Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"But he gave me the Bizzer Sign!" #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three (1987)

Aka Dawn Babysits Mrs. Barrett

In Dawn's first book, she takes on a big task--Mrs. Barrett. The Barrett kids are fine and Dawn likes them, but their house is a mess and so is their mother. Dawn ends up cleaning the house regularly, and when she needs to know where Mrs. Barrett is, she has no clue. Things come to a head when Mrs. Barrett has a bigger problem: She forgets it's her husband's weekend for visitation. So Mr. Barrett, who's no prize himself, decides to get back at her by driving off with their oldest child, son Buddy. Dawn's babysitting and it looks like Buddy's been kidnaped. But he comes home safely, Dawn talks to Mrs. Barrett and she decides to get more organized.

In the subplot, Kristy is (duh) jealous of Dawn's friendship with Mary Anne. Because Kristy is used to having MA under her thumb. So Dawn tries everything in her power to become friends with Kristy. Apparently, this can be accomplished by playing in a hayloft.

Interesting tidbits

I think it's interesting that Mrs. Pike is a member of so many committees, such as the library trustees. I think I'd do the same thing if I had eight kids. Anything to get out of the house. (BTW, when I was a kid, I thought that huge families like the Pikes were awesome. Then I met a girl who is the oldest of 13 and decided that people who have more than three or four kids these days must be at least a little bit nuts.)

Dawn says her mother is crazy, but not nasty crazy. Then she proceeds to describe Sharon as we are all used to hearing about her: how she puts mixing bowls in the linen closet and shoes in the refrigerator. I understand being disorganized. I often can't find my keys or remote or what have you because I walked off with them and set them down somewhere. But they always make Sharon sound like she half-way does this on purpose, like she thought her lipstick belonged in the silverware drawer.

Dawn never mentions how old she is. The book seems to be set in spring. Let's say it's in April. That means that Dawn and Stacey are both thirteen and the other three are twelve, but I'm not sure AMM had set birthdays for the girls yet, so she may not have even known yet. (Later in the book, she establishes the date as late April, and the book goes straight through May toward June.)

Dawn takes a different tact for dealing with Janine than her fellow BSC members. Instead of avoiding her, she just changes the subject. Seems to work fairly well.

Kristy can be pretty passive aggressive. When Mary Anne invites Dawn and Kristy over to help redecorate her room, Kristy talks only to MA, never to Dawn, and she tries to one-up her all the time.

Mistake time! This version of the book (which is the original, not the re-write, though it does have the new cover) mentions Dawn, MA, Kristy and the Schillabers sit together at lunch. It then says, "The four of us spread out our lunches." I guess the twins are one person.

It takes Dawn until page 36 to realize Kristy is jealous of her.

The new cover is pretty similar to the original for this book. It's pretty much straight out of the book when Dawn first meets the Barretts. Buddy is described as wearing flippers and a cowboy hat, and a "grubby bandage" on one finger. Suzi's jumper is coming undone and she has messy, slept-in braids, and Marnie's diaper is drooping. Only thing missing is that Dawn's hair is described as waist-length and white-blonde. Here, it's not nearly that long and is golden blonde.

I knew there was something I didn't like about Dawn. She thinks Karen is really cute and fun.

In this book, Dawn calls Watson Mr. Brewer, and describes his living room. It has a grand piano, three couches and five armchairs. It sounds like it's bigger than my entire house. This book also has the dubious distinction of having the first mention of the ghost of Ben Brewer.

Another first: the Bizzer Sign. My sister and I used to do this to each other as a joke. Of course, we also used to insult each other by accusing one another of having STDs. ("You have crabs!" "You have herpes!") Adam, Jordan, Buddy and even Mallory irritate younger kids by using it during the Pike/Barrett picnic.

Marnie is the second BSC sitting charge to be allergic to chocolate. (It must not be a bad allergy, as she's eating M&Ms earlier in the book during the cleaning races.)

Claudia has an entry in the BSC notebook, and there are a few good misspellings: tickits, luckly, apontment and freind. She's got a case of the Caps when she says Sharon went to a Concert and Dawn Sat. And of course, some word usage errors: their instead of there and to instead of too.

Ooh, that Mrs. Barrett is such a good tipper. She gives Dawn an extra dollar for helping to clean up a mess.

When Sharon's dad is first mentioned, Dawn calls him Grandpa. A few pages later, he's Pop-Pop.

Heh heh. When Dawn asks MA how Pop-Pop looks, Kristy says his shirt doesn't match his pants.

Dawn imagines that one day the BSC will be a huge organization, with Mallory as part of it. More about this later in my next post.

Pink t-shirt; pink and red flowered jumpsuit
T-shirt with "Genius Inside" on it; jean shorts

New characters
Buddy, Suzi and Marnie Barrett (7, 4, 1)--32, 29, 26

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