Mary Anne and the Playground Fight (RS#121)

Original Publication Date: 1998

Ghostwriter? Yes, Dianne Molleson.


Summer break is coming up, and that means another whirlwind trip sponsored by SMS. This time it's to London and Paris, a nine-day trip. Those nine days happen to fall in the middle of another summer event that catches the BSC's interest: working at a playground camp. A lot of the girls want to do both, despite the fact that they'd be missing a week of the camp, because they're the BSC and who wouldn't want them to work at the camp (which is a pretty entitled attitude). Add to that there's only six spots available, and a dozen other SMS students are also applying. Nine BSC members are applying; everyone but Shannon, because does Shannon even exist anymore? It's not long before they start sniping at each about who has a better chance or is more qualified, or whether those who want to go to Europe should be able to miss a week of work (Dawn, Mary Anne, and Logan have elected to stay in the USA for the summer). The eighth grade BSC members score job interviews, but Mary Anne and Dawn have legitmate concerns about whether the ones planning to do the Europe trip will be honest about their intentions. While they wait for the results of the interviews, they continue to steam at each other, and even start to reenact the fight they had at Jamie Newton's birthday party in Mary Anne Saves the Day at a goodbye party for Victoria Kent. They catch themselves before going too far, at least, and apologies are had all around. Then they find out who made the cut: Mary Anne, Dawn, Logan, and Claudia will be camp counselors. That leaves Kristy, Stacey, Abby, Jessi, and Mallory free to enjoy Europe.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: M&Ms, Ring Dings, sour cream and onion potato chips, salt and vinegar potato chips, Cheeze Doodles, tortilla chips

Mary Anne says she "always looks forward to summer because that's when...Dawn visits." But their parents got married during the eighth grade school year, and Dawn moved back to California in the fall of eighth grade, so Mary Anne shouldn't know that Dawn always visits in the summer. And this is why having the BSC repeat the same year over and over and over gets fun.

Claudia's favorite potato chip flavor is sour cream and onion. That's tied with sour cream and cheddar cheese for me.

Shannon loves to wear red.

Dawn's room has hardwood flooring. It's not specified if the rest of the house does.

Claudia and Stacey go with Mary Anne, Richard, and Sharon to pick up Dawn and Jeff at the airport. They stop at Dawn's favorite restaurant (Cabbages and Kings) to eat on the way home. Mary Anne narrates that Claudia doesn't like a lot of the food there, but she's polite enough to not say anything. Pay attention, Dawn. Claudia is also very honest and forthright in her application for the summer camp, which I like.

Shannon will be at camp all summer.

Dawn seems to have gotten over her resentment of and forced emotional distance from her little sister. Good.

Kristy hates to cook even more than Mary Anne does.

Abby's allergic to tomatoes, cooked or raw. I know people who are only allergic to raw ones. Cooking them changes their chemical properties enough that these people can be fine with tomato soup or tomato sauce, but will get hives from raw ones. Incidentally, that same change that comes with cooking makes the nutrients in tomatoes more easily accessible to the human body, so cooked tomatoes are healthier than raw (until you add a bunch of junk to make a sauce). Same with carrots.

Their Families:

No, Mary Anne's father relaxes his rules for her in seventh grade, not eighth grade.

Abby's mom did her junior year of college in England.

The Club (and clients):

Victoria Kent is about to go back to England. For her remaining time, she wants to be called Vicki, which the BSC does a lot of eye-rolling over behind her back (they do at least act decently in person). Rude. It's hard to remember when a person wants to be called by a different name, but it's only respectful to listen to a person's wishes about what name is preferred. Forgetting is one thing, being dismissive is another.

Hey, in this book, Jessi and Mallory bring some food a meeting (fancy hummus platter in honor of Dawn's return). Claudia's hospitatlity skills are rubbing off on the other members. They also use it as their "Welcome Back, Dawn" present, which is smart because of how often the BSC ends up giving Dawn presents.

Mary Anne kisses Vicki goodbye after a sitting job. Maybe it's because I'm all about personal space, but I've never kissed a sitting charge, not even when I watched my then-infant goddaughter. If the kid wants a hug, sure, but a kiss is waaay too familar for me.


Dawn has sent Mary Anne pictures of Gracie, who was born June 17. Mary Anne is still going to school after having received them. SMS goes late into June! I'm used to public schools being done about the middle of the third week of June (I went to private school, and we'd usually be out by June 10 or so; we had fewer days off during the school year).

Abby and Mary Anne still have the same math teacher, which is consistent with Abby's Lucky Thirteen, but take it at the same time, which is inconsistent with the same book.

PSA Time: nothing stood out.


The lighthouse from the twenty-seventh mystery book makes a brief cameo.

Vicki Kent buys some movies to take back to England with her. I'm assuming they're VHS copies, not DVDs. Although one is Toy Story, so who knows. I know that DVDs from one region of the world won't always work in another; I wonder if she'll be able to watch her movies in Europe.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 10

Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3

Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 4

St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 11

BSC Fights: 12

SMS Staff and Faculty: 67

Students (other than the BSC): 214: 120 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 29 7th graders, 48 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: 141

Mary Anne-2


Anonymous said...

I don't believe videotapes from America would have worked back in the UK either. I moved to the UK from America about 13 years ago, and this was an issue for me. Nowadays I don't think DVDs are a problem, with some DVD players being capable of playing different regions, and laptops, and Playstations and so forth.

SJSiff said...

Thanks, I was curious about VHS tapes too.

Anonymous said...

Having had experience with both America and England, this sort of stuff interests/amuses me. :) I especially love the way they edited the BSC books out here in England, replacing "American" words with "British" words. My boyfriend, who is British, doesn't even know some of the British replacements! And, funnily enough, he does know the American ones. Well, it makes sense. Most of the TV shows and movies are American, so people grow up watching them and picking up on this sort of stuff.

SJSiff said...

Funny, sort of like changing the title of the first Harry Potter book. Because we poor souls on the other side of the Atlantic won't understand!