Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Only one of you can answer it. Trust me." BSC #16: Jessi's Secret Language (1988)

This is Jessi's first book, and it's packed Unrealisticness, maybe? Jessi gets a steady sitting job for the Braddocks, who have a son with hearing impairments. Jessi gets him and his sister to make friends by introducing the neighborhood kids to American Sign Language. 

Jessi has also won the lead role in the ballet Coppelia. Because being super sitter and super ballerina is not enough, she arranges for Matt Braddock and his classmates to come see the ballet and keeps it a secret from her friends. She also makes friends with one of the girls in her ballet class who also has a deaf sister.

Interesting Tidbits

This book is dedicated to Cary. Huh. (Added note: I found this article that explains the origin of the name Cary Retlin: )

One of these days, I'm going to open up a package of cocoa and hold a Jessi book up to the contents, simply because they always describe her as having cocoa-colored skin.

Jessi wakes Becca up in the morning by putting Squirt down on top of her. She says there's no nicer way to wake up in the morning. I hope she changed his diaper first.

Jessi says that Claudia is the most sophisticated eighth grader she knows. Is this because she hasn't met Stacey yet?

Ohhh, so this is the book! A few months ago my friend Tessie was trying to touch her tongue to her nose, and I reminded her that there's a BSC book that said that if you could do it, you'd need a really big bra "eventually (like when you were eighteen)." Kristy is the only member of the club who can do it, and she's flat chested at thirteen, so I don't think that holds up. Not that I thought so before that, but, you know. Also, what if I guy can do it? Does that mean he'll need a really big jockstrap someday? (BTW, it's Dawn who brings up this particular piece of idiocy.)

Jenny P eats pudding from a goblet with a silver spoon, while all dressed up (natch.)

Heh heh heh. Mary Anne, while babysitting Jenny: "We're going to have fun if it kills us."

Jessi. Do not compare being black and being deaf. It just makes you look ignorant.

Real book: The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom. Jessi and Mal tell the neighborhood kids Matt knows a secret language so they'll be more accepting of them. Haley "helps" by teaching the kids all the insults she knows. This leads the Pike kids to make up their own insults.

Another great quote: "I was sure 'bathroom' was one of the most popular signs in sign language. It was probably the first one ever made up." This is in response to the fact that Katie Beth, one of Jessi's dance classmates and rivals, has a younger sister who is deaf. The sister goes to boarding school and Katie Beth and her family do not know how to sign at all. Jessi teaches her a few signs.

Claudia spelling: secrit, langage, babysiting, invinted, entirtane, Micheal, Kristys, baketball, borthers, siting, gost, dicided, litle. She also uses its for it's, scars for scares, and which for witch.

Stupid Karen is serving "ghost pate" at Old Ben Brewer's party. To distract her, Claudia teaches some sign language. So Karen...tells a ghost story in sign language.

When Jessi has news during club "new business," she raises her hand. (This is also before Mal and Jessi feel comfortable answering the phone at meetings.)

Heh heh again. Logan calls during a meeting and talks to MA, who ends the conversation red faced. Later, MA mentions that Tigger learned how to fetch. Dawn: "You're just trying to distract us from Logan." MA: "You're absolutely right."

Really long set up: Kristy's mom wishes she were pregnant, setting up #24.

Matt tells Jessi he loves her and she's his best grown-up friend. She can't decide what the bigger compliment is: love or grown up.

Not much to say about this stinker. Entire chapters go by, and there's just not anything to belittle or make fun of.

Mrs. Braddock's name is Carolyn.

Jessi's family, the Braddocks and the BSC all go to a restaurant/ice cream parlor called Good-Time Charley's (sounds like a strip club). Jessi's sure that Claudia will order a butterscotch sundae, and she does....and mushes it around so it looks like diarrhea. (The book never says diarrhea, but trust me.)


Jessi: leotard and jeans

New Characters

Haley and Matt Braddock (9 and 7)--34 and 32

Next week: if I don't get to the library--and don't hold your breath--it will probably be #48, Jessi's Wish. We're going to go from the hearing impaired to a child with cancer. Why are so many Jessi stories "very special episodes?"

1 comment:

  1. Cool article! Thanks for linking to it.

    One particular part of this book that bugged me was the description of Jessi's name sign. She makes a J shape and uses that sign to mimic dancing. The J sign is a dynamic sign and doesn't really work the way it's described in the book. Had she said something like, "I held one hand flat with the palm up and signed J over it, like I was signing 'dance'" then it would have worked better.