Tuesday, September 17, 2013

“What I observed was that the book banners have very little fashion sense.” BSC Mystery #13: Mary Anne and the Library Mystery (1994)

Mary Anne is helping with a Readathon in the children’s room at the library when someone starts a series of fires. Many of the kids are really excited about reading but the BSC’s suspect list includes several kids who are not really into it, like Nicky, as well as some protestors who want to ban books, and the assistant children’s librarian, whose family used to own the land the library was built on. The culprit turns out to be Sean Addison, probably because he’s been in the series since near the beginning and, at that point, had never had his own story….

Interesting Tidbits

Ahh, the cover. I love Rosie’s ugly yellow high tops….She’s also a mini-Mallory.

This book is full of MA doing stuff that reminds me of why I’m such a Mary Anne. Just a warning here. For example, she decides to watch a movie that makes her cry because it might make her feel better. I used to do that, only I read Lurlene McDaniel books instead of watching old movies. Also, MA likes to check the birth announcements to see if the babies are given weird or good names, something that I still do to this day.

Mary Anne wants to reread all the books she read as a child. I could picture her as an adult, blogging her books…

Flashback time: MA teaches Corrie how to use the card catalogue.

PSA time: Book banning is bad, mmmkay.

Real banned books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Diary of Anne Frank, The Outsiders

Kristy writes a script for Rosie to ask for donations. Rosie makes fun of the script because Kristy didn’t put her stage directions in parentheses. Kristy says she should remember that from English class…but wasn’t she also in a play? Even funnier, Rosie tells her the script is boring and jazzes it up.

The second fire is started with lighter fluid, which is pretty scary. I’m wondering how many kids could easily get ahold of lighter fluid. I probably could have at that age if I’d been sneaky about it.

Jessi is doing yoga on the floor during a BSC meeting. They had to give her something to do with Mallory out with mono, I guess.

More real books: Deenie and A Light in the Attic. These books are later revealed to be on the fifth grade reading list.

Nicky becomes a suspect because he has matches in his pocket. He swears they’re not his, but that’s pretty much what anyone caught with matches in his pocket would say. MA says she believes him but can’t rule him out as a suspect.

Jessi arrives at the Pikes to pick up Nicky and help him with his Readathon stuff (why does that need a sitter?) Everyone swarms her and wants her attention. My favorite was Claire, who’s all dressed up and introduces herself as “Mrs. Filthy Rich.”

Were there really new Marguerite Henry books in the 90s? I’m going to have to research that. I never read any of those, but I seem to remember feeling like they were classics when I was a kid.

After some matches turn up that say Chez Maurice on them, Jessi, Kristy, Nicky and Rosie go there to ask about them…which, of course, does not turn out well. What fancy French restaurants wants a teen and a group of preteens hanging out?

More banned book: Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, Bridge to Terebithia. MA says she doesn’t know why anyone would want to ban the last one. I love BtT—it’s in my top ten books of all time—but I understand exactly why someone would want to ban it: Leslie questions the existence of God. It’s actually about my favorite part of the book, because it’s the only time I’ve ever read a book with overtly religious overtones that I didn’t want to throw out the window.

Someone set fire to Tom Sawyer the third time. Again, it’s on the fifth grade reading list.

Heh heh…as I’m reading this, I’m watching The Office (the British version) and the fire alarm just went off.

More banned books: A Wrinkle in Time and How to Eat Fried Worms.

Since all the burned books are books that the protestors want to ban, they decide to stalk follow them. All they learn is that Claudia thinks the protestors have no fashion sense.

Shannon and Rosie go to the library together one time. I think that’s actually a good pairing, because they have a lot in common. (I really want to go through one day and pair up sitters with sittees that I think they should sit for more often. I would pay to read a story that teams Abby up with Jeff Schafer, for example.)

Much like the Kristy mystery about the treasure, they track a family tree in this one. Ms. Ellway’s grandfather was Theodore Ellway, her father Theodore Jr., her brother Theodore III and her nephew Theodore IV. Theodore III is the owner of Ted’s Tools. (I’m pretty sure he also shows up in a few other books. I like this.)

There’s a fancier neighborhood than the one Shannon and Kristy live in? If Watson’s a millionaire, wouldn’t he want to live there?

Shannon and Claudia are actually disappointed when the Ellway family members all turn out to be super nice.

I find it really funny that MA is dreaming about fictional characters having to jump out the library windows and stuff. She’s super disturbed by it but I find the image of The Runaway Bunny and Ramona Quimby escaping a fire hilarious.

Why am I not surprised that Claudia’s backpack is chock full of candy.

Ooh, an emergency club meeting! I’m surprised we had to wait until chapter 13 for one.

Claudia spelling: she finds some chocolate covered pretzels in a box labeled Kaligrufy pens. Way to use phonics and sound it out, Claud.

Kristy can be a bitch sometimes. MA was in the library during all the fires and she’s naturally freaked out by that. Then she starts having nightmares, and then there’s a fire at the school. Kristy, sensitive soul she is, tells everyone that Mary Anne is losing it, completely embarrassing her: “If we don’t solve this case soon, Mary Anne is going to have a nervous breakdown, and where would that leave the BSC?” Niiiiiice.

Just a thought. Why is it always Mary Anne who has fires in her stories?

The BSC has a stakeout and invites Logan along. Because I always bring my boyfriends on stakeouts. Plus, Kristy makes fun of Claudia and Stacey “dressing up” when they’re supposed to blend in. But their outfits aren’t really that wild or out there.

I love how the BSC is all surprised that Sean doesn’t like how his parents shuttle him from one activity to another to avoid spending time with them. You’d think that would be something that Claudia—who has dealt with that with Corrie on more than one occasion—would pass along in the club notebook. Maybe they just forgot because they’ve read so many things in the notebook?

Gag, gag, gag. Nicky wins the prize for third grade because Mary Anne inspired him to like reading so much, he read as many books as fast as possible so he could surprise her.


Rosie: sailor dress

Claudia: white shirt over a jumpsuit (I’m going to start taking a shot of whipped cream vodka every time a jumpsuit shows up in these books. I’ll be too drunk to finish writing the blog, though), pink high tops, flamingo earrings

Stacey: red miniskirt, red and white striped shirt, heart earrings, black boots

Next week: #66 Maid Mary Anne

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