Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner.
Mallory is initially excited for her new Short Takes class about children's literature. She's less excited to find out that her grade will depend mostly on her participation, especially when the teacher makes it difficult for less outspoken students to participate (for example, he ignores the kids raising their hands in favor of others shouting out the answers). When she does try to participate, several of her classmates whisper about her being a "brain." Things aren't all bad, though: Mallory is feeling great about the fund-raising that she's spear-heading for the sixth grades's gift to SMS (seems like more of an eighth grade things, but...). She even discovers that a previous class had raised money for a student lounge, but it went to needed school repairs instead, so makes sure that the lounge will be built after all. The success of the fundraiser gives her the confidence to talk to her teacher and things go better, although she's still the butt of jokes about her grades.
The subplot is about Mallory and the BSC helping the kids who formed a band back in Keep Out, Claudia! get into the Memorial Day parade. It only allows groups to march, so they have to make some easy-to-play instruments and practice extra. Kazoos end up being necessary for the instruments to sound like instruments.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: pretzels and Cheese Whiz in her closet, chocolate stars
No big revelations.
Mallory explains that most of the Pikes have blue eyes and brown hair, then that she's the only one with red/auburn hair. I wonder if any have different colored eyes.
The Pike kids get bedtime stories...from Mallory. Shouldn't that be something the parents do?
The Club (and clients):
Mallory is a few minutes late to a BSC meeting but doesn't get a Look from Kristy. It's clear that Mallory was really trying to get there on time, and she apologizes for being late, so it seems that Kristy is somewhat understanding as long as they make a sincere effort to be on time.
New-to-us students: Megan Armstrong, Jen Corn, Laura Nelson (6th)
New-to-us staff/faculty: Mr. Cobb (6th grammar), Mr. Counts (librarian)
Did you remember that Mallory is sixth grade secretary? I barely did.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
There's a little questionnare in the back that the previous owner, Kara N. A., filled out. She was in sixth grade. Her favorite BSC member was Kristy since they both like sports. She would like to see a book about Kristy suddenly not liking sports.
Starting 8th grade: 9
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-3, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-2
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 9
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 207: 118 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 25 7th graders, 47 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 37 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 125