Monday, October 15, 2012

"Did she even have any acting skills to polish up?" BSC #19 Claudia and the Bad Joke (1988)

AKA Claudia and the BSC Wage War on an Eight Year Old

Claudia gets a babysitting job for a new client who's known as a practical joker. Thanks to the little girl, she breaks her leg and ends up in traction. Being the genius she is, Claudia decides that babysitting is dangerous and she needs to drop out of the club. The club declares a joke war on Betsy and humiliates her, and Claudia decides to stay in the club.

Interesting tidbits

Kristy has a "thing" about wearing food. I find this interesting, since Claudia routinely has veggies on her shirts and watermelons hanging from her ears.

Chapter one in this book = chapter two in all the later books. (Actually, we only hear about the babysitters in chapter one; we learn about the club in chapter two.) It always used to throw me off when I'd read the books and the descriptions would come in chapter one, or (worse still) in chapter three. As a kid, as soon as they started describing all the club members, I would flip to the next chapter. Actually, I would flip to the end of that chapter and find out which kids were going to be the subject of the sitting plot/subplot, because they almost always lined up the first job with them at the end of chapter two. Even at age 10 I figured out how formulaic this all was.

Do we really need to be told that Jessi is short for Jessica? Is there anyone out there who couldn't have guessed that?

There are Oreos in Claudia's pant brush box. That sounds...dirty.

I've never understood why the BSC keeps track of how much money they each earn. That sounds like it would cause giant fights. "Mary Anne, how come you've earned so much more than I have?" etc.

Anyone know if there's a picture of the map of Stoneybrook online anywhere? I'd love to see it. My parents wouldn't let me join the BSC fan club back in the day, but I was obsessed as a child with where all the streets were in relation to each other. Had I known there was a map, I would have killed for it.

In this book, Dawn has been spending a lot of time at Claudia's, staying late after meetings and having dinner with the Kishis. I wish they would have developed that more. It would have been fascinating to see Dawn and Claudia get really close, and then have Stacey come back into the picture.

Claudia is reading Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry and they recently finished A Wrinkle in Time. My other passion in kiddy lit is keeping up with Newbery winners, so this made me smile.

Claudia talks to a couple of Betsy's old sitters before her first job at the Sobaks. One of them is a boy named Gordon. But...I thought Logan was the only boy who liked to sit! *Faint*

Mrs. Sobak's first name is Cookie.

Betsy has a much older sister, Pat, who is already married with a baby.

Betsy's practical jokes: dribble glass, fake fly in ice cube, pepper gum (she switches wrappers so Claudia thinks she's getting Wrigleys), having Claudia sit on a swing she knows is broken*.

*Anyone ever play the computer game The Colonel's Bequest before? There's a swing outside the mansion, and if you have the character (Laura Bow) sit in it, she falls right through the bottom, the way Betsy intended Claudia to do.

Claudia compares her broken leg to eating lunch with Kristy in terms of disgustingness. Yep.

Claudia wants Betsy to call the Rodowskys if she can't reach her parents. She says that it's in the phone book: "Rodowsky is spelled, um, R, let's see...."

Mallory and Dawn are babysitting "a bunch of kids" at the Rodowskys. Dawn insists on going in the ambulance with Claudia, leaving Mal alone with enough kids for two sitters, plus Betsy. Doesn't seem too smart. Couldn't she have called another club member or even someone's parents to come help also?

Even if there are no rules about it, I can't imagine voluntarily taking your four or five year old to make a visit in the hospital. Maybe if a grandparent were dying or mom had just had a baby. But both Myriah and Jamie go to see Claudia, who's not blood related.

This sentence says so much: "Usually, I think my parents are dorks, but every now and then they come through."

 MA actually brings Tigger to visit Claudia in the hospital.

The Pikes try all kinds of lame practical jokes. The worst is Vanessa, over at the Braddocks, who calls three times. After asking if the refrigerator is running, she just says, "Just checking." Later she calls asking for Prince Charles, and Jessi tells her PC can't come to the phone, as he's outside waxing his yacht.

Claudia keeps complaining about the lack of junk food in the hospital. I fully expected someone would bring her treats, but I didn't think it would be Dawn, of all people.

I can understand Claudia's homeroom teacher calling her so that the class can welcome her home, but does she really need to talk to every kid? That seems silly: "Um, hey. I know I snapped your bra a couple weeks ago and called you a fatty, but welcome home."

Oh, Kristy. Her "autograph" on Claudia's cast: "God made the rivers, God made the lakes, God made Claudia...well, we all make mistakes."

Instead of telling the Sobaks that they won't sit for Betsy anymore unless she promises not to pull any more jokes, the BSC decide to start a prank war with her. Which is a lot stupid, but pretty typical of these girls.

Mal and Betsy recite Wynken, Blynken and Nod together.

I can understand not telling the Sobaks about Betsy's joke playing while in the midst of a joke war, but Dawn calls a truce and Betsy still gets her with a shaving cream ice cream sundae. That's probably something her parents should know, as it could have actually made Dawn ill if she'd swallowed it.

You can tell Claudia's bored. She says she wishes she could see various sitting charges again, and she even includes Karen.

Kristy babysits for Betsy at the movies, and crosses over from playing pranks to just plain being cruel. It's not just that she lets an 8 year old go to the popcorn counter by herself--and then changes seats so Betsy can't find her when she comes back--but she also does it right in front of Betsy's classmates.

At a club meeting, Dawn and MA are sitting on the floor. Makes me wonder if Mal and Jessi are also on the floor, and if so, how big is Claudia's room?

New Characters

Betsy Sobak (8)--32


Betsy: (Mini Claudia alert!): red cuffed pants, red suspenders, blue and white striped shirt, two pigtails with blue hair ribbons (very, very 1988!)

Claudia: white shirt, painted and covered in sequins

Next week: probably Mystery #3 Mallory and the Ghost Cat

No comments:

Post a Comment