Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"I have stolen a man's suitcase with a murder victim inside it, the mob is about to close in, I'm making my European debut looking like a cover model for Parenting magazine, and you're making fun of me!" BONUS BOOK! BSC Super Special #15 Baby-sitters' European Vacation (1998)

I just got this in via interlibrary loan; I first requested it six months ago. Therefore, despite the fact that Logan does not go on this particular ridiculous vacation (and doesn't even get a chapter, despite being in the story), I just had to read and blog it. You have no idea how ridiculously happy receiving this book made me.
The main idea of this one should be obvious: some of the girls are going on another school trip, to London and Paris. They're going with a group of Canadian students, as in, the two groups travel completely together. The rest of the club stays home and works at a day camp. As with other super specials, each girl has her own story. Let's start with the girls who went on the trip:
Kristy: meets one of the Canadian students, Michel, and hates him on sight. The two of them get lost together in Paris. Of course, they end up having a romance, because someone had to, and Kristy hadn't had one in a SS yet. Or something.
Stacey: is upset that her mom is one of the chaperones. She also gets the wrong suitcase and ends up meeting the owner in Paris, where she learns all about D-Day.
Mallory: meets her mother's cousin, who is a British author. She starts writing a book and ignores all the sights of Paris. She also finds out she's distantly related to Shakespeare.
Abby: meets Victoria from #102, and gets to accompany her to meet the Queen. However, she's disappointed that she doesn't actually get to meet the Queen herself, and then she steps on a royal's toes. Literally.
Jessi: the dance troupe she almost joined is performing in London, so she arranges tickets. When one of the dancers hurts herself, Jessi gets thrown into one of the numbers. (I almost forgot to include her, which shows how thrilling this story was. It was over by half-way through the book.)
Back in Stoneybrook:
Claudia: Janine ends up working as a head counselor at the camp where Claudia, Dawn, MA and Logan are working. She's particularly hard on Claudia. Eventually Claudia finds out the other head counselor, Janine's ex, is being just as tough on Janine as Janine is on her, and she felt Claudia was the safest place to vent.
Dawn: spends a day filling in at the camp for special needs kids where Janine was supposed to work. Susan, from #32 Kristy and the Secret of Susan, is among the campers.
Mary Anne: doesn't really have her own story. She just deals with Cokie being an ass (nothing new there.)
Interesting tidbits
Becca's jealous of Jessi, so she's been going around using a British accent and watching Pepe Le Pew cartoons.
Jessi splits the difference and says that Mallory has reddish-brown hair.
Kristy's hair is described as shoulder-length, yet they always illustrate her as having longer hair.
Jessi caught the Caps Bug. She said that Claudia's parents approve of Creativity but not of Bad Nutrition.
This is actually about right: "...because she's, well, Abby. Dedicated to the art of saying weird things and making people laugh." This is after Abby answers the phone by saying, "No job too small, no kid too big!"
Speaking of Abby, I had to transcribe this from her notebook entry:
Checklist for meeting the Queen
1. Avoid scaring her: brush hair
2. Check between teeth for unsightly bits of lunch
3. De-gooberize nose in advance
4. Shake hands gently to avoid breaking elderly fingers
5. Do not kiss her on lips
6. Ask about Elvis only if the opportunity presents itself....
Claudia speaks with her mouth full, and Stacey actually turns to her and says, "Swallow, please," so that she can be understood.
Abby suggests that Elvis was in the Civil War and then asks Kristy if cricket stadiums are like flea markets. (Kristy responds to the latter by throwing a dinner roll at her.)
The group toasts at their party with "champagne." Jessi toasts MA, Claudia and Dawn (who are not going on the trip) and Logan, who is also at the event and not going on the trip, adds, "Uh, hello?"
Jessi says this is the first time she's left the country. Dawn says she's been to France before, and Stacey took a trip with her parents to Ireland as a child.
Alan Gray gets in trouble at customs because he was, big surprise, acting like an idiot.
I about died laughing at this part. Stacey and Kristy are sharing a motel room in London, and when Stacey opens her suitcase, not only is it not hers, but it also contains a canister of cremains. Ew! Stacey's mom makes her go wash her hands after she picks up the cremains. Kristy finds the whole thing amusing.
Stacey assumes the cremains are of a murder victim. Because all serial killers carry their victims in their suitcases.
Even though Claudia is not on the trip, we get to see her fabulous spelling. Eczotic, allready, untill, counsler, didnt', yestrday, hed, recroot, geuss. She also uses hear for here and their for there. Unlike a lot of her spellings, these actually kind of make sense.
Janine makes Claudia, Dawn, Mary Anne check the playground equipment. She then proceeds to check inside the mouth of a fiberglass t-rex. Claudia suggests she's checking for half-eaten chunks of fiberglass triceratops.
The six eighth grade camp counselors are Mary Anne, Dawn, Claudia, Logan, a guy named Bruce that Claudia thinks is cute, and Cokie.
Mallory gets to see a family tree for her mother's side of the family, and you learn a few of the nerdy nit-picky facts I love. Mrs. Pike's maiden name is Bennett, and Dee (which Stacey's mom calls her in an earlier book) is short for Diana. In this book, Mallory's dad is Jonathan. One of Mrs. Pike's brothers is named Jordan, and her father's name is Adam.
Alan acts like an idiot at the Tate Gallery, and Kristy announces to everyone who can hear her that he's not a member of their group.
The other chaperone, Mr. Dougherty, is worse than Alan, if that's possible. He keeps trying to talk with a British accent, gets lost in the Tate Gallery (and a couple other places) and acts like a kid in a candy store.
There are several references to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
YES! There's actually a picture of Cokie in the book! Claudia and MA are soaked by rain and she refers to them as the BSC wet t-shirt contest.
Cokie only got onto the camp staff because her mother is a member of the board of education, which sponsored the camp.
Among the campers are the Hobarts, Papadakises, Dewitt and Barrett kids, Kuhns, Kormans, and the Arnold twins.
Kristy and Stacey are half-arguing about Michel, with Abby throwing in comments for fun. It's like reading several conversations at the same time. Stacey suggests Kristy must really hate Michel, Kristy asks her what she means, Stacey goes back to her book and ignores Kristy, and Abby suggests Stacey will get sick reading and walking at the same time. (This is a skill Stacey must have picked up from Janine. It is also one that I myself am very good at.)
Mallory calls Abby a philistine, and no one else knows what it means.
We get a Robert chapter, and it's mercifully short. A girl named Jacqui has been trying to get in his pants throughout the whole book, and he ends up yelling at her to leave him alone. After that, he's mentioned again a whopping once more in the book (by Jessi, no less). There is one weird bit. Jacqui says, "Stacey has, like, totally deaded you." Is that a real term people actually ever used?
Susan has gotten a hug machine--I totally want one of those. It envelops the body in deep pressure for a short period of time. It's kind of like lying under the mattress of a bed while someone puts weights on top of it. Doesn't sound good to most people, but for those with sensory integration issues, it's amazing.
Kristy apparently enjoys throwing food--this time, she throws a crumpet at Stacey. (BTW, I <3 crumpets!) Later, she dumps a pastry in Michel's lap and leaves a white powdery stain on his crotch.
There's a photo of the girls in England. Stacey's writing something, with Mallory and Jessi looking on. Kristy looks disgusted and Abby looks like she's laughing at her.
That "thing" Stacey is writing is some math, determining how Mallory is related to Shakespeare. She determines that he's Mallory's seventeen greats grandfather, and that each person has 131,072 seventeen greats grandparents.
Kristy and Michel fight like a couple five year olds. Kristy asks Stacey to stay between them at all times. Stacey's response? "Just kiss him and put both of you out of your misery."
Abby calls Westminster Abbey her namesake.
Abby is freaking out about not looking like an idiot when she goes to see the Queen. She says there are starlings nesting in her hair and that her face is covered in zits. I think this is only about the second time in the series zits have been mentioned, other than when they say Claudia rarely gets them. Later, Abby says she doesn't know how to greet the queen. When told to just be natural, she says, "Yo, what's up, my lady?"
More Claudia spelling: Im', leve, minut, Coky, exept, didnt', newmonia, thats, mam, eye-eye (instead of aye-aye). And she uses to instead of too.
Janine calls Claudia a laggard. When Claud asks what that is, Dawn replies, "I don't know. Some kind of drink?" Claudia calls it a delayed reaction insult, because she doesn't get insulted until later. (It's Mary Anne who tells her the meaning.)
Mr. Dougherty goes missing again right as they're supposed to leave England for France. Mallory says he's at Virginia Woolf's house, and Ms. McGill goes nuts: "What's he doing there? Virginia Woolf is dead!"
I read through the whole book before I realized that Stacey's mom is always referred to as Ms. McGill. Makes sense--Ms. started as a way of indicating that one was no longer married to the person whose surname she had taken. (Personally, I've always preferred to be called Ms. rather than Miss, and I've never been married.) I've never really thought too much about it, though.
Abby raids the newspapers before leaving, to see if the picture of her was printed. Stacey asks where the shot of her attacking the prince is.
Stacey refers to the Chunnel as new. Seems odd now.
Kristy's writing about the wonderful food of Paris, and Abby interrupts her to add in snails and frogs' legs.
Kristy totally embarrasses Michel when they're lost together. He plays a prank on her and she ends up yelling at him in front of a crowd of people about how much she hates him. It's pretty bad because even if Kristy doesn't actually like him before this point, you can tell from the start that Michel was teasing her because he had a thing for her. He asks her to pretend they're friends, since he can speak French and she can't. By the end of their four hours together, she's rested her head on his shoulder and let him put his arm around her.
Mary Anne is a big wuss. She volunteers to help Logan with softball at camp, but Cokie gets the job because Jerry picks her. Janine starts a fight over it, and Mary Anne backs down. (Even though Logan is motioning at her, basically saying NOOOO!) After she catches that, Cokie quits, but Janine convinces her not to go, and she ends up having fun after all. Janine with balls = way better than mean Janine.
In the picture of Mallory writing, her hair is straight, and she's wearing huge glasses and CLOGS. I've always thought that if any BSC member should wear clogs, it should be Dawn. Don't ask me why...or even why I've ever thought about that before.
Mallory's story character is Mariel, and she lives in Stoneyfield.
Abby and Kristy went to Centre Georges Pompidou, which is an inside-out art museum...and spent pretty much the entire visit riding up and down the elevator.
Abby brushes her teeth before going into the Parisian sewers...her logic is that the sewer smells bad enough without her monster breath. Her biggest surprise at the sewers is that Kristy's all grumpy, and it's because Michel joined the rest of the group at Euro Disney instead of coming with her. Kristy refuses to admit that she likes him, but that night, she kisses him.
Is this supposed to make us think good things? "The night air had a faint flowery smell mixed with the pollution."
You finally get to see the photo of Abby and the prince in the epilogue. The prince looks vaguely like a young George Clooney and he's holding his foot. Abby looks shocked.
There aren't really any outfits in this one. The closest you get is that Stacey has to wear her mom's clothes until she gets her suitcase back. She's mortified and Kristy, of course, makes fun of her. Also, the photos show some attire, but other than Stacey and Abby, just about everyone is wearing shorts or jeans in every photo. Here's the photo clothing:
Stacey and Robert at the ticket desk of the airport. Stacey's wearing a dress with spaghetti straps. Robert's you really care what Robert's wearing? Jeans and a t-shirt.
Claudia and Janine on the playground: Janine is in dark shorts and a dark polo shirt. Her glasses are so thick you can't see her eyes. Claudia has jeans and a t-shirt.
Claudia, Mary Anne and Cokie in front of a Coke machine. (I find this humorous, as I keep trying to type Cokie as Coke anyway.): Both MA and Cokie are wearing t-shirts and shorts. Cokie's shirt is dark, and she's got dark, curly hair, sort of like Abby's. MA's wearing a white shirt. Claudia's in jeans and t-shirt again, but the shirt does look sort of artsy. Not in a crazy, normal Claudia way, just artsy. (Also, Mary Anne appears to have bigger boobs than Claudia does.)
Jessi and Tanisha (one of the dancers): they're in dance attire. Duh.
Dawn and Susan: Dawn is wearing a t-shirt with a sun on it, jean shorts and sandals. Susan is notable for looking very similar to her other appearance, on the cover of #32. She's wearing a polo shirt and playing the piano.
The five girls at the table, as described above: Kristy's wearing an oversized t-shirt; Mallory's shirt is more fitted. Stacey's wearing a v-neck dress. Jessi's wearing a polo shirt and Abby's also wearing a dress, but it looks like a t-shirt dress (she's wearing something similar in one of the photos in SS #12.)
Stacey and Mr. Anderson, the man with the cremains (he dumps them into the water at the beach he and his friend stormed at Normandy): Stacey, who looks about 30, is wearing a sweater or sweatshirt with a collar and khakis.
Kristy and Michel at the Eiffel Tower: Kristy's wearing an oversized t-shirt and a baseball cap; Michel has on an oversized polo shirt, dark colored jeans, and a baseball cap. Kristy looks super-cute, with dimples.
Mallory writing when she should be sight-seeing: of course, I mentioned the clogs. She's also wearing a sleeveless polo and either a skirt or very short shorts.
Abby and the prince: he's wearing a suit; she's dressed up in a floral dress and sandals. She must have a very heavy tread to hurt his foot; it's not as if she were wearing Docs or something.
BTW, Abby's attire inside the book is MUCH better than what she's wearing on the cover. The cover shows the five girls in London with one of the Palace Guards. Jessi is wearing a green shirt and jeans. Mallory's wearing a red and white striped shirt with a blue collar with what I think is brown overalls. It kinda looks like a brown burlap sack. (Since I got the book through ILL, there's a paper on the cover I can't remove, so I have to peak underneath it. Makes it a little hard to see.) Either it's a huge overall skirt, or it's really baggy overall pants. Stacey's wearing a cute little blue and green striped dress. Kristy is wearing a t-shirt with the Union Jack on it--of course. She's also the one who wore the Statue of Liberty headwear when they were in NYC, so this is not surprising. I think she's wearing jeans, but there's a sticker declaring the book to be property of the Davenport, IA, library over her lower half. And....Abby is wearing a Pepto-Bismol pink shirt that would look better at home on a three year old, with a pair of horrid green pants. I think the green would best be called spinach green, or Oscar the Grouch green. Add in the fact that the shirt is cut at a weird length, and she looks like she has absolutely no fashion sense.

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