Original Publication Date: 1988
Now that Stacey's moved to New York, the BSC needs another member. It enlists the eldest Pike and, still on edge from the double agents the Baby-Sitter Agency sent in RS#3, put Mallory through the ringer. She's given a ridiculous test and sent on a trial sitting job, during which she's watched so closely she gets nervous and clumsy. Before she can be officially rejected, she "quits."
Mallory and her new (and first) best friend, Jessi Ramsey, decide to start their only sitting club, Kids Incorporated. Jessi's new to Stoneybrook. Her family is black (that's the term used in the book so I'm going with it) and has gotten a fairly cold reception so far, to the point that Mrs. Ramsey is surprised that Mallory offers to shake her hand when they first meet. But as Mallory and Jessi bond over sitting, people start to warm up to the Ramseys.
After Kids, Inc has taken a grand total of two sitting jobs, one for the Pikes and one for the Ramseys, the BSC, now swamped, realizes that it was unfair. The extend an offer to Mallory, who accepts on the condition that Jessi also join. They each get a trial job and are quickly official members.
Established or continued in this book:
Claudia candy: Tootsie Pops under her pillow, Gummi Worms in her hollow book, Ring Dings, Cracker Jacks
Mallory can't have pierced ears until she's 13 or contacts until she's 15. I remember assuming I'd have to wait until I was the same ages for those things, but I got my ears pierced almost on a whim way earlier ("Mom, look at that! Can I get earrings?" "Sure."), and contacts when I started playing soccer and heading the ball, in 8th grade.
In addition to Mallory, we also meet Jessi, who moved from New Jersey with parents and younger brother and sister. She tells jokes, dances ballet, reads horse stories, wears reading glasses, and has to deal with being one of a small number of black people in Stoneybrook. Her birthday is Sep 13. She's due to get braces next year. Fortunately for her, she'll never make it seventh grade.
Mallory and Jessi really bond over books, trading each other books one has that the other hasn't read. I really like this idea for some reason.
Jessi's dance school in Stamford puts on PARTS of ballets. That must be how just-went-on-pointe-at-eleven-years-old Jessi can get the parts she does.
The Pike family gets the usual rundown: the triplets are one entity (no mention of piano lessons!), Vanessa rhymes...at all times, Nicky as neither a triplet nor a girl is left out, Claire is silly. Margo, however, is described as bossy rather than nauseous. Mr. Pike is a corporate lawyer, Mrs. Pike's job is taking care of the family. Mallory, Vanessa, and Nicky are nearsighted.
Good job, Pike parents! They taught Mallory and her siblings to be polite when meeting new people and shake at least the adults' hands.
Pike kids get a quarter for lost teeth. Geez, there were only three of us and we got a dime.
Oh. Mimi's starting to have some more stroke-related problems.
The club notebook is also for recording important meetings.
Laura Elizabeth Perkins is born.
Jackie Rodowsky gets to be the sittee for a trial job again (first Logan, then Jessi).
Really? The BSC thinks the Pikes would call for a sitter after how Mallory was treated? Really?
SMS staff: Mrs. Frederickson (6th grade homeroom), Mr. Williams (6th English)
Students: Benny Ott, Jessi Ramsey, Rachel Robinson, Sally ?, Anita ? (6th grade)
Please don't follow this book's advice about using tourniquets, except for the part about not removing them and leaving it to hospital staff. Tourniquets are a last resort to stop bleeding if compression doesn't work and usually results in amputation of the limb.
Mallory's jumper has her name written on it. Now, she's eleven, but I remember when my brothers and I were very young, my mom made sure we didn't wear things with our names on them (i.e.; if someone gave us a shirt with our name, she'd undo the stitching). She didn't want some creep to come over, read our shirt, and go "Oh, [name], your parents told me to pick you up."
Bifocals aren't necessarily the same thing as regular glasses, Mallory. Some people can see up close fine, like me, as long as "up close" means within about two feet of my eyes. And, apparently, you don't wear bifocals, so get it right.
Mr. Gates is still the town barber, for lack of a better term.
This books' description of the club and members is the first to feel like a "Chapter 2" even though it's in Chapter 3.
This book also starts the baby formula talk. I notice it a lot in the books, that moms tell the girls where the formula is or whatever. Formula can be very useful in emergencies or if the mom can't breastfeed, but I'm so used to watching babies whose moms have left expressed milk in the fridge that it seems weird.
BSC Fights: 2
SMS Staff: 13 (2 6th grade, 3 7th grade, 4 8th grade, 2 elective, 1 vice-principal, 1 secretary)
Students: twenty-eight 8th graders, six sixth-graders
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 26 (bubble gum, butterscotch candy, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, peanut M&Ms, regular M&Ms, marshmallows, pretzels, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Twinkies)
Crushes: Claudia-2 (Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-4 (Toby, Pete Black, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas)