Monday, March 25, 2013

"It was definitely the time I threw up on my aunt's new Oriental carpet. It happened right after she said to me, 'Are you sure you can eat three hamburgers?'" BSC Super Special # 11: The Babysitters Remember (1994)

I even managed to get a Shannon quote into the title!

I loved this book when it came out. First, it had a shiny gold cover with embossed BSC signatures on it. Second, it came with a "gold" necklace with the BSC logo on it. I never wore it, because I was thirteen and didn't want anyone knowing I still liked the BSC, but I kept it in a jewelry box (I might even still have it somewhere...) But mostly I was just thrilled to read stories about the pasts of the babysitters. It was like watching a bunch of flashback episodes, each of the member's most vivid memory. Here's the list:
Kristy's ten, and she babysits for the first time. Not at all surprising.
Stacey finds out she has diabetes. Again, not surprising.
Claudia is in first grade and draws a butterfly as a self-portrait. Mimi comes to her defense with her teacher.
Jessi shares about when Squirt was born and she was the only one who could calm him down.
Logan, because he's lame, remembers meeting Mary Anne after moving from Louisville.
Mallory goes to meet her favorite author, and gets so star struck, or shy, or I'm not sure what, that she just stands there in tears and her mother has to tell the author her name and all that.
Shannon meets a new girl who almost prevents her from getting into the astronomy club (actually more interesting than it sounds.)
Even though Dawn isn't in Stoneybrook during this story, she still gets a memory--it's about how her parents got divorced.
Mary Anne's story is about how she assumes her babysitter is awful because most of her babysitters are awful. So Kristy starts a prank war with her, but she turns out to have a sense of humor and gets them back.
Interesting Tidbits

The cover is interesting. Not only does it show all the BSC members in their sleepwear, but I have to laugh a bit. Normally, in group shots, I can't be sure which is Stacey and which is Dawn. In this one, Dawn is in California, and Shannon's at the slumber party...and I can't tell the difference between Stacey and Shannon. (Plus MA's holding a teddy bear, which is mentioned in the text, because Kristy threw it at Jessi.)
The idea of finding their most vivid memory comes up because of a summer assignment the students at SMS were given to tell what they did on their summer vacation, and they start thinking of alternate assignments they could have been given. Mallory has actually been taking notes of everything that has gone on through the summer so she can remember it all. Claudia jokes it's a shame Mal is such a dork, but you know most of the audience was thinking the same thing.

Kristy tells the gang to be quiet at her party, because Nannie will come charging up the stairs. Shannon digs herself into a hole because she says she can't picture someone as old as Nannie charging anywhere. This starts a pillow fight that leads to Watson getting hit on the head when he comes to break things up.

In the photo for Kristy's story, she and David Michael are both wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt.
Kristy says she disapproves of Claudia's junk food diet, but she doesn't seem to mind when she's eating it at meetings.

Kristy answers the phone one morning because she thinks it might be Mary Anne. But this is back when they were ten. Didn't MA's dad have pretty strict phone rules back then, like he did in the early books?
It's such a big deal that Kristy's allowed to watch DM all on her own at age ten, but later, in Kristy's autobiography book, she says that their mom would leave Charlie in charge of her and Sam right after the divorce...when he was ten.

Kristy's mom obviously doesn't completely trust her, as she calls to check up on Kristy several times, and has several other people also check up on them--Mrs. Newton, Mrs. Pike, Mary Anne's babysitter, and Mimi.
Laine is the leader of Stacey's group of friends, known as The Group. There's a new "opening" in the group because one of the members went off to boarding school in Massachusetts. I wonder if it's the same school Mal eventually goes to?

Stacey gets the new girl, Allison, invited to a sleepover with The Group, and of course, she has to be weird and ask for anchovies on the pizza.
Stacey wets the bed during the sleepover. She said it happened during a dream where she was drinking soda under a water fall.

When talking about the school year, Stacey says that she thought that the other kids must have thought diabetes was contagious, because they avoided her like the plague. Problem with that is, when Stacey was introduced, she had never told Laine or her other friends about her diabetes. So how did everyone else find out?
Claudia spelling: intersting, slumbar, deside, prety, desided, memary. She also uses think for thinking, have for having, their for there and cold for could. She has a couple run on sentences (something she doesn't usually do) and spells Jessi wrong.

Back in first grade, Kristy used to get into fights every day and forget to raise her hand in class. This is before her dad leaves so it's not as if she's acting up over that. I'm not sure if that's just supposed to be the younger version of her current personality or what.
Are we supposed to believe that Claudia listened to the instructions of how to make a self-portrait, and then, at age six, was abstract enough to draw a butterfly, with all that represents, as her portrait? I'd be more likely to believe she was just so excited about having art homework that she drew a butterfly so she could use all her colors.

Damn Claudia spells her own name wrong when she signs her self-portrait.
Jessi acknowledges the downside to having a close-knit neighborhood when she says that everyone knows each other's business. I appreciate that, because she always tries to make Oakley sounds like heaven.

Jessi's mom had lost a couple babies before she had Squirt. Is it wrong that I wonder if these were miscarriages or still births? She was far enough along to know the gender of both babies.
Jessi and Becca have to move and share a room, and their furniture won't all fit. They have to take various armchairs and lamps out of the room. How many kids do you know that have armchairs in their bedrooms?

Jessi's mom decides the baby is coming after she has ONE contraction. And her dad sends Jessi to pack a bag for her mom. Jessi freaks and tries to decide how much "big underwear" to put in it.
Aunt Cecelia comes to stay with Becca and Jessi while their mom has the baby, and asks for all kinds of birth details after Squirt arrives. She seems dissatisfied with the responses. I'm trying to figure out what could have set her off.

Each story starts off with a picture. Logan, in the picture for his story, looks EXACTLY like Zach Morris on early episodes of Saved By the Bell. And Mary Anne is taller than he is.
My second favorite moment of the whole book? When Logan and his family have a road trip to go from Louisville to Stoneybrook. On the first day of the trip, Kerry and Hunter are coloring, Logan is reading, and his mom is knitting while his dad drives. By the end of the trip, mom's driving, Kerry and Hunter are fighting, with dad refereeing, and Logan is coloring in one of Hunter's coloring books: "Baby Animals on the Farm."

For some reason, when Logan's mom is showing him around town, they see the movie "theatre." I guess Stoneybrook has British spelling...except Claudia, who doesn't have any spelling.
Logan worries about a pimple on his chin. So far, all the pimple mentions I can remember in these books are in super specials. Abby's got them in the Europe special, and Kristy's got one in the summer camp special.

Heh, the first person to introduce herself to Logan is Stacey, which is consistent from #10, when she's the one to tell MA who he is. But he can't remember her name.
Mary Anne outfit: jumper, white t-shirt, knee socks.

Mallory's story happens when she was ten, and she refers to her issues with her babysitters. On one hand, she loved them; on the other hand, she was embarrassed to be babysat by them. I can see this. While I think that ten year olds (and eleven year olds, for that matter) need babysitters, I probably wouldn't hire a twelve year old to babysit for them. The youngest babysitter I can picture hiring, ever, would be a high schooler, and the youngest I could picture hiring for a ten year old would be sixteen or so.
Mary Anne actually corrects Mal's grammar.

Mallory's outfit to meet her favorite author: flowered vest, pink turtleneck, navy skirt, navy tights, slip on shoes. It was what she was wearing in the school picture she sends the author in a letter.
Shannon's story isn't really a flashback, because it happens during eighth grade. But since we get to see so little Shannon, I'm okay with it.

Shannon refers to pretty much exactly what I referred to in my last entry. She says that even though her parents live in the same house, it's as if "they lack each other." She's pretty aware of what's going on with her parents. It's kind of the opposite of what's coming up in the Dawn section.
The new girl causing all the trouble in Shannon's school is named Sally. Interestingly, one of Stacey's New York friends is also named Sally. How many 30 somethings do you know named Sally? The only three literary Sallys I'm really familiar with are Sally Brown from Peanuts (started in the 50s), Sally from Encyclopedia Brown (started in the 50s) and Judy Blume's titular Sally J. Freedman (which is set in the 40s).

Oooh, here's my favorite part! Shannon's mom insists on photographing Shannon, Tiffany and Maria in their school uniforms every year on the first day of school. (Why? They wear uniforms! It's not as if they're wearing special first day of school outfits.) And, as I mentioned last week, Shannon once took the photos and "zoomed through them like a flip book" to see if she could see them age.
Mistake! When Shannon gets on the school bus, new girl Sally is chatting to Shannon's friends, Lindsey and Meg, so Shannon sits with her other friends, Polly and Greer. Sally can barely squeeze out a hi to Shannon, and then the book says she goes back to Lindsey and Greer (not Meg). Shannon says she only talks to Polly and Greer during the whole bus ride, so obviously this is an error.

Another mistake? Shannon says she doesn't understand why Sally has glommed so completely onto Meg, and has only one new friend, when she could have made friends with the whole group and had four friends. But there are five girls: Polly, Greer, Lindsey, Meg and Shannon. Was Shannon not counting herself? Or did she mean four more friends?
Each of the BSC members has some reason why her story is so important. Kristy because babysitting is her life, Claud because hers is about art, etc. Shannon's is important (and therefore vivid) because she nearly blew a test because she was excited about being "chosen" to be friends with Sally after both Greer and Meg have been dismissed by her. She decided the way Sally treated people made her mad, so she was weary of other new people...including Kristy. Explains her behavior in next week's book (#11) a little better.

Dawn's parents have been fighting more and more as time goes by, and she's been noticing the fights have been escalating. Yet she's totally shocked when her parents get divorced. Jeff knows what his parents are going to say (or at least has a clue) because he puts his hands over his ears and doesn't want to hear. Is Dawn supposed to seem naïve or optimistic? I think I'm going to just go for stupid.
During a really nasty fight, Sharon accuses Jack of being a liar, and says she knows he's lying and she won't tolerate it. Is it totally wrong that I really, reaaaaallly want to know what he did? Did he cheat on her? That's what it sounds like!

Dawn actually acts her age at one point during the book. She, Sharon and Jeff have just arrived in Connecticut and are living with Granny and Pop-Pop temporarily. Dawn wants to call Sunny, but Sharon tells her no, because she doesn't want Granny and Pop-Pop or the Winslows to have to pay for it. Dawn says, (paraphrase), "Well, you took my dad away, and now you're taking Sunny away!" It was the most 12 year old thing she had said in the whole story.
In the picture for MA's story, she, Claudia and Kristy are sitting at the table at age eight. You know which one's Kristy because she has a backwards baseball cap on (and a turtleneck under a sweatshirt, natch). But lil' Mary Anne is wearing pants, something Richard wouldn't have allowed. Her hair is also loose. (Lil' Claud is wearing a polo shirt and cuffed jeans, in case you must know.)

One of Mary Anne's babysitters smells like Ivory soap. A) Better that than B.O. B) How does MA know what brand of soap she smells like? Even her cookies "taste" like Ivory. (Unless MA's had to "eat soap" or "had her mouth washed out" for saying naughty words, how does she know what soap tastes like?)
Oh, AMM. You and your ghostwriters love cheesy endings. (BTW, this book doesn't appear to have been ghostwritten. Shocking!) In the end, Dawn calls and asks the BSC members what their most exciting day was. And Kristy starts thinking about that and the book ends in a fade out...

Next week: #11 Kristy and the Snobs

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