8/30/13

BSC: The Club

BSC clients: 38

Addisons (before they moved away), Arnolds, Barretts and DeWitts, Brewers, Braddocks, Brooke, Brunos, Craines, Delanys (before they moved away), Felders, Gianellis, Harrises, Hills, Hobarts, Hsus, Johanssens, Kents, Kormans, Kuhns, Marshalls, Martinezes, Masters, McNallys, Newtons, Ohdners, Papadakises, Pikes, Perkins, Prezziosos, Ramseys, Robertses, Rodowskys, Salems, Shafers, Sobaks, Springers, Thomases, Wilders, and Willises

The original four members are Kristy (president), Claudia (vice-president), Stacey (treasurer), and Mary Anne (secretary). Dawn joins as alternate officer at the end of #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day. Logan is added as an associate member in #10 Logan Likes Mary Anne! and Shannon in #11 Kristy and the Snobs. Mallory and Jessi join as junior officers in #14 Hello, Mallory

Dawn has an extended absence when she has an six-month stay in California from #67 Dawn’s Big Move to Super Special 12 Here Come the Bridesmaids (which is followed by #81 Kristy and Mr. Mom). Mallory is also gone from the club for a long time due to mono from #69 Get Well Soon, Mallory to #73 Mary Anne and Miss Priss. Stacey quits/is fired in #83 Stacey vs. the BSC and returns in #87 Stacey and the Bad Girls. Dawn moves to California permanently in #88 Farewell, Dawn and from then on is an honorary member who takes jobs when visiting. Abby joins in #89 Kristy and the Dirty Diapers. Mallory becomes an honorary member when she joins a boarding school in #126 The All-new Mallory Pike. Logan, Shannon, Jessi, and Abby all quit due to life being too busy in the first Friends Forever Super Special Everything Changes, although some of the Friends Forever series have Abby as an honorary member.

Kristy got the idea for the BSC on the first Tuesday of seventh grade. They advertise in the Stoneybrook News, by calling the families for which they already sit, and by making fliers. When Claudia first designs the BSC logo, it seems that she spells it correctly without help. The original four meet for the first time the following Thursday at 5:30, just to plan. Not sure when they decide go to Monday-Wednesday-Friday. In most books, Official BSC Time is that which is displayed on Claudia’s clock. In #74 Kristy and the Copycat it’s Kristy’s wristwatch. 

The first official meeting is held on the second Friday of school, during which Sam pulls the “This is Jim Bartolini. Have there been any calls for me?” prank, which I think is a pretty good one.

Stacey gets the first job, for David Michael. Kristy gets the second, with the infamous Pinky and Buffy McKeever, the job that leads to her ban on pet-sitting. (The ban is lifted in #22 Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter.) Mary Anne gets the third, for Karen and Andrew Brewer. Claudia doesn't get a job during the meeting. Mrs. Newton calls afterhours and Claudia takes it on the spot, which seems fair in a way, especially since no one established that she couldn't.

Kid-Kits start in #3 The Truth about Stacey, in response to the threat of the Baby-sitters Agency. Kristy also starts wearing a visor during that book.

The first emergency meeting takes place in #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls and is held because the sitters fear the cat burglar will strike during a sitting job. This is when they make up the “Have you found my red ribbon?” code.

It is during the Buffy and Pinky job in #1 Kristy’s Great Idea (the two large dogs she sits for, unaware until the job starts that the charges aren't human) that Kristy decides to start the notebook, which Hello Mallory! indicates is also used to record important club meetings. She earns $3.50 while thinking it up, sitting for at least an hour. And Claudia only misspells one word in her first entry. 

Mary Anne forgets to record the first two jobs in the record book until Kristy hands it to her…not quite a mistake. The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier reveals that the club notebook is a spiral notebook, not a binder as I’d imagined. The mystery notebook debuts in Baby-sitters Beware, compiled by Mallory. In the same book, Claudia gets to fill in as president when both Kristy and Abby are unable to make a meeting.

Stacey has the idea for officers, and the offices are decided unanimously by all four girls.

As late as #115 Jessi’s Big Break, Claudia fields phone calls outside of the meetings from time to time, technically one of her duties as vice president.

Mary Anne does make a few mistakes in scheduling but usually corrects them quickly. In Jessi and the Superbrat, she forgets to write down a sitting job and Dawn catches it. Jessi catches a similar mistake in Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic.

Mary Anne color-codes the schedule.

Depending on which book you read, sometimes it’s Mary Anne’s job to keep track of the members’ earnings, sometimes it’s Stacey’s. Mary Anne keeps track of how much each family pays.

While Stacey drops out of the club during her bad girls arc, Shannon fills in as alternate officer as she is conveniently more available. Dawn takes over the role of treasurer.

In #68 Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter Jessi tells us that Dawn, as alternate officer has held each position at least once. Let's see...Kristy has missed meetings (for example, when her dog died), Claudia skipped some meetings to hang out with Ashley Wyeth plus was absent when she had a broken leg (although Dawn was treasurer during the latter), Stacey sometimes leaves for New York on Fridays and she lived there for a while, and Mary Anne skipped some meetings during the backlash over her haircut. Yep, checks out. The BSC also has to turn down a job in that book!

Dues are fifty cents when the club starts, but are raised to a dollar at the end of #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three so they can pay Charlie to drive Kristy to and from meetings. One thing that has never made sense to me: during the school year, why doesn't Kristy just hang out with one of the other members or at the library or something? I don't get she takes the bus home only for Charlie to drive her from home to Claudia's to home again.

Honorary and associate members are exempt from paying dues. However, Claudia owed back dues when she missed a Monday meeting…due to being hospitalized for breaking her leg while on a sitting job! The best friends you’ll ever have, indeed. (Mallory does NOT owe dues when she’s out with mono)

By #11 Kristy and the Snobs, Kristy has missed some club meetings mostly for reasons stemming from fights with other members and has in fact missed the most meetings of any member. Also, #12 Claudia and the New Girl tells us that since Kristy’s at the mercy of Charlie to get to meetings, she’s often late.

“Distant” as BSC slang for cool first appears in #38 Kristy’s Mystery Admirer. “Dibble” for incredible and “stale” for uncool come up in #39 Poor Mallory!

In Beware, Dawn! Dawn mentions that she’s glad she doesn't have to sit for all four Hobart boys at once…it’s unclear whether it’s a joke about Ben or if Ben indeed needs a sitter despite being eleven and sort of going out with Mallory.

Whenever the game Candy Land is mentioned, the sitter talking about it says she hates it.

In The Fire at Mary Anne’s House, the sitters are anxious about the results of a “best sitter” contest. No winner is revealed in the book or in the Friend Forever series that follows.

The BSC of the Friends Forever series is very similar to its earlier incarnation, but more relaxed. They still meet three days a week, but Kristy isn't so much a stickler for time. They take on fewer jobs and no longer advertise to bring in new clients. Sometimes Erica Blumberg, who becomes close with Claudia, helps with sitting jobs.

So, the deal with so many parties involving little kids? In The Summer Before, Stacey's surprise going-away party includes the kids she sits for in NYC, and the party Mary Anne plans for Kristy includes the kids they sit for.

I think it's weird that the girls refer to themselves as BABY-sitters when they usually watch older kids. I've watched kids for at least a decade and a half in various capacities from minding my younger brother to being a five-day-a-week nanny, and I refer to myself just as a sitter unless there actually is an infant. I've known little kids for whom it's very important that they not be implied to be babies.

8/25/13

BSC: Stoneybrook Middle School

According to Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, SMS is the only middle school in Stoneybrook. But in Kristy’s Big Day the kids who live in Watson’s neighborhood are supposed to attend Kelsey Middle School, which I suppose could technically be in a neighboring city. There are also the private schools: Stoneybrook Academy and Stoneybrook Day School.


The school day starts at 8:30 and ends at the unusual time of 2:42. SMS has eight class periods a day.
A failing grade at SMS is anything below 65%. I’m used to 60% being the cut-off.


Sixth and seventh-graders have recess; whether eighth grade does is never mentioned. However, Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever implies that there is no playground or recess, so never mind that Jessi and Mallory met at recess on the playground…
SMS is at least two stories tall, and has a student store or vending machines (Stacey buys a chocolate bar at school in Stacey’s Emergency).

In Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade, the SMS mascot is the Chargers. But in Stacey’s Secret Friend, it’s the Jaguars.



Sometimes SMS has a volleyball team, sometimes it doesn’t.
Claudia starts writing a personals column in Claudia and the Perfect Boy. By Claudia Kishi, Live from WSTO! she doesn’t do it anymore. But in Stacey’s Secret Friend, she’s writing the column again.


Friday lunch is always Sloppy Joes (EW), red Jell-O with canned fruit in it, coleslaw, milk, and a Fudgesicle.
I question the rigor of Stoneybrook's schools if kids make it to eighth grade without knowing that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere as we see in Farewell, Dawn. Also, in Dawn's Wicked Stepsister, Dawn thinks that scientists invented time zones very recently, instead of the idea sort of occurring naturally because of Earth's rotation. In Mary Anne and the Little Princess, Kristy is shocked to learn that celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November is a US-only thing. And in Stacey vs. Claudia, it seems that they have yet to learn state capitals, something I learned in grade school.



SMS  students: 221 named students not including the BSC. Baby-sitters’ Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students which would average around 126 per grade.
Sixth grade: 48 named students not including the BSC
Ben Abbott, Megan Armstrong, Lauren Aronsen, Jeff Atkinson, Craig Avazian
Sanjita Bates, Ashley Bedell, Tom Block, Jimmy Bouloukos, Glen Brown, Chris Brooks
Liz Cohen, Maya Condos, Jen Corn
Sarah Erickson
Maria Fazio, Noah Fein, Josh Freeman
Helen Gallway, Sarah Green, Bobby Gustavson
Tom Harold, Sandra Hart, Ben Hobart
Glen Johnson, Renee Johnson (not indicated to be related)
Wendy Loesser
Robbie Mara, Rebecca Mason, Lisa Mannheim, Justine Moss, Eileen Murphy
Laura Nelson
Mark O'Connell, Janet O’Neal, Benny Ott
Justin Price, Randy Rademacher, Rachel Robinson, John Rosen
Mara Semple, Jamie Sperling
George Weiss, Nan White
Sally ?, Anita ?, Dilys ?, Valerie ? 



Seventh grade: 31 named students not including Frank O’Malley who moves to Oregon during the school year
Ron Belkis, Tom Blanton, Jennifer Blye, Stephanie Boxer
Kate Condos
Shira Epstein
Joanna Fried
Laura Hatt
Mark Jaffe, Loretta Jorgensen, Len Judso
Anne Kennedy, Jeannie Kim, Michael King, Brandon Klein, Jennifer Kline, Petra Kosinski
Bonnie Lasher, Abigail Leib, Nadine Luongo
Josh Peterson
Josh Rocker, Tim Ryan
Curtis Shaller, Liza Shore
Ron Tibbets
Duryan Weinstein, Tonya Wright
Anson ?,  Neil ?, Spud
Eighth grade:  127 named students not including the BSC or Amelia Freeman who is deceased
Aaron Albright, Sue Archer
Austin Bentley, Corinne Baker, Melissa Banks, Kelsey Bauman, Emily Bernstein, Pete Black, RJ Blaser, Erica Blumberg, Grace Blume, Robert Brewster, Gordon Brown, Ross Brown, George Burke, Marty Bukowski
Rick Chow, Jeff Cummings, Jason Fox, Jennifer Cooke,
Jo Deford, Merrie Dow, Mari Drabeck
Justin Forbes, Bea Foster
Heather Epstein
David Gabel, Ronnie Gallea, Janet Gates, Andi Gentile, Jacqui Grant, Alan Gray, Margie Greene, Lew Greenburg, Dave Griffin, Rachel Griffin (not indicated to be related)
Brian Hall, Polly Hanson, Sonya Hardy, Darnell Harris, Peter Hayes, Lauren Hoffman, Alvin Hopper, Barbara Hirsh, Irv Hirsch (not indicated to be related), Price Irving
Theodore James, Bruce Jamison, Woody Jefferson, Malik Jeffrey, Brent Jensen, Howie Johnson, Maria Jonatis
Lily Karp, Linda Kedem, Clarence King, Stephanie Kingsley, Alexander Kurtzman
Todd Long, Kathleen Lopez
Dennis Malek, Diane Maqnani, Amanda Martin, Kara Mauricio, Cokie Mason, Wayne McConville, Sheila McGregor, Fiona McRae, Savannah Minton, Iri Mitsuhashi
Harry Nolan
Mia Pappas, Troy Parker, Jim Poirie
Steve Randazzo, Kristin Reinhardt, Cary Retlin,  Jodi Reynolds, Lane Reynolds (not indicated to be related), Shawna Riverson, Diana Roberts, Nicole Rogers, Jeremy Rudolph
Bruce Schermerhorn, Trevor Sandbourne, Katie Shea, Mary Sherwood, Miranda Shillaber, Mariah Shillaber (twins), Brad Simon, John Steiner, Bob Stillman, Julie Stern, Anna Stevenson, Ray Stuckey, Tess Swinhart, Ellie Szilagyi
Susan Taylor, Hannah Toce, Bill Torrance, Alex Turnbull, Seth Turbin
Dorianne Wallingford, Penny Weller, Ashley Wyeth , Alex Zacharias
Angela ?, Barbara ?, Bebe ?, Carly ?, Coreen ?, Fran ?,Kevin ?, Kurt ?, Jessica ?, Jojo ?,Marcia ?, Miles ?
Talle ?, Tiffany, Tarik ?, Theresa ?, Zoe ? plus four members of the Badd Boyz we only know as Ice Box, G-Man,  Jackhammer, and Butcher Boy



Grade unspecified: 15 named students
Shawn Benedict, Marcus Brown, Elise Coates (probably 6th or 7th), Miranda Elliot, Janet Gates, Sarah Gerstenkorn (probably 8th), Lyndsay McManus, Jay Marsden, Rose Marie Montey (probably 8th), Danny Olssen, Danielle Pritchard, Barry Soeder, Ethel Tines, Tara Valentine, Nathan ?



SMS Staff: 71 staff/faculty, 57 specified to be teachers. With 380 students, that’s one teacher for every six to seven students. Kristy Power! indicates that the teachers at SMS might not unionized.
6th grade: Mrs. Alpin (unspecified), Mr. Cobb (grammar), Mr. Conklin (math), Mr. De Young (boys’ gym) Mr. Dougherty (creative writing), Mrs. Frederickson (homeroom), Mr. Williams (English), Mr. Jazak (unspecified), Mrs. McCarthy (unspecified), Mr. Rothman (science), Ms. Walden (girls’ gym)


7th grade: Ms. Chiavetta (English), Ms. Halliday (gym), Mr. Miller (social studies), Mr. Peters (math), Ms. PIlley (homeroom), Mr. Redmont (social studies), Ms. Spacey (science)
8th grade: Ms. Anderson (social studies), Ms. Belcher (English), Ms. Bernhardt (social studies),Ms. Berner (math), Mr. Blake (homeroom),  Mrs. Boyden (Modern Living and other short takes classes, plus some students’ homeroom), Ms. Colley (English), Mr. Davies (math), Mr. Ellenburg (8th math; replaces Mr. Zizmore), Mr. Fiske (English and yearbook), Ms. Frost (math), Ms. Garcia (short takes), Mrs. Gonzalez (8th science), Ms. Griswold (8th science), Mrs. Hall (English), Ms. Harris (science),Mr. Hochberger (English),  Ms. Levine (homeroom), Mr. Peters (homeroom), Mrs. Rosenauer (gym), Mr. Schubert (math), Mrs. Simon (English), Mrs. Wegmann, Mr. Zizmore (math; but he moves to Houston before the last book so he’s not included in my total), Mr. Zorzi (math)


Electives: Mr. Cheney (drama), Ms. Dwyer (art), Mr. Geist (photography, summer school), Mr. Kirkwood (shop), Mrs. Pinelli (music), Ms. Baehr (art), Mrs. Ploof (home ec), Miss Stanworth (unspecified), Ms. Vandela (unspecified), Mr. Withum (unspecified), Mr. Wong (art)
Possibly teaching multiple grades: Ms. Breer (head of English department), Mr. Harold (science), Mr. Lehrer (possibly English), Ms. Mandel (not specified)


Other faculty/staff: Mr. Taylor (principal), Mr. Kingbridge (vice-principal), Mrs. Amer (guidance counselor), Mr. Counts (librarian), Ms. Downey (secretary), Mrs. Ensign (lunchroom monitor), Mr. Halprin (janitor), Mr. Halvorsen (basketball coach; also works at SMS: he has a office),  Ms. Hartley (head of the SMS math department), Ms. Kolinsky (teacher’s aide), Mr. Milhaus (janitor), Mr. Matthews (resource room aide), Mr. Seitz (guidance counselor), Ms. Wu (coach and something else; she’s at the school during the day), unnamed female librarian
(Also, the following substitutes are mentioned:  Ms. Bryan, Ms. Dewey, Mr. Morley) 

8/20/13

BSC: The Numbers

Now that I've made it through all the books, I'm putting up some posts to summarize different trivia bits. I blame any mistakes on my daughters distracting me, regardless of whether that's valid. I didn't say it was their fault; I said I'm going to blame them. (The preceding said with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek)

So! Here are some basics:


There 131 regular series books, 36 mysteries, 18 super specials including the Friend Forever pair and The Summer Before, 15 California diaries, 12 Friends Forever books, 6 portrait collections, 4 super mysteries, 3 readers' requests, 2 "letter" books, and 1 movie novelization.


During the course of the series, the BSC starts the same school year thirteen times and repeats the same summer fourteen times. There are 71 named SMS staff and faculty, and 221 named students other than the BSC. There are 127 are in eighth grade, 31 in seventh grade, 48 in sixth grade, and fifteen whose ages are unclear. According to Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation, SMS has about 380 students.


They celebrate the same Valentine's Day six times, St. Patrick's Day just once, Halloween six times, Thanksgiving five times, Christmas six times, Hanukkah twice, and Kwanzaa three times. New Year's is mentioned a couple times as well.

Every girl except Abby and Shannon are shown crushing on boys (Logan only has a crush on Mary Anne). Some have more crushes than others:
Claudia-14
Stacey-13
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-3
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-2
Logan-1
Abby-0
Shannon-0

They have club-wide fights thirteen times. They have 38 families for whom they regularly sit.


Types of candy and food in Claudia’s room: 153    
-Apple (for Stacey)
-Bagel chips, bonbons, brownies (homemade), bubble gum, Butterfingers, butterscotch candy
-Candy corn, candy hearts, caramels, carrots (for Stacey), celery (for Stacey), Charleston Chews, Cheese Doodles,  Cheese Whiz, Cheetos (regular and Paws), cherry creams, Chips Ahoy, a chocolate bar, chocolate chip cookies made by Mrs. Kishi’s coworker, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate-covered coffee beans, chocolate coins, chocolate marshmallow cookies, chocolate stars, chocolate twigs, Chuckle Rings, Chunky bar, Cocoa Blinkens, Combos, cookies, corn chips (blue, salsa flavored), Cracker Jacks, crackers (unspecified, sesame,  and whole wheat), cupcakes, dark-chocolate caramels
-Devil Dogs, Ding-Dongs, Doritos (regular and Cool Ranch), Dove chocolates, Dots
-Fig Newtons (and Apple and Cherry), fluffernutter sandwiches, Fritos, Frookies, Frookwiches, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Roll-Ups, fruit pie
-Goobers, gumdrops, Gummi Bears (regular and sweet-n-sour), Gummi worms
-Heath bars, Hershey’s Hugs, Hershey's kisses (regular and Valentine-themed), Hershey’s Miniatures, Ho Hos, Hostess cupcakes (once with Mary Anne’s spelled out in Alpha-Bits cereal to celebrate her quick thinking in an emergency)
-Ice cream cake
-Jawbreakers, jellybeans, jujubes, Junior Mints
-Kit-Kats
-Licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, Lorna Doones
-M&Ms (holiday, regular, mint, and peanut), macrobiotic cookies, Mallomars, malt balls, Mars bars, marshmallows (plus Halloween ones in the shape of jack-o-lanterns), Mentos, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, mini candy bars, Munchos
-Nachos (homemade, for Stacey), Necco wafers, nuts (mixed)
-Oreos (regular, Double Stuf, and chocolate-dipped), organic mint tabouli
-Payday bars, Planter's Peanut bar, Peppermint Patties, pop, popcorn (regular, white cheddar, caramel butter, and Smartfood cheese-flavored), potato chips (regular, barbecue, all-natural, salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, and sour cream), pretzels (cheese-filled, chocolate-dipped, garlic nugget flavor, regular, sesame seed, and sourdough), pretzel sticks, Pringles
-Raisenettes, red hots, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Pieces, Ring Dings, rice cakes, root beer barrels,  Ruffles
-Salt water taffy, Skittles, Skor bars,  Snickers (regular and mini), Sour Patch Kids, Starburst
-Taco chips, Three Musketeers (regular and light), Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Rolls, tortilla chips, trail mix, Triscuits, Twinkies, Twizzlers
-Veggie rice nuggets
-Walnut fudgie bars
-Yankee Doodles, yeastless seven-grain molasses bread, Yodels, yogurt-covered raisins

It also seems worth noting that since I posted my first recap on November 30, 2009, I've had two children. I also recently found a great sitter for my toddler (and the infant when she's older and eating more than just milk). She's not as cheap as the BSC, but she charges a fair wage for the work she does.

More details to come!

8/15/13

The Summer Before

Original Publication Date: 2010

Ghostwriter? No. Ann M. Martin dedicates this book to Jean Feiwel, David Leviathan, Brenda Bowen, and Bethany Buck. Special thanks is also given to "my nephew Henry for introducing me to Tail Trail and the naked mole rat, and to Haedyn and Holden Riley for inventing the game of Sticky."

Synopsis:

This book is set in the summer before seventh grade starts, just before the BSC formed. It's written like a Super Special, with each of the original four girls narrating their chapters, so I've tagged it as such.

Kristy's chapters show a little more of why she was so opposed to Watson at first. The fact that her mother was getting so serious about another man meant that her father really wasn't coming back. She writes her father a letter in hopes that maybe she'll hear from him. It comes back "Addressee Unknown." Despite this, she holds out hope that maybe, just maybe, her father will show on her birthday (in August) to surprise her. He doesn't, of course.

Mary Anne wants to grow up a bit, but this is back when her father was over-protective. She does get a little break: for the first time, her dad agrees to let her baby-sit at the Pikes' with Kristy. The job goes well, and Mary Anne's father agrees to let her continue sitting, but always with another sitter, even if it's just for one child. By the end of the summer she's proven to him that she's mature enough to sit on her own. Mary Anne also wants to be sure to do something really special for Kristy, since she knows about the letter. She plans a day shortly after Kristy's birthday to celebrate her, anticipating that Kristy will be feeling down because she won't hear from her father. Mary Anne is right, and Kristy very much appreciates the effort.

Claudia is noticing that she's maturing faster than Kristy and Mary Anne. They seem a lot younger than she is, but that's not going to stop Claudia from being friends with them and inviting them to her birthday party. She's very excited about the party: for the first time, she's going to invite boys as well as girls, for a pool party (the Goldmans, who live next door, generously let the Kishis swim in their pool). The party is a lot of fun, and Claudia has Janine invite a few friends too. One of the friends is Frankie, who Claudia gets an instant crush on. He seems to like her too, which is a problem since Janine has a crush on him and invited him to get to know him better. Things get more awkward when Claudia and Frankie start spending time together. But then his friends come back from their summer activities and the age difference between the two becomes more obvious (he's Janine's age, about to enter high school), and he breaks up with her. Claudia realizes that she still has people she can rely on: her family and her friends.

Stacey is still in New York City when the books starts, coming off a horrible year of being bullied and excluded due to her recently getting diabetes and all the mess that has happened while trying to figure out a diagnosis and proper management. Laine had started to become distant before this, and the drama surrounding Stacey's diabetes just made things worse. Because of this, she's looking forward to moving to Stoneybrook, where her father has just been transferred. On the first day of school, she meets Claudia and the two bond quickly.

The book ends with Kristy narrating a chapter that recaps the beginning of Kristy's Great Idea and the germination of the Baby-sitters Club.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: M&Ms

And in the last book, Claudia surprises me by pulling into the lead for crushes! She beats Stacey 14-13.

Kristy has a godmother, who sends her a present. No mention of a godfather, though (and I don't recall Claudia's niece Lynn having a godfather).

Kristy gets a fancy watch for her birthday, from her mother. And thus starts the DON'T BE EVEN A SECOND LATE TO MEETINGS Kristy.

Part of Mary Anne's chapters involve her going through a box of her mother's things. Among them is a set of dolls which Mary Anne...not really plays with, but...uses, I guess? And this is why Claudia thinks that Mary Anne still plays with dolls.

Mary Anne has bangs. Really?

Stacey notes that Claudia is wearing bell-bottoms on the first day of school and thinks Claudia is very fashionable. But when Ashely Wyeth wore them...


Their Families:

Kristy's mother started dating Watson in May of the year that Kristy was in sixth grade.

In Claudia's first chapter, her family sits down to a dinner of chicken, rice, and salad, which is exactly what we're having tonight.

When Stacey heads out in NYC, her mom doesn't tell her to "Have fun and be careful." Sad.

Some of Kristy's extended family members are mentioned, with names matching what they've been in other books.

Charlie spent one of his birthdays in Florida. I assume Kristy would have been there, but in Baby-sitters on Board she says she's never left the state (despite doing so in the Portrait Collections), been on a plane, or been to Florida. Certainly one can drive to Florida--I've done so from Seattle--but still. Long drive.

It's really nice to see Mimi in a book again.


The Club (and clients):

So, the deal with so many parties involving little kids? Stacey's surprise going-away party includes the kids she sits for in NYC, and the party Mary Anne plans for Kristy includes the kids they sit for.

Jenny Prezzioso adores Kristy. Too bad Kristy doesn't return the sentiment.


SMS:

New-to-us teacher: Mrs. Alpin, sixth grade (subject unspecified); Mr. Conklin, sixth grade math;

New-to-us students: Darnell Harris and Polly Hanson (in the girls' grade). A previously-mentioned Kurt is confirmed to be in the same grade as well.


PSA Time:

I really like the point Kristy's mom makes about being mad at people. After a point, it's a waste of your own time and energy, especially when the other person has no idea (in her case, Patrick). It makes sense to remember you can't trust someone, but she rightly points out that spending all your time stewing about the past is unproductive.


Misc:

That's it! The last of my BSC books. I'll do some summary posts next.

Mary Anne and her family rent the Goldmans' house for a while, but there's no mention of the pool. Or at any point in the other books.

Kristy plans a picnic dinner with her family so they can watch for shooting stars while they eat. What time are they eating? Because sun sets at about 8:30 in Connecticut in the summer. Plus there's not a reliable meteor until August...

At one point, Claudia uses mascara to try to make a "beauty mark" on her face (think Cindy Crawford's mole). My mom has told me that when she was younger, her classmates would do this and it was funny to watch the beauty mark migrate around their faces. My mom has a natural one so she didn't need to use Sharpies or mascara like her friends.


The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 13

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

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 5

Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-6, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 6

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

Summers after 8th grade: 14

BSC Fights: 13

SMS Staff and Faculty: 71

Students (other than the BSC): 221: 127 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 31 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 38 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 153

Crushes:
Claudia-14
Stacey-13
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-3
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-2
Abby-0

8/10/13

Graduation Day (FFSS#2)

Original Publication Date: 2000

Ghostwriter? No. Ann M. Martin dedicates this book to and thanks all the readers of the BSC: past, present, and future.

Synopsis:

After a thirteenth trip through eighth grade (the last book took place in the summer; now it's the end of May), the eighth grade members of the BSC are finally about to graduate to high school. Here's what's going through their minds as they prepare to leave SMS:

Kristy is pretty nervous about high school. She's been happy with how things are going, and the change worries her. More so when Stacey reveals her plans to spend more time in New York City and also helping her mom with the new store. Mary Anne, Dawn, and Claudia also want to cut back on sitting for various reasons. Basically, Kristy's worried that she's peaked already. But after reflection, she figures she can't stop time and resolves to make the best of it.

Mary Anne is very excited to graduate. She feels like she's ready to see what life has next for her. She and Mallory help several of the BSC charges put together a time capsule, which will be opened in seven years when the oldest of kids will be heading to college. Mary Anne isn't quite ready to leave middle school behind, though: she feels the need to talk with Logan and finally get all that sorted out, which she does. Now Mary Anne is ready for a fresh start in high school.

Stacey is nervous for a different reason: she's worried her parents will cause a scene at graduation. She's also wondering if the BSC will really matter once they're high school students. Then a new worry: she has an overdue library book that she doesn't remember checking out of the SMS library, and won't be able to graduate until it's returned! After searching everywhere, Stacey just buys a new copy and gives it the librarian. Now she can graduate (and her parents behave just fine).

Claudia is concerned that she might not pass eighth grade. She worked very hard on a science experiment (whether music affects plant growth; the same things Charlotte Johanssen did for a third-grade science fair) but only got a D+ and now might fail science. Then she does tank the final. Her parents are able to work out a deal with the school so she can walk at graduation and officially graduate once she passes summer school.

Mallory helps out with sitting during her summer break. She feels a little out of place after her time at boarding school, and still carries the scars of the teasing she received. While there are many things she likes about Stoneybrook, she definitely doesn't like how it can be stifling due to its small size and propensity toward cliquishness. Despite this, being away for a while has made her appreciate the good parts, and she considers Stoneybrook her home.

Jessi is preparing for a summer world tour with her dance studio. The letter she writes for the time capsule implies that she feels less connected to Stoneybrook than the rest of the BSC. She plans to become more serious with her dancing.

Abby writes a letter about why the BSC has been important to her. She's still not totally settled in Stoneybrook, but feels at home when she's with her friends.

Dawn visits for graduation. She notes that while she's a California girl at heart, she feels a connection to Stoneybrook. She wishes airfare were cheaper so she could visit more.

There are also chapters from:

Jackie, who writes a letter about Kristy's Krushers and how great it is to be allowed to be a part of a team like it. He puts the letter and a softball in the time capsule.

Claire, who doesn't quite get the concept of a time capsule (per Vanessa, to whom Claire dictated the letter), offers her teddy bear for it with a letter about why it's important. The time capsule gets dug up early to retrieve the bear, then reburied.

Charlotte, who includes an issue of her school newspaper which has an article she wrote about an important person in her life: Stacey. She hopes that when the time capsule is opened she and Stacey will be still be almost-sisters.

Charlie, who wrote a letter to himself four years ago in eighth grade which he's now received (the BSC writes similar letters to themselves). His letter was written three years after Patrick Thomas took off, when the Thomases were still struggling financially. Charlie writes about how he hopes he can go to college, but isn't sure if he'll be able to afford it ("present day" Charlie is going to a local small college with aspirations to transfer to UCLA), and that he hopes his mother will be dating someone nice, since she deserves it. He also hopes that he will never shirk his responsibilities the way his father has.

For the time capsule, Mary Anne contributes a piece of burnt wood from her old house with a letter about how everyone came together to offer help, Mallory an information pamphlet about Stoneybrook, Jessi a newspaper article about racial intolerance and a plea for equality for all people (not just in terms of race; she specifies sexual orientation, religion, mental and physical disabilities, and others), Kristy an original BSC flier and a letter about how great it is to feel connected to the people around you, Abby a letter and photo album about the BSC and the kids in Stoneybrook, Stacey a flier from a talent show the BSC charges had and a letter about how close-knit everyone in town is, Dawn a series of ads that show current prices for various things and a letter wondering how things will change in seven years, and Claudia a flier that she designed for the upcoming 250th "birthday" of Stoneybrook and a letter about what is planned for that.

The book ends with a BSC party at Claudia's, reminiscing about the fun times they've had and wondering about what the future holds. They make a pact to reunite in twelve years. I was hoping for a book about that, but 2012 has come and gone.


Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: none mentioned

Because she's nervous about moving to high school, Kristy wonders if it's possible to just repeat eighth grade. Not again, Kristy; you've done that enough.

There's a brief implication that Claudia's birthday is in the early summer, which is consistent with her Portrait Collection book.

Claudia has a computer in her room now.


Their Families:

Dawn describes Mary Anne as the world's best stepsister, but Richard as a pretty nice stepfather. Funny.

Samantha (Stacey's soon-to-be stepmother) wants to have kids. Assuming the infertility issues that plagued Stacey's parents after she was born aren't an issue this time around, Stacey is excited at the prospect of having a sibling or siblings.


The Club (and clients):

Claudia includes Jamie and Lucy Newton in her list of people who are special to her. Back in the day, the Newtons were her favorite clients, so that's nice continuity.


SMS:

Summer starts for the fourteenth time at the end of the book.

New-to-us student: Stephanie Kingsley, 8th grade

Emily Bernstein is valedictorian.


PSA Time: nothing stood out.


Misc:

This is the last Friends Forever book and the last Super Special. I have The Summer Before to recap next. After that, some posts summarizing the trivia found in the books, reviewing the TV series now that it's on Netflix, and then American Girl books.

A good way to compare today's prices to past prices is not just "This cost X in 1950" but to figure out how many hours of work the average person would have to put in to afford the item. So while milk was under a dollar a gallon in the fifties, keep in mind that the average income in the US was under $4,000 a year.



The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 13

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

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 5

Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-6, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 6

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

Summers after 8th grade: 14

BSC Fights: 13

SMS Staff and Faculty: 69

Students (other than the BSC): 219: 124 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 31 7th graders, 48 6th graders, 16 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.

Clients: 38 families

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 153

Crushes:
Stacey-13
Claudia-13
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-3
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-2
Abby-0

8/5/13

Ducky Diary 3 (CD#15)

Original Publication Date: 2000

Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker.

Synopsis:

As summer winds down, Ducky and Sunny are spending more time together. They get along really well as friends. Ducky finds himself wondering if there's more to it than that, whether Sunny wants it to be more, and whether he wants it to be more. They go to see a movie one evening and as Ducky drops Sunny off at home, she kisses him. He ends up incredibly confused: does she really think of him as boyfriend material? What happened to being best friends? And why didn't he like it?

Much of his diary is full of this sort of wondering. Part of him even wants to be able to be in love with Sunny, but he can't make himself feel that way. After several days, he and Sunny finally talk and agree that the kiss was a failed experiment and are able to go back to being friends without any romantic undertones. Ducky celebrates the end of the summer with a party (Amalia, Sunny, Dawn, Maggie, and Brendan are all guests). He wraps up his diary entry with a sense of satisfaction that while he might not have all the answers yet, his life and his friends' lives are going to turn out all right.



Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Ducky):

Ducky has never used a bookmark in his life. He's not allowed to borrow any of my books then. I like my book spines and pages intact, thank you very much. No leaving books pages down and open or dog-earing pages.

Ducky is back working at the bookstore Sunny's dad owns.

This is the diary that is said to be the most indicative of Ducky's sexual orientation. He picks out several books by gay authors, wonders if other men are as he puts it "afraid of women" and confused about things the way he is, and so on.

Amalia is still dealing with the after-effects of an abusive boyfriend, pushing Brendan away because she's worried about getting hurt (not just emotionally).

Dawn has bonded with her baby sister. Good!


Their Families:

Maggie's mother is drinking more and more, to the point that Ducky has to go pick up Maggie and her brother in the middle of the night during a drunken rampage of hers (Mr. Blume is in Vancouver for a film shoot). Finally, finally, finally her family gets her into a treatment center.

Sunny and her dad have grown closer since Mrs. Winslow died.


PSA Time:

Saying trite things like "Oh, I guess if you can't find the price it's free!" to the cashier when you're checking out makes the cashier hate you.

It actually is okay to call the police on family or close friends if someone's in danger. You might feel like you're betraying whoever is causing the danger, but either that person needs help (like is mentally unstable) or has already betrayed you by acting dangerously (in the case of pressing charges against a family member after an episode of domestic violence).


Misc:

This book takes place during the second half of August and the beginning of September.

This is the last book narrated by Ducky, and the last California Diary.

My copy of the book is yet another California Diary with "Drohan" written in it. Must have been part of a lot I bought off eBay.

At one point Ducky gets "a horror book set at a beach." Would it really have been that big of a problem to name-drop Jaws?


The numbers:

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: 10

BSC Fights: 11

SMS Staff and Faculty: 67

Students (other than the BSC): 209: 119 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 26 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: 130

Crushes:
Stacey-12
Claudia-10
Dawn-5
Jessi-3
Mallory-2
Mary Anne-2
Kristy-1
Abby-0