Portrait Collection: Claudia's Book

Original Publication Date: 1995

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker


The eighth grade has been given an autobiography assignment. This is Claudia's report. She divides it into five sections:

Baby Days: Janine recounts meeting Claudia when her parents brought her home from the hospital. Later on, Mimi helps Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy leave their handprints in fresh cement on the Kishi's driveway. The handprints are still there.

Happy Birthday to Me: Claudia invites her entire kindergarten class to her sixth birthday party...and only Mary Anne and Kristy come. She's devastated, but then gets surprised later that day when the Kishis, Spiers, and Thomases all get together for a celebration and ends up having a good day.

The Truth about the Tooth Fairy: Claudia is convinced that the Tooth Fairy is a monster who eats teeth including teeth still in your head. So when she has to have a tooth pulled, she's terrified of putting it under her pillow and sets up booby traps and hides from the Fairy. She discovers (SPOILER ALERT) that there is no Fairy, and deduces that her parents also play the parts of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

Boo for Fourth Grade: Claudia had a great teacher for second grade, but her third grade teacher's style didn't mesh well, and by fourth grade Claudia was doing very poorly. Her teacher recommends an alternative school, to which Claudia is accepted. And while her school work does improve, she's miserable. Her parents decide that good grades aren't worth depression and Claudia goes back to Stoneybrook Elementary with the understanding that she needs to apply her self.

The Sea Rose: The summer that she was 11, Claudia went with Kristy's family on a weekend trip for Sam and Charlie's baseball team. It's on the trip that Claudia sees how much responsibility Kristy has had to take on since her father walked out on the family.

Claudia gets a B-, having been marked down for organization, spelling, and grammar errors.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Fruit Roll-Ups and Hershey's Hugs in a coat pocket

Good continuity with the memory of Claudia's butterfly self-portrait and her birth announcement being in a now-defunct newspaper.

Claudia had candy hidden in her room as early as second grade!

Their Families:

If Claudia's mom had an ultrasound during her pregnancy (they weren't routine until fairly recently), her parents opted to not find out she was a girl until she was born.

The Club (and clients): nothing new.


Alan Gray, Pete Black, and Cokie Mason were in the same kindergarten class with Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy. Rick Chow, Emily Bernstein, and Cokie were in Claudia's second grade class. Kristy was in her fourth grade class.

By the end of kindergarten, Claudia couldn't really read. I wonder if that was just her or if her class didn't learn it. I could read at that point, and though I was admittedly good at reading from the start, I remember having reading lessons in kindergarten.

PSA Time: nothing stood out.


For my sixth birthday party, I invited all the girls in my kindergarten class. My parents were only okay with this because they assumed several girls wouldn't be able to come, but only one said no. Big party that year...

Claudia has the entrance interview for an alternative school on the last day of November and gets the results a week before Thanksgiving...which in the US is the fourth Thursday of November.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC celebrates it)

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 9

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 103

Mary Anne-2

No comments: