Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Did a dinosaur follow you to school and sit on them?” BSC Special Edition Reader’s Request: Logan’s Story (1993)

This story gets the special distinction of being the only book in the whole series I’m going to refer to as both Extra Stupid and Extra Awesome.
Logan makes friends with a guy named T-Jam who is part of this gang of bad boys (cleverly named the Badd Boyz). They steal from lockers and shoplift at local stores. He starts hanging out with them and defending them to Mary Anne and company. Because he’s so clean cut, the Badd Boyz use him as a distraction to help them steal. Eventually, re catches on, so they blackmail and threaten him. He finds tickets to the ‘concert of the year’ in his locker, which MA sees and thinks he bought for her. He finally tells the truth and turns the Badd Boyz in.
Meanwhile, the eight and nine year olds in town are being demonized by a bully named EJ. The not-so-clever-or-original twist? EJ is a girl.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: Who are those kids supposed to be? And why isn’t the one kid playing?

Also, the tagline says, “Is Logan too cool for babysitting?” Maybe Logan’s not cool enough for babysitting.
Apparently, breakfast at the Bruno house is chaos personified, with his parents yelling and his siblings arguing. Sounds rather normal to me, actually, but what do I know? My mom used to leave before I got up in the morning and my dad didn’t get up until after I left.
The first few pages of this book are chock full of awesome. First Logan refers to himself as Draculogan (which is totally how I will now refer to him for the rest of time. Or maybe just the rest of my lunch break at work.)
Then he says he’s a jock but not a stereotypical jock who can’t talk and walk at the same time and who carries a football to bed. I totally thought of Kevin from Daria, who is rarely ever seen without his football pads and pigskin, even when he’s wearing a suit. This photo was the closest I could find:

Finally, he describes his looks and says MA says he looks like Cam Geary (so we know a little of what he looks like…but since Cam Geary doesn’t exist, I can pretend he’s 4’4” and has orange hair!) Logan doesn’t want us to think he looks like Garth from Wayne’s World, which makes me laugh for so many different reasons. Party on, Logan. Party on, Mary Anne.

OMG! More dying of laughter: Nicky Cash, the subject of Mary Anne’s musical crush, used to be in a boy band called 2 Hot 4 U. He’s like a combination of Justin Bieber and one of the boys in 1Direction. He can’t really sing, but he’s cute, he can dance and he sings love songs. (Confession time: I actually kinda like 1Direction. Not enough to buy their albums or go to their concerts, but enough to know the lyrics to a couple of their songs and enjoy them. I can already feel the judging….I feel the same way about Taylor Swift, too.)
Oh, and Nicky Cash’s real name is Reginald Fenster.
The Badd Boyz (did Claudia name them?) members’ names: T-Jam (apparently, his real name is Theodore James), Skin, Ice Box, Butcher Boy, Jackhammer, G-man, D, Remo.
BSC Meetings = Nicky Cash Fan Club Convention, as Claudia, Dawn and Stacey are singing his songs when Logan shows up. Logan makes a point of saying how bad a singer Claudia is. I wonder if he has a problem with Dawn and Stacey’s singing? They must be decent singers, since they had roles in the play. He lets them know his feelings by howling like a dog while they sing.
Logan refers to Richard as Richard, which seems really wrong. I imagine he’d be the type to insist upon being called Mr. Spier by MA’s dates. (I’m picturing her imaginary future-husband having to call his father-in-law Mr. Spier and it’s really funny.) I just mean that Richard’s a little old-fashioned and traditional, and having non-related teenagers call him by last name seems more his style.
What I love is that they talk about how awkward BSC meetings are with Logan around, but this one makes the meeting seem extra fun. (I’m starting to be able to pick out which books are written by certain ghost writers, simply because they have distinctive styles. Peter Lerangis, who wrote this one, likes to have lots of joking around and food throwing.) Claudia answers the phone with a mouthful of chocolate and says ‘hewwo’ instead of hello, so Logan does an Elmer Fudd imitation of her babysitting job.
Logan’s dad once bought tofu because he thought it was cheese, and Logan says that’s as close to health food as his family gets. He also apparently thinks Dawn would fight a squirrel for an acorn. That’s a fight I’d like to see, because the squirrel would win. As someone who went to a college that almost changed their mascot to the Fighting Squirrels for good reason, I can attest that some squirrels are scary and potentially lethal.
Logan doesn’t understand why Shannon wears black eyeliner (or as he calls it, ‘outliner’) around her blue eyes. For some reason, when he points it out, I’m picturing Shannon wearing the whole ‘heroin chic’ look that went into fashion a few years later, with thick, heavy eyeliner that’s supposed to make you look like you have dark circles under your eyes, like a drug addict.

Dawn is apparently eating a bag of hay at the meeting. Can Draculogan narrate more of these stories? I kinda love him.
You know the Badd Boyz are bad because they say stuff like yo and ‘tsup. Oh, and they skip out during lunch and eat pizza in the parking lot.
Apparently, ‘crispy’ is a Badd Boy compliment.
Claudia spelling! She was siting for the twines, Maralyn and Caralyn, by the way. Twise, imposable (impossible), eigth, migth. She also uses ben for been.
The twins lost their lunches (before they were eaten!) to the bully, EJ, so they’re starving when they get home. Claudia’s suggestion on what happened to the lunches is the title quote. She also gets the twins trying to think of (serious) ways to deal with a bully, which turns into a conversation about dropping EJ in the sewer or bringing bombs to school.
Stacey says that, between the thieves at school and the bully at the elementary school, there’s a lot of bad karma going around. Claudia thinks she said bad caramel. You hear what you want to hear, I guess. (Claud makes herself feel better after her sitting job by finding and eating some good caramels.)
I’m beginning to understand the whole Dawn-is-an-individual thing that’s so rampant in this series because of something Logan says in this book. He admires the Badd Boyz for their ‘independence’ because they don’t care what others think of them and aren’t afraid of anyone. But they travel in a gang/pack and aren’t really independent. They’re as much of a clique as the other kids in school; they’re just counterculture rather than mainstream culture. But these kids are supposed to be middle schoolers. When you’re 13, being counterculture does seem to mean independence and individuality, even when you’re being as much of a follower and are as insecure as everyone else. Maybe I’ll stop being as hard on Dawn. Maybe.
Logan’s pretty clueless. Now maybe I’m saying this because I’m an adult, or because I work in loss prevention (or because I’d read the book before), but it was completely obvious that T-Jam (who goes with Logan when he buys the Nicky Cash CD for Mary Anne) is a distraction so that his two friends can shoplift. He keeps pointing the store owner away from the direction his friends are in by asking about jazz CDs.
Oh, and T-Jam ‘compliments’ Logan by telling him he’s ‘quality.’ Mary Anne thinks it sounds like a word you’d use on an appliance, not a person.
Ooh, there’s a spelling mistake! Memberes instead of members.
Logan suggests recruiting EJ to be a member of the Badd Boyz.
After Logan inadvertently helps the Badd Boyz steal a shipment of Nicky Cash CDs, he threatens to tell, so T-Jam turns the tables by threatening Mary Anne. He realizes he’s being blackmailed. (Logan’s also afraid of the loss of reputation and potential legal consequences involved in telling the truth.) They buy his silence with Nicky Cash concert tickets (stolen, natch). Logan wants to return them, but MA sees them before he has a chance.
This would make a really bad afterschool special, which is, of course, the best kind.
I’d join the We Hate EJ Club, but only if it has a secret handshake.
The club gathers together to have a “stragedy” session on how to deal with EJ. They also deal with the triplets, who (well, at least Adam and Jordan) keep taunting the younger kids about EJ. Apparently, the fact that EJ is a girl is highly embarrassing, not just to Nicky, Buddy and the Hobart boys (the only boys at the “stragedy” session) but to all the kids.
Ha ha ha! The Badd Boyz have started calling Logan Ken Doll. It’s appropriate. It’s also what makes him decide to make sure the gang gets caught stealing.
Logan and MA are going for a candlelight dinner before the concert…and Charlie agrees to drop them off. (He is just too nice.) Kristy: “Charlie, have you ever tasted candlelight? It’s magnificent.”
Logan doesn’t tell MA the truth about the tickets until she mentions that some seventh grader had her tickets stolen. Suddenly the victim of the crime becomes real and he can’t go through with it anymore. MA is understandably mad…not because they aren’t going to the concert, but because he didn’t just tell her all this (and return the tickets) right away.
Here’s my REAL question at this point: Why did this seventh grader have her tickets at school anyway? 1. They’re not cheap and the concert’s sold out. 2. The thefts from lockers is one of the biggest topics going around school. I’m not blaming the victim, but if she had used common sense, she wouldn’t have been in this spot in the first place.
Logan’s dad refers to the Badd Boyz as “fellows.” And I laughed for absolutely no reason.
Kerry starts playing the Nicky Cash CD early the morning after Logan was supposed to go to the concert:
            Mr. Bruno: This is what you were going to hear last night?
            Logan: Pretty terrible, huh?
Even though it is the oldest BSC joke ever, I always laugh when Logan orders food when Kristy calls the meeting to order.
“Flourless, yeastless, sugarless, and probably tasteless ‘walnut fudgie bars.’” I wish those were real, because they sound like something I could actually eat. Later, Dawn threatens to feed one to Logan when he’s a smart aleck.
Dawn points out that it’s sexist to assume that a bully is a boy. Honestly, in my experience, girl bullies are worse than boy bullies. I used to teach school at a locked facility with kids that were basically the worst of the worst, and we all used to say we’d rather have a room full of boys than a room full of girls. The girls would stoop to any level and they fought viciously.
Outfits
Mary Anne: sequined “shirt and pants that are attached.” EWWWWWWW! I think I’ll throw up now, if that’s okay with y’all.

Next week: We’ll celebrate the holidays with some counterfeit money (and another extra stupid plotline): Mystery #10 Stacey and the Mystery Money

Thursday, December 11, 2014

“I break into a sweat that feels like a monster slimed my shirt collar.” BSC Super Special #10: Sea City, Here We Come! (1993)

There’s something really funny about reading this book while watching the episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 when they spend the summer at the beach.
So the Pikes are going to Sea City (again), and this time, Mrs. Barrett is going as well. Half of the BSC is going for the whole trip as mother’s helpers, while the other half is coming for the second week as guests. While everyone is at the beach, a hurricane (sorry. According to Claud, it’s a hurrycan) washes out the causeway and strands them at Sea City.
The individual stories:
Jessi: is determined to be super-sitter and show up the older girls
Stacey: sits for Mrs. Barrett, who is a head case. Stacey is basically a bitch to everyone because of the stress.
Mallory: goes on a date with Toby, Stacey’s ex, and fights with Stacey over it
Dawn: runs a mini-camp with Mary Anne and feels Stacey’s wrath at one point
Mary Anne: runs the mini-camp and deals with Logan, who is jealous of Alex, who is in Sea City with Toby
Claudia: goes to summer school and finds she actually is one of the smartest ones there
Kristy: has to find a bunch of ‘replacement’ Krushers so she doesn’t have to forfeit a game
Interesting Tidbits
I don’t know why I love this cover so much, but I really do. Although, being me, I have to quibble about the arrangement of the pyramid. Why would you put Mary Anne and Kristy—two of the smallest girls in their class—on the bottom?

Also, Dawn and Stacey look drunk.
The story starts with a whole bunch of letters and notes, including one from Stacey to her father where she insists upon writing in text speak, long before text speak was invented.
The BSC spends their last full meeting together doing a candy taste test. Logan and Shannon are both there for the meeting, but they made a mistake. Kristy says all nine of them looked like cows chewing cud, but Stacey and Dawn wouldn’t have been eating Heath and Skors bars. Later, Kristy acknowledges the two of them didn’t vote in the contest. (If you were concerned, the Skor bar won by one vote. As Logan says, Skor scores!)
Kristy says that Dawn lives an ‘alternative lifestyle.’ And being terribly mature, I snorted into my soup.
Y’all know how I love consistency: Shannon is sitting at the meeting doing voice exercises.
Only chapter two and we already have Claudia spelling! Arrivs, jellous, meting, sumer, mabe, com, finly, perfict. Plus she ‘hops’ something will happen. Oh, and she learned to count during summer school because it was such an ‘enducational experiense.’
Um, Claudia, teachers get paid extra money for teaching summer school. That’s why they do it, not so that they can torture kids. Although some of them probably enjoy that element of it too.
Oh, Claudia’s surrounded by math jokes. This time, one of her s-school (that’s what the cool kids call it) friends starts throwing a bunch of numbers into an ice cream man math problem, and finishes it by asking how much the guy’s toupee costs.
Something is wrong with this: Claudia calls Kristy the Voice of Sanity. Just, yeah. *shake head and walks away*
Mal is reading The Golden Key on the way to Sea City. Meanwhile, her siblings are counting people in other cars who are picking their noses. (Never done that but I once did spend a 12 hour trip looking for people who were driving alone in the carpool lane and writing down their license plate numbers….)
The other fun on the way to Sea City? The Barf Bucket is in the wrong car, as Nicky pukes all over the rented van. Vanessa finds this situation…poetic: “Mister Smee and Captain Hook ran away from Nicky’s puke!” “Hurry up and get a scarf! Please wipe up this pile of—”
The Coppertone ad of the girl getting her knickers tugged off by a puppy—the tushy picture, Nicky calls it—which is the third sign that they’re close to Sea City has been replaced with a new ad for a place called Weiner’s Wieners. I love it!
Mallory says Buddy is seven. He’s usually eight. In fact, Stacey says he’s eight in the very next chapter.
Mrs. Barrett drives like I do; she has terrible road rage. The only difference is that I usually curse a lot more.
I wonder if Mary Anne used to read Encyclopedia Brown. She tells Dawn to spin all the eggs to tell which ones are hard boiled and which are raw. I learned that a hard boiled egg will out spin a raw one from one of those books.
The kids at mini-camp: Jenny, Myriah, Jamie, Mathew, Johnny…and Charlotte. She’s a lot older than the rest of those kids. (Marilyn and Carolyn are also ‘campers’ but they don’t get mentioned in that chapter at all.)
Kristy (facetiously) suggests putting Boo-Boo on the Krushers team. She should put him at first base because the Bashers would be too scared to go there.
Kristy says there are twenty kids on the Krushers. The lineup for her team is constantly changing, but I’m trying to pin it down, at least for this book. She mentions the following people: Nicky, Margo, Claire, Buddy, Suzi, Matt, Linny, Hannie, Jake, Laurel, Patsy, Jamie, Nina, Myriah, Gabbie, Jackie, David Michael, Karen, Andrew, and Bobby Gianelli. That is, in fact, twenty kids, and I’m pretty sure all of them but Bobby (whom Kristy mentions is a recent addition) were in the original book. But at various other times, I know she’s mentioned the Korman kids, the Hsu boys and several others playing on the team.
Kids Kristy talks to when trying to recruit temporary Krushers: Phil Fields, Kate Munson, S. Emerson Pickney IV (“Quad”), P. Archibald Pickney (“Moon”), Sheila Nofzinger, Richard Owen, Kyle Abou-Sabh and Alexandra DeLonge.
And it’s time for a Margo chapter. Her spelling is about as good at Claudia’s. Her spelling errors? Tiddal, cretures, clames (clams), teny, grat, lern, maureen (marine), watsh (wash). Oh, and she eats some cold slaw, which is what I called it until I was about 10 or so. Later, she makes a sign: Come to Margo’s! spectakuler!! beach zoo!!! See excotic and dangerus spechis of maureen life!!!!! Only $50 cents
Jessi takes Margo, Claire and Suzi for ice cream. (With Stacey, Mal and Jessi to babysit, it makes sense to organize the kids by age groups. I mean, those three girls together, the triplets together. But then is it Vanessa, Nicky and Buddy? And who’s got Marnie?) In any case, Margo eats Rocky Road, Claire wants “Pistachio Mustachio,” which would be fashionable today, and Suzi wants ‘Chorcolate,” which is what Goofy eats.
Ahh, siblings:
            Jordan: You think you’re going to enter the sand castle contest?
            Margo: We don’t think.
            Jordan: I know you don’t.
If you had a four year old, would you a) pay for him to go to ‘camp’ with thirteen year old counselors and b) let him sleep over at said ‘camp?’ At least when they did it in #86, they only invited the older kids. Half of the campers are five and younger, yet Dawn starts telling them ghost stories. Not really bright.
More Claudia spelling! Sumer (again), balieve, actualy, prety, probly, coud, extatic.
Okay, wait. How is Marilyn the pitcher for the Krushers? She wasn’t part of that list earlier. Well, the Krushers one, that is.
YES! THE KISSING HAIR EPISODE! Sorry, that’s 90210, not BSC. Moving on….
Final score of the Krusher-Basher game? 34-1. Gabbie scored the only Krushers run when the wiffle ball got thrown into the stands and Charlie hid it. Explain to me why Kristy thought a forfeit would be worse than that.
Stacey is all sorts of condescending about the budding Toby-Mallory thing. She already thinks Toby’s a creep, but once he flirts with Mal, Stacey starts putting Mal down, too. It’s mostly about how Mal is eleven and he’s older (true), but she also says things like, “You’re not his type.”
The title quote is Logan’s take on having to be the only guy surrounded by BSC members.
Oh, and there’s this whole giant sand castle contest (I guess I kinda did mention that earlier) that Margo, Suzi and Claire want to enter, but most of the creations being made for it are monstrosities that they just can’t compete with. Logan’s take: Why bother? It’s just sand; it’ll have to come down eventually. (The contest gets cancelled because of the hurricane.)
My favorite moment so far this book? When Logan meets Alex, he sizes him up. He decides his looks are solid—cute, but not hunky—but that things are okay because he’s bigger than Alex is. Oh, Logan.
Why on earth would Mallory send a postcard to Stacey’s mom?
Heh. Mallory takes Nicky and Margo mini-golfing and expects to find a picture of her family with the words DO NOT RENT TO THESE PEOPLE on the wall of the Putt-Putt.
I just realized that this is the second time that Toby has caused Stacey to get into a fight with one of her friends in Sea City. She and Mary Anne had a doozy of a fight in the last Sea City book because Stacey thought her time with Toby was more important than Mary Anne’s time with Alex.
Oh, and Dawn’s sharing a room with her for the weekend, taking care of the DeWitts (although they are referred to in this book as the Harrises—I guess AMM realized they already had a Ryan DeWitt in the BSC-verse) while they visit the Barretts. Stacey spends the entire time being cranky and bitchy…mostly because Toby asked Mallory on a date, although Stacey won’t admit it.
I would totally eat omelets with Franklin. He offers to put all kinds of things into them, including prunes, chicken nuggets and chocolate chips.
Obviously, this book is pre-1998:
            Mrs. Barrett: They say the road was fortified a few years ago.
            Mr. Pike: They said the Titanic was unsinkable.
            Claudia: Is the Titanic going through the marsh?
Adam wants the hurricane to hit…so that they can eat Spam and tuna and fruit cocktail. Probably all at the same time.
Yes! More Claudia spelling! Panick, belive, writting, hurrycan (hee hee!) equiptment. Oh, and she uses hop for hope and exiting for exciting and spells her new friend’s (Carly) name wrong. But don’t panick—she’s just jocking about dying!
Oh, by the way, the hurricane’s name is Bill. I don’t know why I feel that’s important to point out, but it is.
Claudia’s contemplating fashion while packing for hurricane evacuation. She’s worried about clashing, although I don’t know why, since it’s never bothered her before.
I know that there’s a lot of people evacuating into two vehicles between the Pikes, Barretts and BSC (they tallied twenty), but shouldn’t Marnie be in a car seat? Technically, these days, Suzi, Claire and maybe even Margo would be in boosters as well.
Bad pun alert! The kids announce that they forgot their pajamas, with people piping up “Me neither” and “Me threether.” Stacey stops them before they get any ‘fourther.’ I’m pretty sure I missed that one as a kid.
Why? Why?? There’s a Karen chapter in the middle of the action. I would have rather seen the Stoneybrook version of the hurricane from Logan’s point of view, since he was back in the ‘hood by then.
Okay, time for Buddy spelling. (Of course, Karen never spells anything wrong. There’s a whole book about that.) Claud may have a hurrycan, but Buddy has a herricane. Also, gues, realy, leke, becase, elelctrisity. Also, everyone stayed in the jim.
Buddy was really hoping for some gruesome, morbid things to happen in the aftermath of the hurricane: he complains that the Ferris wheel didn’t break loose, no cars crashed and there are no dead bodies in the street.
Remember the winter super special when Mary Anne kept imagining Logan with a girl in a bikini at the beach? Well, in this one, Logan keeps imagining MA with Alex during the hurricane, the ‘hero and heroine in a dimly lit corner, holding hands.’ I thought it might be low self-esteem on MA’s part, but it just comes across like they don’t trust one another when they’re both doing it.
Niiiiiice. Mal’s getting ready for her date, which involves shopping for fun accessories and letting Claudia pick out an outfit for her (with Jessi helping, to limit the over-Claudia-ness that might otherwise occur). Nicky, Adam and Jordan are all peeking in on her, and then run off singing about Mal and Toby in a tree…only not kissing but necking. I guess it’s the right number of letters, but how many people use that term anymore?
Mal ends up not going on her date with Toby, not because it will make Stacey mad (c’mon, she’s (almost) a teenager; causing drama should be her middle name!) but because she doesn’t want to screw things up with Ben back home.
So Logan actually hires a horse and buggy to take Mary Anne home when she gets back from Sea City, which would be sweet if he weren’t just trying to make up for thinking she was making out with Alex the whole trip.
And the book ends with Toby asking questions about Jessi…and wondering if he’s single. Proving that all men (except Logan, natch) are scum.
Outfits
Claudia: cut-offs, rope belt, t-shirt with the collar ripped off, oversized white socks, old fashioned shoes (Did she forget she got off that island 6 super specials ago?)
Stacey: long white ‘jersey tunic’ t-shirt, white ‘ribbed leggings’, leather belt, sandals
Mallory: short flared polka-dot skirt, white tank top, blue men’s shirt tied in front (she’s actually super-cute in the illustration of this)

Next week: Logan Bruno, Boy Babysitter!

Monday, December 1, 2014

“I’d give her to you to hold, but I’m afraid I’d come home to a green baby.” BSC Mystery #9: Kristy and the Haunted Mansion (1993)

This mystery is stupid for a lot of reasons. I know I say that about a lot of the mysteries, but really. Honestly, after that joke I made about the BSC being theScooby gang a few weeks back, I really expected Kristy to pull the head off the old caretaker and say, “I can’t believe it. It’s Old Hickory!” and have Bart reply, “And he would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for us meddling kids!”
Kristy, Charlie, Bart and selected Krashers are riding home from a game when two bridges wash out, leaving them stranded on a small stretch of land with one house. The caretaker lets them stay, and they discover a mystery. The caretaker had been engaged to the daughter of the family, Dorothy Sawyer, years before, but she’d mysteriously vanished on the day they were supposed to elope. She was presumed drowned because the bridges had washed out that night as well. But of course, she’s actually alive and well and running the sewing store in Stoneybrook.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: first, there’s Karen, and if you look closely (at the real cover, not this picture of it) you can see Krushers is spelled with a C. One point for consistency. Also, this is the way I picture Kristy dressing most of the time, although there’s something really weird about her shorts. She must have some seriously heavy crap in her pockets because they’re bulging in a strange fashion:

The list of Krashers in the van with Charlie, Bart and Kristy on the way to the game in Redfield: DM, Nicky, Jackie, Karen, Buddy and Bashers Jerry, Joey, Chris and Patty. I was going to get all OCD and check to see if the names were the same as mystery #7, but then Kristy points out that they’d changed the lineup a little bit.
Stupid thing #1: Charlie is driving all the starters for the game to the game. This would make sense to me only if they got there early to practice or warm up or something. But by the time they get to the field, not only are the parents of most of the kids in the van already there (meaning that they didn’t just pick up all the kids who had no ride, either), but so are a couple other team members who are there in case they’re needed for backup.
“Soon the game began. I won’t bore you with all the details….” Too late, Kristy. Too late.
Is there a scarier phrase in the clothing-world than “polka-dotted jumpsuit”? Feel free to comment if you can think of anything ickier that Claudia’s ever worn.
Huh. Kristy is afraid of lightning.
Stupid thing #2, which directly relates to stupid thing #1: It’s pouring when Charlie sets off with the kids. Only Nicky goes home with his family, the rest climbing back into the van. How many parents would be comfortable with someone who’s had his license for less than a year driving their kids home in a thunderstorm?
The caretaker talks like he’s from the 1800s. “Confounded contraptions.” I wonder if that’s what AMM thinks all ‘country people’ talk like, or it’s just this dude, living alone at a mansion without phones.
Okay. So these kids (the Krashers, Bart, Kristy and Charlie) are lost in the middle of nowhere, with no way to contact civilization, and the little ones are understandably upset about this…until Bart points out they get to sleep in their clothes. That would not have been a plus for me when I was a kid.
The triplets are talking backwards, which my sister and I used to do all the time. It takes forever to try to pronounce things the right way when you say them in reverse. (Although we would say entire sentences backwards: Reppus rof emit instead of Emit rof reppus.) Mary Anne can’t follow them, but Mal can, which either means they’ve been doing it for hours, so she’s used to it by now, or she’s just way smarter.
When the van doesn’t come home, everyone keeps calling one another. Interestingly, instead of calling the Brewer-Thomas house, Bart’s dad calls Claudia. Maybe he had a BSC flier or something?
Stupid thing #3: The house is all immaculately kept and not the slightest bit musty or moldy, but the owner of the house died nearly sixty years before. I have a hard time keeping my basement from smelling musty after a couple weeks. Yet everything is still original and pristine. The caretaker must regularly be washing the bedding, drapes and other soft goods, so I would think some of it would wear out after a while.
Karen finds Dorothy’s diary and encourages Kristy to read it aloud, which Kristy does (even though she feels bad about snooping.) The young girl says she’s eager to marry her fiancĂ©, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to go straight from her father’s house to her husband’s. I wonder if this was an unconscious basis for a story I’m writing right now about a girl who is about the same age, only in more modern times. Both girls want to travel and see the world before they settle down. I’m going to say no, simply because I last read this back in 1994 or so, while I started writing that a few months ago.
One of the downsides to them using actual dates in here is that it truly dates the book when you pick it up again 21 years later. Dorothy wrote her diary almost 80 years ago (the first half of 1935), so at the end of the book when they find her, she’d be 97 these days.
Claudia spelling! Wassnt, nigth, sik, caugth, rane, pruple, yelow, Jamee, questoins, thees, reely. Then she tries three times to spell disastrous before giving up.
OH HELL YEAH! I KNEW there was a book where Claudia’s tie-dye bled everywhere. That happened to me once, only much less dramatically. The title quote comes from Mrs. Newton’s response to this.
WWKS: What would Kristy say? I don’t know, but it would probably be a little insensitive.
I read a sentence very wrong. Here’s what I saw: “I’m sure they’ll be fine,” said Jamie. “Kristy is very intelligent and resourceful.” It was actually Janine who said it, but I was momentarily thrown by how adult Jamie sounded.
“Kids can die, right?” Jamie worries incessantly after Claudia tells him the Krashers are missing. Let’s ignore the idiocy of actually telling Jamie what happened. (She’s thirteen, people keep calling, and Jamie can tell something is wrong; I’ll forgive her.) Jamie gets right to the heart of the matter with that question. After my nephew died, his older brother—who is just about Jamie’s age—became horribly morbid, and he’s stayed that way. Many kids go through that phase, where they ‘kill’ everything or everything dies. It’s how they deal with fears about the possibility they could die themselves. Claudia handles that part pretty well, telling him that kids can die but it doesn’t happen very often.
Kristy keeps referring to the Krashers as the “older kids” and the “younger kids.” The kids are mostly seven, eight, and nine. So is there really going to be a distinction? It’s not like they brought all the nine-year-old-characters and then Gabbie and Jamie.
“The next person who makes any noise is going to have to sleep all by himself in the attic.” This is how Bart finally gets the kids to be quiet after hours of giggling.
Dawn is sitting around waiting for news on the Krashers, and she’s getting antsy. So Sharon suggests she go clean her room, to which Dawn replies, “I’m not that desperate.”
Claudia actually starts calling hospitals—while still sitting for Jamie; I really hope he was in bed by then!—to see if the Krashers were brought in. The police are searching for the missing people, so that’s definitely something that already would have been done.
I love how everyone is so freaked out by Kristy being missing, when it’s not even the first time this has happened to a BSC member! Stacey and her mom went missing during the snowstorm, and of course—my favorite—Claudia and Dawn were stranded on a frickin’ island! Yet the BSC all write notes to Kristy in the notebook, including Jessi’s comment that this had to be the sitting adventure of all time. Um, they were missing for a whole whopping sixteen hours or something. Settle down.
Speaking of the notebook: Claudia spelling! Apitite, bole (which apparently is a real word; Claud means bowl), wateing.
This amused me, and not just because everyone laughed at Karen:
Karen: There’s the library. Remember when you took me there and I got out the book about Frog and Toad?
Kristy: Do I remember? I should hope so. It was only two days ago!
Claudia makes a friggin’ banner to welcome them home, only it says Wellcome home, Krasherz. Again, they were missing for fewer than 24 hours!
Yes! Consistency again! While deciding upon pizza toppings, Claudia makes a joke about wanting anchovies all over everything, then rolls around laughing. (Which sounds suspiciously accurate for a thirteen year old and nothing like a normal BSC member.) Kristy points out that she actually likes anchovies, which has come up in a book before. If only I could remember which one… (I personally like pineapple anchovy pizza. It’s like Hawaiian pizza, only with salty fish instead of piggy.)
Dawn goes around at school retelling Kristy’s night in the mansion (um, doesn’t Kristy spend every night in a mansion anyway??) as a ghost story, exaggerating profusely. Instead of getting mad, Kristy just insists Dawn tell her what supposedly happened, so that she’s better prepared when people come up to her.
Claudia tells everybody the Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend, complete with the FOAF (friend-of-a-friend) attribution. It happened to a cousin’s friend.
Final stupid thing: If Dorothy managed to get the hell out of town and see the world, why would she come back to the same general vicinity? Will the caretaker might have come to town someday to buy a needlepoint pattern and recognized her.
Outfits
Claudia: polka-dotted jumpsuit with a hand-painted scarf; yellow, purple and green tie-dye shirt, jean shorts
Stacey: polka-dot pajamas

Coming soon: December will be a month of 10s. In approximate order, I’ll be covering: SS#10, Logan Bruno, Boy Babysitter, Mystery #10 and #67.

Monday, November 24, 2014

“This is not a math problem, Claud, this is dinner.” BSC #62: Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever

I remember being really interested in this book when it first came out. My aunt and uncle had just signed up as foster parents with the intent to adopt. It would be a couple of years before I met the little girl they adopted, but when I did meet her, I was expecting her to behave a lot like Lou did in this book despite the fact that a) she’d been living with my relatives more than half her life and b) had only been in foster care a short time.
The Papadakises take in a foster child, Lou, who basically causes minor problems for them for a couple weeks. She recently lost her father and her mother ran out on her sometime back. Lou pushes the boundaries and tests everyone around her, refusing to make friends with Hannie or Linny or follow the Papadakises’ rules. Eventually, her aunt and uncle are found and agree to raise Lou and her brother.
Meanwhile, SMS is holding a charity auction to buy new computers. The BSC writes to a bunch of celebrities they all send autographed ‘stuff’ (jackets and photos and toe shoes and all other kinds of crap) to be auctioned.
And yes, Tessie did comment on the whole ‘foster parent/social worker’ aspect of things. Her take is interspersed in the tidbits.
Interesting Tidbits
I think it’s worth repeating the fact that Watson seems to find thousands of things to do with his weekend, especially while Karen and Andrew are visiting. I’m not saying that his life should stop when his ‘real’ children arrive (I find the idea that he should treat his biological children better than his stepchildren offensive) but it does seem Kristy spends more time babysitting DM and EM when Karen and Andrew are around.
Speaking of DM and EM, Watson and Elizabeth should adopt another kid and call it, say, Fawn Marie or Frank Martin so that the kid can be FM.
Here’s an example of why I hate Karen, outside of the obvious:
            Hannie: Guess what.
            Karen: You won a trip to the moon!
Okay, I don’t have an issue with the fact that instead of just saying ‘What?!?’ like most people would, Karen has to guess. But she has to guess something so completely impossible and then keep guessing until she pisses Hannie off.
And then she has to correct Kristy’s grammar. It ticks me off enough with then babysitters do that to their clients (so not their jobs, unless the parent requests it), but it’s just obnoxious coming out of a seven-year-old. Doubly so because it’s Karen.
Fashionable Dresser is apparently a capitalized title these days. I’d rather stick to lower-case yoga pants and t-shirt, thank you.
YES! Kristy describes Dawn as sensitive. It’s pretty accurate, for once. She may not cry at the drop of a hat like Mary Anne does, but she really does have a sensitive side. (For those of you who want to crow about me saying nice things about Dawn two weeks in a row, I’m going to repeat: I don’t hate Dawn; I just find her slightly annoying. What I hate is that she’s always described as being an individual and not caring what others think when that couldn’t be further from the truth.)
Okay, for those of you not too up on the foster care system, a little lesson (not directly courtesy of Tessie, although she is one of my major sources): The goal of the foster care system is to provide temporary housing to children who, for whatever reason, cannot live at home at that moment. It’s only one part of the parent organization, which goes by different names in different states. I grew up in Illinois, where it is known as Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). The goal of DCFS (no matter what the name) is to keep families together and, when they must be separated, to put them back together as quickly as possible. Many of the children have been neglected, sexually, emotionally or physically abused. It takes a very special person to be able—and willing—to handle foster children.
Claudia’s musing about the school lunch. She calls it a ‘study in winter tones,’ and suggests shellacking it and hanging it on the wall.
EM calls DM ‘Davie.’ It’s a lot fewer syllables for her to try to pronounce.
Tessie Says: Kristy thinks the social worker’s car looks ‘official.’ Because social workers travel a lot for their jobs, they often use state-owned cars.
I have always remembered this: When Lou first shows up, she heads back out to the car after meeting Mrs. Papadakis and walks over the car and in through the window to get her backs. I think they mean it as a sign that she’s ‘bad.’
The Karen, Hannie and Nancy actually get into an argument over what color to paint their stupid playhouse. It would be really boring except for the fact that Nancy is being just as stubborn as Karen. I do so love to see someone stand up to her and not back down.
Lou starts complaining that the Papadakises have too many rules. (Speaking of, I just realized that Mary Anne is babysitting for all the following children: Karen, DM, EM, Nancy, Hannie, Linny and Lou. Shouldn’t there be a second sitter? And where’s Andrew?) None of the rules are too serious, but since Lou grew up without rules, she rebels against them. Her horrible act of rebellion? She breaks a rule…by trying to go to the park without permission.
Tessie Says: Two comments about this scene. First, rebelling against rules is a gimme for all kids, but especially foster kids. They have to figure out where the lines are drawn. Many of them have been threatened in the past but their parent-figure never followed through. Lou has to test the Papadakises (and Mary Anne) to see if they’re serious about these rules.
Second, when Lou walks off, Mary Anne grabs her by the arm and then basically pulls her around the street. You cannot get physical when disciplining foster children. The Papadakis family would have been trained not to physically force her to do anything. If a child has been physically abused, even an act like grabbing them by the wrist and pulling them around could bring up those memories. Foster parents and social workers become experts at gaining enough trust with children to get them to do things without being physical. (There are exceptions, but they would be for very small children (the kind that have to be carried anyway) or for children with serious problems that would have to be restrained to protect them from hurting themselves.)
After the incident with MA, Lou looks pleased and MA finds it hard to ‘feel sorry’ for her anymore after that. She thinks it means that Lou is pleased with all the trouble she’s causing, but that’s not how it looks to me.
I liked the moment when MA suggests that, for the auction, Cokie will donate mean lessons. I mean, even nice, sensitive people have moments of being snarky.
Ha ha ha ha! Linny has to write a report on a state for school, so he picked Rhode Island…because it’s the smallest and he figured it would be easier. I actually wrote a report on Rhode Island in fourth grade myself, but I picked it because that’s where my family lived, not because I thought it would be easier. (Kristy tells him she used to do that with books until she accidentally chose The Old Man and the Sea. I still don’t understand the metaphor in that one.)
Tessie says: Again, during Kristy’s babysitting job, she keeps trying to touch Lou (put a hand on her shoulder, that sort of thing) but Lou keeps jerking away from her. It’s a better policy to be hands-off. Kristy was doing really well building a rapport with Lou until she touched her. Some foster kids love hugs and crave them, but you have to be very careful again in case they’ve been sexually abused.
Why would Kristy eat the ‘sea legs special’ at SMS? I love seafood but that sounds flat-out disgusting.
Interestingly enough, the Papadakis kids have shown up in nearly every chapter so far in this book (through chapter nine) but we have yet to see Sari.
The title quote comes from Claudia musing—she’s much funnier than normal in this book—about how pizza is like a math problem.
OMG! Watson and Elizabeth took the kids (including Karen and Andrew) to the movies. They do actually spend time with their children!
This made me laugh: Stacey wants to watch The Wizard of Oz, even though Mallory’s sick of it and Dawn says the tornado at the beginning is scary. So Stacey amends her request…she just wants to watch the tornado. Is she trying to piss Dawn off?
Realistic-ness. First the BSC has a giant, multi-room pillow fight at their sleepover, then they wake up in the morning to realize they left a mess. They made chocolate covered popcorn. Jessi: “And we left the dirty pan to soak. I guess we forgot to put water in it.” Sounds like my kitchen.
The chocolate covered popcorn was part of the “gross food combo” game the BSC was playing…despite the fact that chocolate covered popcorn is AWESOME. MA says that Fritos dipped in butterscotch pudding tasted good, and she does the unthinkable: she grosses Kristy out.
I knew I forgot something. Let’s talk about the cover. Yes, in the middle of chapter ten, because that’s where this scene happens. Lou’s wearing her overalls and sweater combo again. That’s Boo-Boo Lou has in the bag, and Hannie (definitely—she always has those pigtails) and Linny (I assume) watching. It could also be David Michael. Honestly, the boy looks too enthusiastic to be either boy, who were both unhappy with Lou.

Oh, and that’s one low-rent TV Watson-the-millionaire has there.
Tessie Says: Kristy thinks Lou is the worst kid she’s ever met, but her actions are actually very mild for a foster child. She didn’t run away from home, didn’t hit, kick, or bite anyone, did her homework and never even rebelled all that much. And unlike some of the kids I’ve supervised, she never sexually abused the other kids in her foster home. Yes, I’m talking about kids Lou’s age. She’s more of a scared, sad kid than a truly bad one.*
Ooh, bad pun time! Dawn explains that cats chase things by nature and it’s a trick; instead it’s a trait of all cats. Linny (he of the awesome egg puns) replies, “Trick or trait!”
Dawn actually lifts Lou off the ground and carries her up the stairs. I don’t have to have Tessie point out (again) that you can’t be that physical with foster kids. Especially because in this case, it was a total overreaction. Lou hadn’t done anything that bad: she put brownie batter in Hannie’s hair. Yes, it’s childish, but it’s not worth the ‘lock the kid in the room’ that Dawn pulls on Lou. She probably could have gotten the same results by telling Lou she couldn’t have any brownies.
Hannie tears up and tells Lou she hates her, but that’s the result of a build-up of what’s been going on through the whole book. Hannie’s been angrier and more stern than that character usually is. (Despite the fact that she’s such good friends with Karen, I like Hannie. She’s the kind of friend I had when I was growing up. Instead of painting ‘playhouses’, we painted an old, non-working tractor.)
Despite that, Dawn is the first one to get to see the real Lou. She finds Lou in Hannie’s room…not destroying it like I would have done at that age, but holding a baby doll and crying. She gets Lou talking by sitting back and listening to her and discovers that Lou feels like everyone abandons her…her mom (who left the family), her dad (who died) and even her dog (who ran away).
Um, I’m no social worker. But shouldn’t Mrs. Graves (Lou’s actual social worker) have waited until she’d spoken with the Papadakises before telling Lou they’d found an uncle willing to take in her and her brother? She had to anticipate the kind of reaction she’d get. Is she new to the job?
Then, to make things worse, when Lou goes berzerk, she just stands back and actually calls Kristy—the babysitter!—in to try and calm her down.
Kristy is, however, the one who finds Lou when she remembers that Lou said she used to go to the stream near her house a lot. She finds Lou sitting next to the brook (hey…is it a Stoney Brook?) and convinces her to go back to the Papadakises’.
Kristy almost cries when Lou meets her new puppy for the first time, but then Claudia speaks up and saves the day. The words of wisdom? “Look. M&M chocolate chip cookies. Boy, Mrs. Papadakis sure knows how to give a party!”
I had forgotten that Kristy gives Lou a copy of one of my favorite books at the end of the story! Throughout the whole book, I was comparing Lou to The Great Gilly Hopkins, who keeps wishing for the mother who abandoned her and isn’t pleased to leave a great foster home and live with relatives.
So. The most expensive item at the auction? Neither the three minute CD shopping spree donated by Cokie, nor the Cam Geary jacket of (alleged) awesomeness. It was 24 hours of babysitting time from the BSC. I would really love to know a) what sucker bought that and b) exactly how much that cost. In order to beat the jacket, it would have to be more than $100. Honestly, in those days, you could probably just call the BSC and get a sitter cheaper than what the winner paid. What a rip off.
*Right after I finished this book I picked up a true-crime book about a family that makes Lou’s situation look positively normal. The dad had twelve kids and had sexually abused almost all of them. His daughters had four children and three of them were his. (Ew!) He’d even had marriage ceremonies with most of his daughters. His twelve-year-old daughter, along with all the other minor children, was placed in foster care, where she spoke vulgarly, refused to bathe or care for herself, refused to follow family routines or do homework, had constant nightmares, saw her father and brothers everywhere and feared for her life. Then she had a psychotic break and tried to kill the foster mother she normally loved. Makes Lou seem like a dream child, huh? I’m going to try to find a link about the story.
Outfits:
Claudia: purple and white stockings, Doc Martins (sic), short black ruffled skirt, cropped purple sweater, black velvet hat
Stacey: green shoes, silver capri pants, oversized shirt, green belt, short green checked skirt, gold leaf earrings
Lou: jeans, shirt, loose sweater; scarf around neck, baseball cap, overalls, red
turtleneck; same overalls with a sweater
Sari: red white and blue playsuit, one red shoe and one blue
New characters
Jay and Louisa (Lou) McNally (11 and 8): 32 and 29

Next week: Time for more Kristy: Mystery #9 Kristy and the Haunted Mansion

Monday, November 17, 2014

“I’d like one of those cool oxygen masks that drop out of the ceiling.” BSC #64: Dawn’s Family Feud (1993)

Jeff’s in town for a visit, and since he hasn’t spent much time with the new Spier-Schafer brood yet, everything’s awkward and difficult. Richard’s trying too hard to get Jeff to like him, while Sharon and Dawn are falling all over themselves to please him, even while he’s acting like a brat. It gets really bad when they go on a long weekend trip to Boston, but they eventually realize how stupid they’re being and enjoy each other’s company.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Barrett found herself a boy toy who has four kids of his own, and of course, the kids all hate each other. The parallels between the two plotlines are obvious, and Mary Anne even draws them out loud in chapter seven, but it doesn’t stop her from being whiny and annoying (as are Dawn and Jeff) throughout the rest of the book.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover! Jeff’s doing exactly what you’d expect him to do if he were just about to have his picture taken. After all, he’s a ten year old boy. (I still do that, actually. My Facebook photo is me and The Pepper making pretty much that same face.) Meanwhile, Dawn and Mary Anne caught a case of the bitch and Richard and Sharon are all, “Aww, aren’t our kids cute?” instead of “Smarten up or I’ll smack you upside the head!” like they should be. Best of all, it’s almost exactly as the book describes the photo is taken (except that Sharon and Richard should look less happy.)

Sharon starts the book by asking Dawn for “that squirty stuff.” I think it’s supposed to be an example of her being scatterbrained, but I think we’ve all had moments like that. (If you haven’t, please don’t let me know. I have them all the time; the other day I asked a coworker to hand me “that thing you write on paper with” because the word pen wouldn’t come out of my mouth.)
Richard wastes a bunch of time showing Dawn how to make Jeff’s bed up with hospital corners. Now if Dawn-the-neat-and-tidy doesn’t see the difference, do you think Jeff is going to care?
I would totally watch The Care Bears Meet the Smurfs. It would be Smurfy!
Avocado cheese melts sound pretty good. I’m thinking I might have to try that on tortilla chips for dinner.
Jeff’s wearing a fanny pack when he gets off the plane. That’s one trend I seriously hope never comes back into fashion. My mom wore one for years, using it as a purse, but she called it a ‘bum bag’ because that’s how they’re known in England. (‘Fanny’ has a whole separate meaning there.)
I think it’s funny that everyone’s talking about how exciting it would be if Franklin married Mrs. Barrett, because it would make a combined seven kids…the same as Kristy’s family and fewer than Mal’s family. (Mal is the only one who doesn’t comment on how insane it would be.) No one seems concerned about how the kids will get along, despite the fact that Kristy herself didn’t want to meet Karen and Andrew in the very first book. I guess this is because Buddy and Suzi actually like Franklin, while Kristy didn’t care for Watson.
Mallory suggests playing license plates with the Barrett and DeWitt kids, but probably only Lindsey and Buddy are old enough to read license plates and know what state it says.
How does Mrs. Barrett, who, sixty books ago, couldn’t even clean her own house or take care of her own kids, know that ‘all matinees start at two’? It would seem to be more her style to show up too late than too early.
Dawn and MA decide to coordinate their outfits for the family portraits, so MA drags out every dress she bought over the ‘last three years.’ Now I can get away with that, but are we really supposed to believe that MA still fits into a dress she bought when she was ten? Or that she’d even want to wear that, since it would be something her dad picked out? (Maybe they mean 1990 to 1993, all of which was while she was 13…)
Why would Dawn eat fried ice cream? Shouldn’t that make her scream and go brush her teeth? I mean, processed sugars!
Ooh, I’d watch all of these too: The Mutant from Outer Space, Revenge of the Mutants, The Mutants Fight Back, Son of the Mutant and The Mutant from Outer Space Part Two.
I can’t fathom the logic of trying to ‘make’ the Barrett and DeWitt kids like each other by cooking a fancy dinner and dressing the kids up in their best clothes. They’re little kids! They’d probably rather eat mac and cheese with cut up hotdogs in it on paper plates, and then they could actually act like kids.
The Richard-Jeff thing reminds me of an episode of Queer as Folk in which a boy about Jeff’s age visits his dad he doesn’t see too often. The kid acts like a little bastard through most of the episode. Finally dad’s boyfriend (who thinks kid has a problem with dad being gay) finds out that the kid thinks his dad overplans their time together and forces him to ‘make the most of it’ by rushing from outing to outing. Finally, they cancel the rest of their plans and sit around reading comic books and the three of them get along better. Richard keeps planning activities for Jeff, but they’re the kind of activities Richard would enjoy rather than what Jeff would enjoy. The whole problem could have been solved by Richard asking Jeff what he wanted to do and then planning that.
Mary Anne only gets upset with Dawn because Dawn suggests her dad is the reason Jeff is miserable. Here’s the thing about this: I don’t blame Jeff for being unhappy. Not only is he completely the center of Richard’s attention (which is weird and awkward, because they’re family but don’t know each other at all), but things are difficult with the triplets because they haven’t kept in touch well and aren’t interested in all the same things anymore. But he is acting extremely bratty about it all, more than the situation requires. And the parents are making it worse by not laying down the law with him (and when they start up, MA and Dawn). I know he’s on vacation, and they don’t see him very much, but telling him to get his attitude straight isn’t that out of line. You still have to be a parent, even when you only see your kid now and then.
Actually, this A plot is one of the most realistic plots in the entire BSC series. Blended families don’t magically get along because their parents decide to get married, the way the Brady Bunch (and the Thomas-Brewer Bunch) do.
We’ve found the source of “Mary Anne the Walking Guide Book”: it’s genetic. Both she and Richard carry guidebooks throughout their stay in Boston. Despite that fact (and, you know, elementary school American history class), she has no idea what the Boston Tea Party is.
Mary Anne also insists on sleeping with Richard and Sharon because Dawn and Jeff are being childish. Bet they loved that.
Of course, Dawn writes multiple letters on her three day vacation. Interestingly, she writes two each to Kristy and Stacey, three to Claudia and one to Jessi. Notice anyone missing?
I think the worst part of the vacation is the fact that Dawn can see that Sharon and Richard are upset, yet she keeps siding with Jeff…even though she acknowledges that he’s being a world-class brat. Sharon really wanted to see the art museum Richard and MA go to, and Richard really wanted to go whale watching, but because the kids are fighting, they go their separate ways. Sharon actually starts crying after a full day of Jeff pulling crap to get out of hanging out with Richard and Mary Anne.
You all know how I feel about Dawn, but she’s definitely the most mature of the Spier-Schafer children in this book, and even she throws a tantrum or two.
Ooh, Claudia spelling! Actually, I was really thrown by this notebook entry because I couldn’t figure out who was doing the joint entry with Claud. It looks like Abby handwriting but obviously couldn’t be Abby. I had to read halfway through to find out it was Shannon. (Shannon usually has tiny little neat handwriting.) On to the spelling: wernt, problums, Baret, Shanon, notbook, becuase. She also uses grate for great and no for know.
And of course, because they’re BSC members, Claudia and Shannon ‘fix’ the Barrett/DeWitt problem. This is obviously the counterpoint to me saying that the other plot was realistic.
The title quote is what Adam says when Jeff offers to get the triplets souvenirs from the plane. When Jordan points out that the oxygen masks are only for emergencies so Jeff can’t get him one, Adam responds, “Jeff can do anything.”
Outfits
Mrs. Barrett: cream linen slacks, blazer, lavender silk blouse, pearl necklace and earrings (and yes, she looked like a model)
Suzi and Marnie: matching blue and white polka dot dresses, ankle socks, black patent leather shoes
Buddy: blue pants, white shirt, red bow tie
Jeff: torn jeans, dirty t-shirt, ball cap; tan slacks, sweater
Dawn: red t-shirt, blue shirt, jean skirt
Mary Anne: old jeans, sweat shirt
New characters:
Lindsey, Taylor, Madeleine and Ryan DeWitt (8, 6, 4 and 2): 29, 27, 25 and 23

Next week: I have to say I underestimated Tessie. Not only did she not pack up my copy of #62, she actually read it. So I guess it’s my turn to read it too.