Thursday, July 11, 2013

"I know what 'culinary' means, believe it or not." BSC #33: Claudia and the Great Search (1990)

Sorry if this one is short or sounds distracted.  I read as much fan fiction as I could find after last week, and now...I'm writing my own. It's going way better than I expected; it's currently 45 pages long and about one-fifth written. So watch this space.

But of course, I couldn't give Claudia the short end of the stick, so here we are with another fun BSC adventure. Claudia is not exactly bright in this book: she takes the fact that there are few baby pictures of her to mean that she must have been adopted. So she actually starts trying to find her birth parents. But like most half-baked ideas, it goes nowhere.

Meanwhile, Emily Michelle is having trouble adjusting to her new family and life, so Claudia tutors her on two year old skills and she get accepted to start preschool the next year. Go Emily!

Interesting tidbits

The cover. Ignore Emily's awesomely 80s appliqued sweat suit and Claudia's tubular ponytail. Why do the Brewers have a purple couch with pink throw and pink and turquoise toss pillows?

Claudia starts the book by wondering why it's two species and one species, instead of specie or specy. And I feel like I'm reading a Mallory book.

Since when do high school awards come with checks? Unless, of course, they're scholarships.

All of Janine's friends dress like stereotypical nerds, with floodwater pants, clothes that don't match, and pocket protector.

I love how the BSC always act like it's so surprising that a) MA managed to get herself a boyfriend and b) he likes to babysit.

Heh. After Stacey gathers the dues, she then announces that they're rich. I'm completely picturing her doing an evil laugh and twirling a mustache.

Claudia's parents get Janine a cake, and Claudia is a little too gleeful that her cake says "Congratulations Jeanine." (As a side note, I went to school with a Jeannine,  and as a kid, always thought that Claudia's sister's name was spelled wrong...)

Okay, so I buy that parents take more pictures of first born children than the other children. But isn't it odd that there are pictures of Janine's birthday parties but not Claudia's? Claudia's whole theory about being adopted focuses on the fact that there are no pictures of her as an infant, but there are--they're just mixed in with pictures of Janine. She expects that there should be an infant album of Janine and an infant album of Claudia. (Which, I must point out, is how most families I know who actually have photo albums did it.)

Fun fact: Claudia's mom is certified to teach elementary school.

Another fun fact: Janine looks just like her dad.

Claudia has a wild imagination: not only does she decide that she must be adopted, she decides the fact that no one ever told her she was adopted means that there must have been some "terrible reason" for it. For example, she must have been kidnapped from the hospital, and her parents are really criminals on the lam.

Claudia acknowledges that she always thinks of Watson as Watson instead of Mr. Brewer (the way she thinks of Kristy's mom as Mrs. Brewer).

David Michael has a cold, so his words are all stuffed in a way usually reserved for allergy sufferers. ("Doe. She breaks theb.")

Why does Karen have a nightlight, and Emily doesn't?

So Claudia tells Stacey she's pretty sure she's adopted, and instead of telling her to go talk to her parents (good advice), Stacey tells Claudia she should go find her birth parents.

Kristy is babysitting the Papadakises while Dawn is sitting at Kristy's house. Dawn invites Kristy and the kids over to play with DM and EM, then cracks up because she just invited Kristy to her own house.

Does Claudia really think that she can just call an adoption agency and they'll give her details of her adoption over the phone? Especially knowing she's underaged?

Claud actually goes to her pediatrician to get her records. Despite the fact that she hasn't been there in a year, the receptionist not only recognizes her, she remembers that Claudia was two when she first came in.

Claudia would actually make a really good teacher. Not only is she really good with Emily in this book, she tutors Shea in reading in #63, and I remember reading about a book where she's tutoring math.

Stupid Stacey with her hearts over her Is.

Mr. Perkins in a lawyer.

Giant eye roll time: the Perkins girls "cook with real ingredients," meaning they are allowed to actually cook. So Myriah eyes the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and gets them exactly right. She's five. I've been making cookies for years and I couldn't do that.

Real book: Lois Lowry's Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye. Of course, it's about a girl's search for her biological family.

Why does Claudia assume all births are listed in the local paper? I can think of a lot of reasons why people would want NOT want to list their child's birth.

The book makes a big deal about Claudia's tutoring EM, but other than the session before the tutoring actually starts, I've hit page 110 and not seen a single tutoring session.

Nofe-air! Nofe-air!

Okay, you actually get to see a tutoring session on page 120.

Why does Claudia tutor EM in her room? Wouldn't the living room, which is not a pig sty, be a better choice?

Eventually Stacey starts making sense by telling Claudia she's jumping to conclusions. And then tells her to ask her parents. Shocking!

Stacey has been feeling tired all the time recently, yet there's 10 more books before she really gets sick.

Claudia calls Kristy's house, and Emily answers the phone and says, "Hi, Ko-ee."


Janine: pleated plaid skirt, white shirt with Peter Pan collar, stockings, blue heels

Claudia: short black skirt, oversized white shirt with turquoise and pink poodles, high, side ponytail with pink clip

Next week: probably a mystery

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