Original Publication Date: 1991
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
The Gardella family's nanny is away, and Stacey ends up getting the job to sit for their baby Tara. She has a nice evening with the well-behaved seven-month-old and the spoiled dog and cat, but the next morning Mrs. Gardella calls asking Stacey if she might have "borrowed" her now-missing diamond ring. Stacey didn't even see the ring in question, but the Gardellas have convinced themselves that Stacey stole it. They plan to not hire the BSC again (no great loss) and tell their current clients about the alleged theft (crud).
To make matters worse, Stacey has been wanting a birthstone ring, and her birthstone is diamond. Even Claudia gets suspicious that Stacey might have taken it. Finally, in desperation, Stacey offers to sit for free for the Gardellas until the ring is paid off, to keep them from spreading rumors. They hesitantly agree, provided Kristy comes along to supervise. They go to their first job together and get Tara down for the night easily, then play with the cat as instructed. He keeps losing his toys under things, and when Stacey goes to retrieve them, finds the ring hidden with them. She's exonerated! The Gardellas apologize profusely. The BSC decides to not sit for them again, even if their nanny is unavailable. The trust issue is just too much.
We are also introduced briefly to a friend of Jenny Prezziosos, a mischievous little boy named Joey Conklin.
The really weird part though, is at the end. The BSC talks about how if you suspect a crime is taking place (for example, burglary) you should call the police and not try to be a hero. Which is true, but in a few mystery books they'll be solving crimes for the police and purposely avoiding letting adults know what's going on.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Stacey likes to clean house. When I was a kid, I used to play "Clean up the House" (Mom loved that game). I'm noticing more similarities between Stacey and me...
Stacey's birthday is in April and she likes (well, misses) maple syrup on pancakes. Okay, less in common now; November and butter for me, respectively.
Claudia has size seven feet.
Stacey's parents are doing better about not putting her in the middle of their fights.
Stacey doesn't visit her dad at all in this book, which spans two weeks.
Stacey's love of the BSC seems to have waned. Back at the beginning of the series she was willing to do anything for it. Here, she seems to be growing tired of Kristy's need for everything to be just so, but is still understanding of it.
I still don't get why the BSC sits for the Sobaks. Their kid broke Claudia's leg, for crying out loud.
For all the grief they give the Prezziosos behind their backs, they're actually pretty good clients. They stick up for the BSC at a party when the Gardellas start talking about the missing ring.
SMS: nothing new
PSA time: nothing new
I have to agree with Stacey, it's rotten that April's birthstone is a diamond when other months have far less precious stones.
Egg timers count down, right? Because Jessi gets one to use like a stopwatch. I don't think they work that way.
What is this fascination with waking sleeping babies in this book? We have to wake up our two-month-old (two months today!) to feed her because of her slow weight gain, but if you could, why wouldn't you let the baby sleep?
Starting 8th grade: 3
Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 2
BSC Fights: 6
SMS Staff: 19
Students (other than the BSC): 63; 40 8th graders, nine sixth-graders, nine unspecified
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 50 (bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, marshmallows, Mentos, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf), Planter's Peanut bar, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, pretzel sticks, red hots, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Triscuits, Twinkies, Yodels)
Crushes: Claudia-7 (Guy, Terry, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-4 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris, Richie Magnesi), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-7 (Toby, Kelsey Bauman, Pete Black, Ross Brown, Pierre D'Amboise, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas), Kristy-1 (Bart Taylor), Mallory-1 (Ben Hobart), Jessi-1 (Quint Walter)