Claudia and the Bad Joke (RS#19)

Original Publication Date: 1988

Ghostwriter? No


In one of my favorite books, Claudia goes to sit for a new kid, Betsy Sobak, the "practical joke queen." Betsy was recently energized by a slap-stick film festival, and hits the ground running: fake fly ice cube, dribble glass, pepper gum, and a broken swing. The latter ends up breaking at such a time that Claudia breaks her leg, badly. She ends in the hospital for a week, and stuck at home for another two. She's scared enough that she considers dropping out of the BSC: it's too dangerous.

Meanwhile, the BSC is trying to stop Betsy from playing jokes. Mallory, Dawn, then Kristy play jokes on her, which finally succeeds when Kristy embarrasses Betsy in front of her classmates at a movie. Betsy agrees to cut back, and goes to apologize to Claudia in person (seriously, her parents thought a letter was sufficient?).

Claudia ends up deciding to stay in the club, provided she never has to sit for Betsy again.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Doritos under her bed, Butterfingers in her jewelry box, pretzels and M&Ms under her bed, Tootsie Rolls under her pillow, Double-Stuf Oreos in a shoe box labeled "PANT BRUSHES"`

Apparently Kristy has long had a fascination with wearing food, "like a vest made of teabags." I had no idea, and I'm reminded of a particularly confusing and nonlinear MST3K movie wherein the audience says "Well, apparently the plot is none of our business."

Kristy gets mad that her father doesn't even send her birthday cards. That's really sad, and mean of Patrick.

Kristy still has had a broken ankle, good continuity.

Mary Anne has grown a few inches. She also likes to do needlework.

I miss the calm, practical, level-headed Mallory.

Jessi envies Claudia's wardrobe.

Their Families:

Hooray, Claudia's parents raised her right! She's going to write thank-you notes to the people who sent her flowers.

The Club:

"The club members are prompt. Kristy wouldn't have it any other way." It starts!

New clients: the Sobaks. Yes, they have the gall to call the BSC again. And, yes, the BSC is dumb enough to sit for Betsy again.

I cannot believe the BSC expects Claudia to pay dues from when she's injured due to babysitting and can't babysit.


Claudia's English class is still reading the Newbery-Award winners, as it was in RS#12.

8th grade students: Gordon Brown, Diana Roberts

PSA time: nothing, really.


I'm glad Claudia didn't quit the BSC. I think she would make an awesome real-life sitter, and I recently found out that I'm pregnant.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 1

Halloweens in 8th grade: 1

BSC Fights: 4

SMS Staff: 13 (2 6th grade, 3 7th grade, 4 8th grade, 2 elective, 1 vice-principal, 1 secretary)

Students: 32 8th graders, six sixth-graders

Clients: 17

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 29 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, 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, Oreos (Double Stuf), pretzels, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)

Crushes: Claudia-3 (Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-4 (Toby, Pete Black, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas)


Anonymous said...


Your Mom! said...


I'm glad Claudia didn't quit the BSC. I think she would make an awesome real-life sitter, and I recently found out that I'm pregnant."

Oh yeah.....


Sadako said...

Congrats on the pregnancy!

Agree that the BSC was kind of insane about making Claud pay dues and wanting to sit for Besty again. Also a lot of them were acting like Claudia was a drama queen for being so upset about that. Plus was Betsy punished at all for what she did?

Pana said...

YAY BABIES! I'll be momma come October.

Also, I don't talk like that.

ALSO I'm pretty sure when I was 13 and in the BSC we would have been like Oh haaaaaayell no, Sobiaks! Take your bad kid and shove it! We hate you! You suck as parents - not because this happened but because of how you responded to it!

(I don't talk like that either)

P.S. The "word verification" I have to type in is "bashem"! I think it came up due to my rage. How come parents/situations in BSC-verse are always on one side of ridiculous?

BSC AG said...

Haha, thanks guys. I'm due Nov 30.

Sadako, no punishment was mentioned. She BROKE another person's LEG and landed her in the HOSPITAL for a WEEK. She wrote an apology letter.

And, yeah, I'd expect Claudia to be a little shaken up after that. Sheesh.

ali said...


Isn't Mrs. Sobak's name Cookie? Characters in books with names like that aren't meant to be taken seriously.

BSC AG said...

Thanks, ali! Yes, it's Cookie Sobak. Claudia balks internally at it. :)

nikki said...

I'm dropping the ball on reading blogs on time! Congrats on your miscellaneous news!!! Parenthood is the best...once you get past the first few weeks with a newborn.

Pant Brushes? God, I can't stand that.

BSC AG said...

Nikki: Fair enough, because I didn't post last weekend. Off to do that now!

Anonymous said...

Who calls back after their child broke the babysitter's leg for anything but apologizing and offering to pay the medical bills? The Sobiaks are terrible.