Kristy of cancelling a game because she thinks his team will win and not because she wants to look for her friends. Though at least he apologizes. Take a lesson, Logan.

November 1, 2009

BSC #7, Claudia and Mean Janine: Who Knew You Could Learn Something from Jamie Newton?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 7:00 pm by Jenn

CAMJ

Oh, no, Claudia's being attacked by my parents' couch from the '70s!

Summary: Claudia and her sister Janine are at odds (as usual), but this time they happen to have a big fight the same night their grandmother, Mimi, has a stroke, leading Claudia to believe that their rivalry was to blame. (Remember, Claudia’s not that bright.) Claudia bends over backwards to help out around the house, especially with Mimi’s rehab and recovery, all the while silently fuming because Janine isn’t doing anything. Eventually they actually have a conversation and Janine reveals that she feels like Claudia has pushed her away and taken over, which is why she hasn’t been helpful. Claudia also realizes, from seeing Jamie Newton’s jealousy over his new baby sister Lucy, that sibling rivalry is nothing new and both sisters love each other despite their resentment towards each other.

The B plot involves the BSC girls running a summer day camp. Not much happens with that, except for more foreshadowing that eventually Mallory will play a much larger role in the series.

Thoughts: I always liked Mimi’s character, and now that I’m older, I appreciate that Ann M. Martin included a grandmother/granddaughter relationship in the series. Claudia often feels closer to Mimi than to anyone else, which fits in nicely with the different family types the series includes (alongside traditional two-parent families, there are single-parent households, blended families, families with adopted kids, and later, families with half siblings). Claudia was always the black sheep in her family, but Mimi made her feel like she belonged in some way. I just wish she’d been in the series longer. (Uh, spoiler.)

I think the play group is only part of this book so the other BSC girls have something to do. Plus, you know, the series is about baby-sitting, so there have to be kids in there somewhere. The play group also introduces a quirky side plot that I kind of wish had been revisted later: Karen tells the other kids that Andrew has been cursed to turn into a monster, and the BSC girls use this to their advantage, having him scare Jenny Prezzioso into behaving. For once, Karen’s overactive imagination serves a good purpose.

Speaking of the BSC girls and working, they’re again hired to work at a party, this time Lucy’s christening. So when people in Stoneybrook plan parties, do they automatically think of hiring 12- and 13-year-old girls to serve the guests and decorate? Because there are these people called party planners who can do that sort of thing for you. These people go out so much and require baby-sitters so often, you’d think they could afford professionals for this sort of thing.

We finally get another Claudia outfit, but it’s not as interesting as others we’ve encountered. Still, here it is as described: “It was a big, loose white shirt with black splotches all over it, and white pants that came to just below my knees. My shoes (and I might point out that I’d had a fight with Mom over permission to buy them) were dainty gold sandals that laced partway up my legs. Then I put on my pink flamingo earrings and a pink bracelet that said CLAUDIA in heart-shaped beads. Finally, I braided my hair into four long braids, tied a ribbon around the top of each, and fastened the ends with butterfly clips.” I think it’s the hairstyle that really makes that one special.