Baby-sitter's Winter Vacation (SS#3)

Original Publication Date: 1989

Ghostwriter? No


As part of the long-standing SMS tradition of long breaks and extravagant school outings, the entire school is going to spend a week at Leicester Lodge in Vermont. It's a mandatory trip, but some students are excused...most notably Logan, whose family had already planned a trip to Aruba. (He calls Mary Anne long distance during the week. Aww.)

Other schools are attending the lodge for the week, including sixteen underprivileged elementary students from Conway Cove in Maine. On the way to the lodge, their bus crashes in the snow. The bus driver ends up in the hospital. Their two teachers can stay with them, but have a broken arm and some cracked ribs between them. The students nearly have to head back home until the BSC steps in to help watch them for the week.

Mary Anne pines for Logan, naturally. She's insecure and worries he'll find a cute Aruba girl. She has also volunteered to be the trip historian, and winds up investigating a legend of a ghost at the lodge. She also finds out that her seventh-grade gym teacher didn't hate her, but admired her for trying so hard.

Kristy is captain of one team for the Winter War, and pushes everyone to participate. She talks several inexperienced kids into cross country skiing (the fifth event, best three out five wins, the teams are tied two-two). One newcomer breaks his ankle and Kristy feels awful about it, but she recovers by the end of the book (the boy with the broken ankle ends up okay, too).

Claudia is on the opposite team. She competes in several events and also judges one (a snow sculpture contest). Of course, Kristy's team calls foul when Claudia's team wins. I don't understand why the judges didn't leave during the sculpting and come back when it was all finished to decide on winners without the sculptors anywhere around them. Then it would have been easy to be fair. She also thinks she has a thing with her French ski instructor, Guy, but finds out he's married and has a family.

Stacey resolves to enter every event in the Winter War that she can (she's on Kristy's team). She also falls in "luv" with Pierre D'Amboise, visiting the lodge from upstate Vermont.

Dawn (on Kristy's team) also tries to enter several events, but has some clumsy moments that build on each other, which sounds like no fun at all. She looks to Mary Anne for some sympathy, but she's too busy missing Logan.

Mallory spies around the lodge, like she did in the first Super Special. She has a crazy-overactive imagination. She also worries about the dance that will be at the end of the week. What will she do about THE BOYS? Of course, she ends enjoying herself, and a classmate even asks her to dance.

Jessi organizes the SMS Talent Show. She also worries about getting hurt and ruining her chances at a ballet career and overreacts to the way an injured Conway Cove student lashes out at her, assuming she's racist. I can see how she would be sensitive to that, though. She and Mallory are on Claudia's team, which wins the Winter War.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: nothing, since they're away (there's also no real "Chapter Two" in this book)

Stacey says she's been dealing with her diabetes for "several" years even though she was just diagnosed in sixth grade. I bet it feels like several years because by this point, she's already started eighth grade twice.

Dawn compares the lodge to the hotel in The Shining, which makes sense because she's into scary stories. But the way she phrases it: "Remember the Overlook Hotel, where all the scary stuff happened?" Dawn, remember the Overlook Hotel, where almost the ENTIRE PLOT happened?

It's fitting that Stacey would have bad memories of Camp Mohawk, given her experience there.

Stacey finds the idea of being snowed in exciting, because she never saw much snow in New York City. I'm kinda with her on this; we don't have dependable snow in the Seattle area and I always get excited when we have some. And in case you're wondering, yes, I had fun when we got the ten inches in 2008.

Mallory puts her journal under her bunk mattress while at the lodge, just like at home.

Mary Anne can't stand adults missing teeth. She is "a firm believer in dentures."

Claudia still exchanges letters with Will Yamakawa from summer camp. They also talk on the phone.

Their Families:

Stacey's parents are still "in the middle of a divorce" which makes sense because those can take a while.

There's foreshadowing to Dawn and Mary Anne's becoming stepsisters.

The Club: Nothing new


SMS students attend the Winter Carnival for the cost of a donation to the fund. I wonder how high a donation the school requires. Even though Mary Anne says the owners of the lodge cover the remaining amount, they can't afford to cover THAT much.

I hope the SMS buses have the kind of snow chains that drop down with the push of a button. I have never had to drive a bus in the snow (came close once), but it was a relief to know the chains would be easy to access. Along similar lines, it sounds like the Conway Cove bus that crashed followed protocol about setting up flares. Good job remembering your CDL manual!

Staff: Ms. Halliday (7th gym)

Students: Justin Price (sixth grade), Alvin Hopper (8th grade), Shawn Benedict, Jay Marsden, Lindsay McManus, Ethel Tines, and Miranda Elliot (grade not mentioned)

PSA time: Nothing new


This book belonged to Sara Kuehl.

One night, a teacher tells a scary story the ends with the reveal that a woman's guard dog was choking on the would-be robbers fingers. I had a computer teacher in elementary who was missing a few knuckles of one finger, because he was messing around when his sister was chopping wood...and their dog ate the part that got cut off.

I gripe about misusing "us" as the subject of the sentence, so I'll take a moment here to be very, very happy that Mary Anne knows to write "if Logan were going." Because he's not, using "were" is appropriate. For example, I wish I were taller is correct over I wish I was taller, because I'm not taller. (But a few chapters later she uses "effect" instead of "affect")

Mary Anne describes the sky as "the color of mercury" which confused me, because I thought of Mercury the planet rather than mercury the element.

On the way to the lodge, the SMS boys sing (among other things) John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. Once, we drove a friend back from Cle Elum to Seattle, and he sang that song at the top of his lungs.

Whoa, anachronism. The fifty-yard dash? Middle school uses meters to measure running races. That's also about the oldest age you'd have people competing in such a short distance, although indoor track and field has a sixty-meter dash.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 1

BSC Fights: 5

SMS Staff: 15

Students (other than the BSC): 35 8th graders, five sixth-graders, five unspecified

Clients: 22

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 36 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, Cheese Doodles, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Fritos, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, 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, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)

Crushes: Claudia-5 (Guy, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-5 (Toby, Pete Black, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor)


charmecia said...

congratulations on the post so far.
wow, i thought the guy stacey was falling for was married
but it was really claudia.

isn't that also the one where dawn and mary anne have a huge fight because dawn had said something bad about mary anne when it comes to logan and mary anne starts yanking off sheets and destryoing things and moves to the other room with the other girls?

so got to reread those books. thanks for posting this up.

BSC AG said...

They do get mad at each other, but Dawn just moves her bedding to another bunk, not another room. Dawn was feeling bad about being klutzy and trying to get sympathy from Mary Anne, who was too busy pining over Logan to notice.

Glad you like the blog!

LauraTheWonderTart said...

OMG! Mr Ortiz from the third grade. I remember him. He was telling us how computers work, and I was like, how do they do that? And he was all "I'm *telling* you how they work." And I got frustrated because I didn't care that the motherboard sent a message to the monitor, I wanted to know how the messages worked to do that...how did English break down into electricity like that and get interpreted correctly? Mr Ortiz goes "Oh, that's too complicated for you to understand." And I was so mad at him, and remember thinking clearly that that meant it was too complicated for HIM to understand, and that I wished adults would stop being morons, or at least be honest about being morons...

hehehehe. Fond memories.