Dawn Saves the Planet (RS#57)

Original Publication Date: 1992

Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner


Ah, the book in which Dawn goes full self-righteous, narcissistic, sanctimonious insane.

Dawn's science class is studying ecology, and assigned to come up with an idea to save the planet. Dawn and Stacey team up to teach a series of classes to BSC charges and help them hold a Green Fair at the end of them. Dawn also spearheads a project to get a recycling center at SMS. All good.

But she goes overboard, lecturing people and yelling at them when they screw up, acting as if she's the first person to know about recycling. She gets so obnoxious that when it comes time to elect a chairperson to head the recycling center, Dawn's science teacher wins in a landslide. Dawn is disappointed (to be honest, I would be too) and withdraws a bit from the project. When the recycling center is unveiled, no one acknowledges Dawn's significant part in it (again, I'd be upset too). But this does help her realize how overbearing she was, and she apologizes the BSC, especially Stacey, and things work out. The Green Fair is a success, and the kids donate to proceeds to the SMS recycling center. Dawn's science teacher nominates Dawn as a co-chair, but I don't think it's ever brought up again.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Mallomars behind her bed

There's a lot of accurate callbacks to Dawn's Wicked Stepsister; things like Dawn's needing music to do homework and Richard's sock drawer.

Kristy only gives a look here, not A Look.

People act like it's a novel idea to catch-and-release spiders found in homes, but Mary Anne has always done that, and brought it up when the snake escaped in Jessi Ramsey, Pet Sitter.

Kristy still doesn't like spiders.

Claudia's back in her role as peace-keeper, trying to smooth things over.

Their Families:

Richard gets called "Sir" by an SMS student (Pete Black), which I assume is because he's Richard, not because of politeness.

The Club:

Dawn says Mary Anne's never made a mistake, but she did in the last book (chronologically). I guess she means one that wasn't caught and actually screwed up a job.

Buddy Barrett has a bit of trouble sounding out some words, but is able to read them, which fits with Mallory and the Mystery Diary.

The Ohdner kids, who we only ever hear about but never meet, have the measles. In 1992. The MMR vaccine has been available since the 1960s, and the falsified "study" about its (unproven and faked) link to autism wasn't (irresponsibly) published until 1998, so I wonder how they managed to catch the measles.

The Johanssens say that they can't remember the last time Charlotte got so excited about something when they see how excited she is about the Green Fair. I guess they forgot about the Heritage Day project she did in the last book.


Faculty/staff: Mrs. Ensign (lunchroom monitor), Mrs. Gonzalez (8th grade science)

Student: Amelia Freeman (8th)

The SMS band is terrible, apparently.

PSA time:

Generally speaking, muffins aren't terribly healthy. They're basically cake, unless you're careful with the ingredients.

Another good reason to rinse out used milk containers? Old milk stinks.

Canvas bags are a great idea, but please wash them. Juices leak from different foods onto them and...it's not pretty.


I have to admit, as annoying as I find Dawn in this book, I have always cut up my six-pack plastic rings since reading it.

Why is no one concerned about using so much paper for the posters and the newsletter? Obviously, no internet when this was published, but you'd think it would have at least been mentioned.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 4

Halloweens in 8th grade: 2 (plus one in seventh)

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Summers after 8th grade: 3

BSC Fights: 7

SMS Staff: 29

Students (other than the BSC): 85; 60 8th graders, 2 7th grader, 11 sixth-graders, 11 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 62 (bonbons, bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate marshmallow cookies, Chunky bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, fruit pie, gumdrops, Gummi Bears (regular and sweet-n-sour), Heath bars, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, jellybeans, Kit-Kats, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, M&Ms (regular and peanut), Mallomars, malt balls, marshmallows, Mentos, Milky Ways, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf and chocolate-dipped), Payday bars, 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, tortilla chips, Triscuits, Twinkies, Yodels)

Crushes: Claudia-8 (Guy, Terry, Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Arthur Feingold, Woody Jefferson, Trevor Sandbourne, Will Yamakawa), Dawn-5 (Travis, Lewis Bruno, Parker Harris, Price Irving, 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-3 (Daniel, Curtis Shaller, Quint Walter)

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