Thursday, September 12, 2013

“Right between the eyes! Did you see, Mary Anne?” BSC #86: Mary Anne and Camp BSC (1995)

There are three stories going on at the same time in this one. In the main plot, the BSC is holding a camp with a circus theme. About half the campers went to a professional circus camp before (as outlined in a Little Sister book). Karen leads those campers in being brats (big surprise there, huh?) and it leads to some tension between those campers and the ones from Stoneybrook Elementary, who didn’t go to that camp.

Meanwhile, Richard has to go out of town for two weeks and MA starts to feel all depressed while he’s gone, because she misses him so much and she feels like she can’t talk about it to Dawn and Sharon. The third story, which ties directly into this, involves Alicia Gianelli, who has never spent so much time away from her mom before and refuses to go on camp outings because she’s scared her mom won’t be able to find her. After MA sprains her ankle, Alicia decides she wants to go on those outings but MA, who was the only one who thought that Alicia should be allowed to continue sitting out every day, uses her as a security blanket or something. So when Alicia decides to join the group, MA realizes she’s been acting childish and turns herself around.

Interesting tidbits

Is it wrong that I’m looking at the cover and trying to figure out who all those kids are supposed to be? I know the blonde with the pink glasses is Karen, and the redhead on the left must be Jackie. The brown haired girl could be Margo, but then who is the brown haired boy? A lot of the characters it could be wear glasses—Nicky, Ricky (heh..that rhymes). I’m trying to account for all the children who would be at the cookout. Linny? That kid looks a lot younger than nine (actually, he looks about five). And Bobby appeared on the cover of a Little Sister book I saw at the thrift store recently and I don’t think that’s supposed to be him. Maybe it’s Chris, whom I don’t remember from any of the Little Sister books I actually read, but who goes to school with Karen?

Pow is apparently now known as Pow Barrett Pike. Even for someone who gives her cats middle names that seems a little silly.

The Pikes are so full of energy that Mallory suggests harnessing it for electricity, noting that Dawn would approve. Although, in this case, energy mostly seems to be loud noise.

Sharon’s housekeeping (I have a feeling there will be quite a bit of that to keep track of in MA books): books in the linen closet and cans of beans on the book shelf. That’s pretty tame for her.

MA mentions how Sharon and Dawn eat health food and don’t eat red meat. She says she thinks Jeff does sometimes. Does that sound consistent with what we know? I would think Jeff would eat whatever he’s told to eat at his age, but whatever.

Three cheese macaroni and garlic and onion toast sounds yummy, but not exactly healthy.

Didn’t Richard have his own law firm at one point? I swear I remember reading that in #9 when Granny and Pop-Pop were interrogating Richard. In this one, the firm he works for is merging with a larger one.

Why would Dawn, the health food fiend, want to eat fast food takeout every night? That’s a horrible diet, and even a thirteen year old knows that.

Here’s a similarity we don’t generally get to hear: Kristy and MA are both really stubborn. MA says that when they used to fight as children, it was because of this. It’s kinda true.

Stacey quit/was fired shortly before this book, so MA’s kinda mad at her. She says Dawn’s a good treasurer “even if she’s not the math whiz of the world.”

Haha: “Logan is stubborn and sometimes bossy.” I liked this because usually we just get to hear how wonderful Logan is, and not just in the Mary Anne books. But I’ve always thought Logan was a bit of a jerk. (Let me rephrase that: he was basically my dream boy when I was 10 or so. Adult me has always considered him a jerk.)

They have an almost-emergency meeting to discuss the concept of a summer camp, and even Logan has to attend. Umm, why? It’s not like they’ve never run a summer camp before. #7 comes to mind, as does SS#10.

Mary Anne apparently tries to reason with Tigger sometimes. Trust me; reasoning with cats does not work.

The BSC needs to have an adult who is home to be on call in case of emergency, so they call Mrs. Braddock and Mrs. Prezzioso. Not only does Mrs. Braddock agree, she signs Matt and Haley up for the camp. Two thoughts on that: Doesn’t Mrs. Braddock work? Isn’t that the reason that Jessi works with the Braddocks so much? And two, if she’s going to be home, why does she even need a camp for her kids? You’d think that the main reason someone would need a program like this is if they can’t afford a full-time nanny or daycare center and just need activities for their kids every day while they work.

MA thinks Logan looks handsome on a bicycle. I…do not get it.

Smartly, the BSC pairs up the kids so everyone has a buddy. They even seem to do it by age on the first day, pairing Alicia (the youngest) with Vanessa (one of the oldest). But if Alicia is so afraid her mother will miss her, why don’t they adjust the pairings, at least at first, so that Alicia is paired with her brother?

Here’s my thought: by letting Alicia “stay behind this one time” they set a precedent that comes back to haunt them. Although, one of my memories from being Alicia’s age is when I was afraid of something at preschool and my teacher let me sit it out until I realized that I wanted to join it…

Mrs. Gianelli is really making things worse by not just dropping Alicia off and leaving right away.

There’s a division of the kids at camp between the SES and the Stoneybrook Academy kids. I’m assuming that Andrew and Alicia go to the SA side since they have older siblings there. That leaves Jamie…where does he fit in?

Karen is such a bitch in training. She decides the camp is stupid because it’s “not a real circus camp” and basically spends all her time convincing her schoolmates to complain about it.

I like how Dawn actually manipulates Linny into not being part of the whiners by saying she needs his muscles to help move things. Usually Dawn pisses me off at least once through a book, but she’s actually made me smile a few times in this one. (Earlier, when MA was admiring how hot Logan looked on a bike, Dawn punched him in the shoulder like he was an old buddy, and the two of them are working together with the “roustabout” kids and have a hay fight. (Hmmm…maybe MA better watch out??))

Richard is singing in this one. He’s way too happy to be leaving his wife and family behind….Wonder what he’s really doing when he’s “away on business.”

This is odd. There’s a moment when Richard is leaving and MA says she’s looking forward to spending two weeks “with Sharon and Dawn Schafer.” Why is their last name on there? Is there another Sharon and Dawn in the series I’ve forgotten?

Real movie time! MA, Dawn and Sharon have a bad movie night and choose Plan Nine from Outer Space, (Dawn) Girls, Girls, Girls (Sharon) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (MA).

Sharon, why would you pick an Elvis movie if you don’t like it when Elvis sings on screen? (She demonstrates this by throwing popcorn at the screen.)

Alicia staying behind on all the trips means that there’s an odd number of children and someone ends up without a buddy. When it’s Claire, she nearly throws a tantrum until Jessi agrees to be her buddy.

There’s this humorous bit where everyone starts listing animals that laugh because Mal averts a Karen-related meltdown by suggesting that all the hawks are laughing.

How come none of the babysitters ever needs to go to any appointments during the camp? Like why doesn’t Claudia have art class or Jessi go to ballet or somebody have a doctor’s appointment or something?

MA says she can like just about any vegetarian food, except sprouts, because they look like green hair and get stuck in your teeth. Which makes me laugh, partly because it’s true and partly because there are so many more disgusting (looking) vegetarian foods she could be grossed out by.

Heh. A roll of TP fell into the shower while MA was using it. That has happened to me on several occasions.

I’m seriously wondering where the Gianellis got a camel costume for Alicia.

Really? Sharon found a place that puts eggplant on pizza?

The camp includes a night-time cook out for all campers ages seven and up. Can you imagine the responses of Claire, Alicia and Andrew, who all have older sibs who get to go, but aren’t invited?

Wow, there’s actually someone who refuses to let Karen get out of control with ghost stories: Logan tells her flat out there are no ghosts at MA and Dawn’s to cut her off before she scares anyone. Usually, the BSC just lets her ramble until they get kicked out of places and/or everyone’s in a tizzy. Later, he tells her that “the Barn Ghost” she made up on the spot doesn’t come out until midnight and can’t follow her home. Logan may be a jerk, but he’s actually pretty smart this time.

When Logan tries to tell scary stories, the kids cut him off and say they know those ones already and want REAL scary stories. Heh.

So Mal tells a bloody and gruesome story that seems wildly inappropriate to tell a bunch of seven through nine year olds.

Mistake: Mary Anne tells a ghost cat story, and says it’s something that happened to Dawn. Although Dawn was in that story, it was really a Mallory story.

There’s actually a lot of Logan in this story. He helps the kids make s’mores and comes up with a bunch of creative ways to make them. Can he come to my house for a cookout sometime? (Matt Braddock wins though, with the idea of putting Reese’s Pieces in the s’mores.)

MA’s accident sounds pretty spectacular. I’d like to see it animated. She hits a pothole and while she’s trying to regain control of the bike, she hits a tree and then up onto the sidewalk with the bike on top of her.

You know, if I didn’t relate to the plotline of MA being depressed, this book would have been wicket boring.

Claudia spelling: bowlling, excelently, especialy, expectting, allie. That’s actually not that bad; autocorrect fixed all of those except the last.

On the way to bowling, they sing all kinds of cheesy songs: Bowl, Bowl, Bowl your boat; Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to bowl we go; Take me out to the bowl game…

Mr. Braddock appears in this story more than he usually does; first he just happens to be driving by when MA has her accident; later, he apparently doesn’t have to work on a Monday because he drives some of the campers to the bowling alley.

Mary Anne…*shakes head* Alicia clearly wants to go bowling; she asks if it’s fun and follows after everyone when they go to leave. Yet MA doesn’t suggest she go along and have fun.

Heh. Out of the twenty one kids, only two make strikes: Linny (one of the oldest) and Jamie (one of the youngest.)

Chapter 13 and so far, no babysitter outfits. LAAAAAAAME!

When Natalie makes a sassy comment about the clown make up running (which, while we don’t know her too well, seems a little out of character), David Michael dumps a bucket of oatmeal on her head. While this is humorous, why does he have a bucket of oatmeal and where did it come from? (Apparently the oatmeal is actually part of the clown act, but it seems unnecessarily messy to me.)

Karen refused to let anyone know what type of circus trick she was putting together, so no one gets to see it until the dress rehearsal. She wants to saw Nancy in half, but a) she tries to use a real saw, which the BSC quickly vetoes and b) Nancy’s “legs” sticking out of the far end of the box are stockings filled with toilet paper and one of them falls off during the trick.

Mary Anne is shocked when her dad tells her she needs to loosen up. She says it’s the last thing she’d ever thought she’d hear him say. But Richard and Sharon really are good parents, and it’s actually good advice.


Alicia: navy, lavender and white striped shirt, navy shorts with lavender stripe, white sneakers, white socks with lavender trim (sounds adorable; think they have it in my size?)

Vanessa: white jeans, rain boots, black jacket, t-shirt that says Ring Master, top hat

Nicky: t-shirt that says “Because I’m the boss, that’s why” (sounds like something Kristy would wear), blue sweatpants

Marilyn: t-shirt that says “I break for chocolate” (sounds like something Claudia would wear), blue sweatpants

Next week: Shall I do a mystery? Why, yes! I just haven’t decided which one yet.


  1. i read all your posts i love this blog do you need any book?

  2. I love that you're tracking how Sharon puts things away wrong! That would make an interesting list.

    Totally right about reasoning with cats. Two live here (one is my husband's, one is my older daughter's). They both try to steal food. Fish and chicken makes sense to me, but I yell at them more when they go after beef because there is no way a cat could kill and eat a cow. And I really get confused when they try to steal non-meat food, like tortilla chips or goldfish crackers (this has happened). Cats are obligate carnivores, not omnivores like dogs!

    As for the naming...their tags have our last name on them, as in "Joel LastName" and "Eddie LastName." (Eddie is short for Edgrrr)

    I can hardly wait for the next post! Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic is pretty good in my opinion. Mary Anne and the Library Mystery is also decent. Mary Anne and the Zoo Mystery is pretty dumb, but in a way that's funny. Mary Anne and the Silent Witness, Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret, and Mary Anne and the Haunted Bookstore are boring for me. But I'm not a fan of the mysteries, so I may not be the best judge. Whichever one you pick, I know I'll enjoy the recap!