Original Publication Date: 1989
Jessi's neighbors, the Mancusis, call on the BSC for pet-sitting services. They have a week-long vacation planned, a few dozen animals, and a pet-sitter who just canceled. Kristy thinks the BSC shouldn't pet-sit (remember Buffy and Pinky from the first book?) but the other 8th-grade members are sick of her bossiness, so Jessi is able to talk her into it. She has the time, since the Braddocks are on vacation and her ballet school is closed for the week. (Of course)
Things go pretty well. At one point, the snake escapes and the girls (Mary Anne is visiting) freak out stereotypically, but the other reptiles, dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and hamsters behave and do well under Jessi's care. but then she notices one hamster seems sick, and takes him to vet, where it's discovered that he is a she and she is pregnant and will give birth that weekend. (Of course)
Meanwhile, Dawn, Claudia, and Mary Anne stage something of a coupe, and demand elections for new positions. Things are tense and looking grim, but when they do hold the election, everyone votes everyone else back into their spots unanimously. (Of course)
The Mancusis have Jessi spread the word that they need homes for the ten baby hamsters. The Pikes get one, as does Jackie Rowdowsky, who just lost a class election to take care of the class rabbit. Jessi and her family also get their very first pet. (Of course)
I like this one, but it's predictable.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: potato chips under her bed, licorice sticks in her jewelry box, M&Ms in her pencil case, Doritos and popcorn under her pillows.
Dawn had a parakeet named Buzz that could talk. Do parakeets talk? My dad had one years ago and he only mentioned that he taught it to do a wolf-whistle when he walked into the room.
Becca has terrible stage fright.
Squirt was so-nicknamed by the nurses who took care of him when he was born, as he was the smallest baby in the nursery.
It's official: the Pikes' cat Sarge has disappeared. Jessi describes Mallory's family as having no pets.
Mary Anne has yet to make a scheduling mistake in the club notebook.
Claudia sits for Jamie Newton at one point, when he has boundless energy. She's comments that she's never seen him so wound up. The only other time Jamie's been "wound up" was a time Claudia sat for him. He must have been really interesting this time.
Jessi is still the only African-American in sixth grade.
Jessi tells us that the snake isn't poisonous. If that's the word the Mancusis used, that's amusing. Snakes (well, some) are venomous. Something you choose to interact with (say you eat a mushroom) is poisonous. Something that chooses to interact with you (a snake bites you) is venomous. Question carefully people who reassure you that their sharp-toothed animals aren't poisonous.
The "tense" dog-walking scene (the Perkins' dog, Chewy, briefly joins them and the dogs see a squirrel) always reminds me of the scene in Little House on the Prairie, when Pa has to keep his horse down to a walk while a huge wolfpack trots along with them. I don't know why.
I grew up with the catch-and-release method for indoor spiders as well. Mom always liked us to take the spiders across the street and dump them in the neighbors' yards so they would have a harder time coming back.
Starting 8th grade: 1
Halloweens in 8th grade: 1
BSC Fights: 5
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
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 33 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, mini candy bars, Oreos (Double Stuf), popcorn, 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), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor)