In this, the very first "mystery," Claudia and Kristy start receiving weird phone calls while they're babysitting. Meanwhile, a few towns over, a thief called the Phantom Caller has been calling houses and if no one answers, he robs the house. The BSC assume their calls are from this Phantom Caller and hilarity (I mean silliness) ensues. Turns out it was just a couple of immature seventh grader boys who were too nervous to ask the girls out. I guess they didn't think of pulling their hair to get their attention. (Actually, Kristy says Alan does that, too.)
Luckily for us, this isn't as ludicrous as the actual BSC mystery series, which comes along down the road. The BSC doesn't actually catch any bad guys, for one thing.
When the girls are hideously bored (just before they discover the Phantom Caller and start freaking out), Kristy mentions she has a trunk full of old toys "Mom got from Grandma." Does she mean her mom got from mom's grandma? We all know that Elizabeth Thomas/Brewer's mother goes by Nannie. (BTW, does anyone know what Nannie's last name is?) Maybe they're from Kristy's paternal grandmother, but, if so, why give them to your ex-daughter in law? Why not give them to your grandkids?
They mention the thief hits in Mercer, which, at 20 miles away, is the closest town to Stoneybrook. I know Stamford is close to the Brook in other books (for fans of The Office, I have always imagined that Jim got an apartment in Stoneybrook when he was based in the Stamford branch). Stoneybrook is large enough to "sometimes" have a mall in it, so it's not some hick town in the middle of nowhere. I always pictured it as pretty suburban, so why is the nearest town 20 miles away? In the suburbs, towns tend to blend together and be right next to each other.
Janine really has poor social skills, doesn't she? I know they say that's true of many people with high IQs...since others can't keep up with their brains, they spend more time with facts and knowledge than with people. Janine has a very hard time ascertaining the interest level of her partner while chatting on a subject. No wonder Claudia had trouble with her--although, she really should point it out more nicely. At one point, she tells Janine to shut up.
In the original version of the book, I'm pretty sure Nina Marshall tells Claudia it's her bedtime after the Muppet Show is over. This happens when Claudia is so freaked out that she tries to keep the three year old from going to sleep so she doesn't have to be alone. In the re-write, Nina simply says she has to go to bed after "my show." Guess everyone figured kids these days wouldn't know who the Muppets are. (This WAS redone before the new Muppets movie came out. And admittedly, I discovered one of my seventeen year old co-workers doesn't know who Kermit the Frog is, so I guess that's pretty accurate.)
Ha ha ha. Another change. In the original book, Charlotte says she and Stacey can't watch MTV because she doesn't have cable. In this one, the Johanssens have blocked channels inappropriate for Charlotte to watch. Guess they don't want her to catch Jersey Shore.
Claudia "knows" Pete is going to ask Stacey to the dance, because Pete told Rick who told Howie who told Dorianne who told Charlie Brown who told Linus who told Lucy who told Claudia. Whew. I think he did that just so none of the other guys they hang out with would ask her. At this age, if they haven't dated before, I don't think asking someone to the dance is tantamount to being in luv (as Stacey would say) with them, or even like-liking them. It just means you want to spend a few hours drinking punch, trying awkwardly to talk to each other, and avoiding dancing with one another.
This is a funny one. Claudia asks why Kristy agreed to go to the dance with Alan when he's been such a pest to her through her whole school career. (I know why--he's the first boy to ever ask her out. She's flattered, even if she thinks he's an idiot. We've ALL done that to some extent.) She falters while describing how annoying Alan is and Kristy pipes in with the idea that he's as annoying as hat hair. That's something that would definitely irritate Claudia.
Lots of books mentioned in this one. The Pond (never heard of it except in this book, but I assume it's real), The Witch of Blackbird Pond (owned it and loved it),
The Secret Garden (never read it but hear it's pretty good).
Purple board shorts (she calls them "pants that stop just below the knee") with suspenders; white tights with clocks; purple plaid shirt and hat; hightops (the same red ones she wore with lavender in book one?); lobster earrings
Bow tie with Scottie dogs on it; hair in five braids held up by beaded clips with streamers (I wanted some of those streamer clips when I was a kid.)
Teddy bear barrettes, again with streamers
Tamara, Sam's date: Spiky yellow hair (sounds like Spike from Degrassi) with green tips; Madonna-esque lace gloves with no fingertips
Stacey and Claudia dance wear:
Baggy jeans and bulky sweaters
Plaid jumper and red turtleneck (sounds way cuter than anything Claud has worn so far)
New Sitting Charges:
The Willises (no information given, and never mentioned again to my knowledge)