Claudia's -Freind- Friend (RS#62)

Original Publication Date: 1993

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker


Shea Rodowsky is newly-diagnosed with dyslexia, and his parents have asked the BSC to help tutor him as they think people closer to him in age would be helpful. While it explains why he's been having trouble in school, he's understandably frustrated with the difficulties it brings. Claudia ends up tutoring him, and they bond over their school frustrations and feeling dumb. Because they understand each other, they help each other out.

Claudia herself gets tutored by Stacey. Unfortunately, Stacey acts like an old school marm and treats Claudia like an elementary student. Claudia doesn't like being treated like a little kid, and gets a bit frosty to Stacey. Stacey has Claudia keep a journal, correctly assuming that the more Claudia practices writing the easier it will get. However, Claudia starts keeping a second journal in which she unloads her frustrations at Stacey. Naturally, Stacey gets the wrong journal at one point. Once everything's out in the open, Claudia and Stacey patch things up. And Claudia's English grade improves.

Also, there's a dance being held at the community center. When the BSC starts receiving anonymous notes ("You're the greatest" etc) they each assume a different boy is leaving them, ready to ask one of the girls out. Then the notes invite them out to brunch, and the BSC thinks it's a trick. But when they go to see, it's their charges, wanting to surprise them with a nice treat.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: chocolate twigs, trail mix

Claudia's been testing for learning disabilities and been found to not have any, but she sure seems like she has ADD or something. I don't have ADD so I can't speak from a first-hand experience, but the way her mind wanders and goes off on tangents sounds like what I know of ADD.

Their Families:

Janine cleans her room every Saturday morning.

The Club:

Mallory has a sitting job that lasts until 5:30 so is late to a BSC meeting. Kristy's actually okay with it once Mallory reminds her where she was.

I'm surprised that Shea could play the piano as well as he does with dyslexia.


Mrs. Hall is still the 8th grade English teacher.

PSA Time:

Uh, Stacey...don't show little kids like Emily Michelle the pictures in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Most of the stories aren't so bad (except for "The Wendigo") but the pictures...


I like the way Claudia designs her vocabulary flash cards, decorating them so the words match their definitions. It'll probably help her remember them.

Does anyone else remember being told that you should have an hour of homework for each grade you're in, as in one hour for first grade, two for second? That never made sense to me, because think about being in eleventh grade...

When Claudia wants to come up with an example of an alphabet with a ton of characters she picks Chinese. Her example is valid, but why not Japanese?

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: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 32

Students (other than the BSC): 96; 63 8th graders, 2 7th grader, 18 6th graders, 12 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 70 (bonbons, bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy, candy hearts, Cheese Doodles, Cheetos, a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate marshmallow cookies, chocolate twigs, Chunky bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels, Devil Dogs, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Fritos, Frosted Flakes, fruit pie, Goobers, 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, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, mini candy bars, Necco wafers, Oreos (Double Stuf and chocolate-dipped), Payday bars, Planter's Peanut bar, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels (regular and sourdough), pretzel sticks, red hots, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, taco chips, Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, tortilla chips, trailer mix, Triscuits, Twinkies, Yodels, yogurt-covered raisins)

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)


Laura said...

No, I don't remember being told 'one hour of homework per grade level'. I did, however, have a rule that homework was to be done before other activites, straight after I got home from school.

SJSiff said...

Yeah, I've often wondered if I misheard that...I know for certain that in high school several teachers expected us to spend one hour per class for our evening homework. That's seven hours! I had sports right after school and would get home around six or seven, later if there was a competition. Fortunately, I was able to get enough done during school that I didn't need to stay up until one or two in the morning to get a good GPA.

Laura said...

Yes, now that you've mentioned that your HS teachers said one hour per class, I do remember my teachers saying something similar. Then when we students would complain, the teachers would say it's only one hour (or twenty minutes/half an hour, whatever time length) and we'd say that that's what all our other teachers said as well and that meant six or seven hours of homework that night.

I also had a good GPA in HS - good enough to have a PTK honors society sticker on my diploma that's currently hanging in the hallway. (I don't mean to sound conceited, it's just true.)

SJSiff said...

I was cum laude from high school and college...I know it sounds like I'm bragging to just come out and say it but it's true! :)

Laura said...

Good for you! That's great! I don't think they have the summa, magna, cum laude distinctions where I went to college.

D'oh! I meant my college diploma, not my HS diploma. I was in the PTK Honors Society in college and on the honor roll in HS.

SJSiff said...

Honors! Good for you. And you did it without hours upon hours of homework.

Anonymous said...

Since dyslexia is primarily language-based, it affects a different part of the brain than that associated with music. It's not at all unusual for someone who is dyslexic to be able to play the piano well -- especially if they were able to play by ear.

SJSiff said...

Thank you anonymous! I know very little about music and less about dyslexia. But now that you put that way, it makes perfect sense.