Monday, January 27, 2014

“Most kids want to keep a dog or cat. All you want is a bed sheet.” BSC #13: Goodbye Stacey, Goodbye (1988)

So, Stacey’s dad’s company is closing the Stamford branch of their business and transferring him back to New York. It’s apparently too far to commute (despite the fact that Abby’s mom does it later on), so they’re moving back to NYC. Stacey’s all conflicted; on one hand, she’s happy to be going back to The City, but on the other hand, she’s leaving behind Claudia, the club, Charlotte and a lot of other positives.

The BSC helps out by throwing the McGills’ yard sale and then using the proceeds to throw a large going-away party for Stacey…and inviting all their sitting charges.

Interesting Tidbits

I’ve never understood Ann M. Martin and her editors’ obsession with hyphens in words. Why is it baby-sitter? Also, why does good-bye have a hyphen on the cover?

That said, I always get the cover of this one confused with the cover of #28, which is basically the same thing happening in reverse. Same station wagon, awesomely colored harvest gold. (My friend Tracey’s parents used to have one just like it, only it was maroon with wood paneling. Like Stacey, Tracey moved away on me. Unlike Stacey, we did not make Tracey a banner.) This IS the one with the banner, though. It’s rather sloppily made and not up to usual BSC banner standards.

First mention of the Kristy uniform! Also, Kristy wears the visor for what I think is the first time ever.

Stacey wonders if her grandfather is sick. I remember a mention of her various aunts, uncles and cousins, but not grandparents. Most of these girls really don’t seem to have relatives unless it serves a storyline purpose. There’s Nannie, of course, and all of Kristy’s other relatives from the wedding. And Mimi and Peaches and Russ. Jessi has lots of close-knit relatives (including Aunt Cecelia). There’s Mal’s Uncle Joe, Dawn’s Granny and Pop-Pop and Mary Anne’s Grandma. Abby’s got a few relatives, too. Actually, I guess Stacey’s just about the only one without relatives most of the time. Never mind.

Stacey’s parents are trying to get her excited about the idea of moving back to NYC, so they basically bribe her with stuff like a larger apartment and tickets to “shows.” Stacey, for her part, is hoping that her parents will let her get charge cards. That…sounds like her.

Kids in books and on television are always suggesting that they stay in one place when their family moves away, by staying with a friend’s family. Stacey and Claudia suggest it here, and Brenda and Kelly suggest it on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. They even actually do it on Glee (Sam moves in with Kurt and Finn.) I can’t even imagine suggesting this in real life because who would want to take on the legal, financial and parenting responsibilities of someone else’s kid?

Stacey actually thinks she will miss Kristy’s gross lunch comments after she leaves. I think that’s stretching things just a little too far.

The day Stacey and Claudia met, they pretty much ran into each other. They were both wearing off-the-shoulder (there’s those hyphens again) sweat shirts. I’ve always wondered about that. Flashdance, anyone? Do you wear something underneath, or just let your bra hang out?

Dawn is trying to be cool by wearing one earring. Keep trying, sweetie.

Oooh, Sharon’s being messy! There’s a can of creamed spinach on the couch and a doormat and screwdriver on the living room floor.

Mary Anne is spelled as Mary Ann at one point.

This cracked me up. Stacey’s mom can’t close a carton of books, so Stacey flings herself on top of it like it was a suitcase that wouldn’t zip.

Claudia spelling! Secrit, spys, Jordin, Byran, reglar, Malary, becuase, nieghbers, poeple, strang. (Can you tell it’s a job at the Pikes’?) Also, to for too, its for it’s, and there for they’re.

Ooh, another mistake. The Pikes are playing SAs (I always loved playing spy as a kid, too) and Claudia is hunting in the back yard, trying to find all the kids. She finds Claire and Margo behind a bush, for example. Jordan is up in the elm tree, while Adam and Byron are in the ash tree. Later, she says that Adam and Jordan in the ash tree can see into the neighbor’s bedroom window.

Mallory’s concerned about her brothers’ “inversion of privacy” of the neighbors, since they’re trespassing and setting up a tape recorder. Nicky records from the tree and only catches one thing: the neighbors saying they’re going to have ‘courgettes’ for dinner. Nicky suggests this means children, causing a Pike family panic (until Mal looks it up and learns it’s zucchini.)

Mistake #3! During the panic, someone refers to the neighbor’s accent: “‘That sounds like a regular old French accent,’ I said, but nobody heard me.” That’s probably because Stacey wasn’t actually there. Just Claudia and Mallory.

I don’t believe that people in California don’t have yard sales. That doesn’t sound right. I’m sure that someone, somewhere, in the history of the state of California, has had a yard sale.

This line is appropriate: “Kristy liked Boo-boo much better asleep than awake.” Boo-boo always reminds me of an extremely fat cat I used to know named Satan (yup.) He would sit on top of the fridge at my friend’s cousin’s house and swipe his claws at anyone who tried to open the fridge door.

Poor Mrs. Porter. She’s so lonely and desperate that she actually invites Kristy and seven bratty kids over to have lemonade with her. You’ve got to wonder if she knows about all the Morbidda Destiny stories. She cackles and winks at Kristy, so it’s almost as if she heard that Karen thinks she’s trying to get them to drink “witch potions.”

If you were moving to New York, supposedly never to move back to town again, would you want a going away party full of babysitting charges? Yeah. I didn’t think so.

Pun time! The BSC gets a special cake just for Stacey that is something she can eat because it’s sugar free. She replies, “That’s so sweet!”

“Good lick Stasy. Have fun in New Yurk.” It’s not Claudia spelling; it’s Margo.

Anastasia Elizabeth McGill and Dawn Read Schafer. ‘Nuff said.

The title quote is what Stacey’s dad says in response to the banner the BSC hangs on the house.

One last Claudia spelling. She writes Stacey a letter for the car ride that she hopes will keep her “amuzed.” Other spelling: wirth, freind (repeatedly), couldnt .

Wow, this is a short entry. Not too much snark involved. Sorry.


Kristy: jeans, turtleneck, sweater; jeans and blue sweatshirt; jeans, blue turtleneck, blue and white striped sweater

MA: oversized sweatshirt, jean skirt; navy minidress, pink sash, blue tights, black ballet flats

Stacey: blue stretch pants, white sweatshirt with stars and sequins; jeans and old gray sweatshirt

Claudia: purple and white striped body suit, gray “jumper-thing” (way to be specific), purple push-down socks, black ballet slippers; purple belt with telephone buckle (I would have LOVED to wear this outfit when I was a kid.)

Dawn: short kilt, large red sweater, red socks, yellow tights, red beret (I HAD this outfit when I was a kid, minus the beret.)

Next week: We skip forward ahead a little bit to #20, Kristy and the Walking Disaster, and the introduction of Kristy’s sorta-boyfriend, Bart.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

“We are babysitters, not magical, flying boys.” BSC #12: Claudia and the New Girl (1988)

Why did I hate this one so much as a kid? I don’t think I ever made it past chapter five before. It’s really not so awful. Anyhoo, Claudia meets the titular new girl, Ashley Wyeth, who thinks art isn’t just a hobby—it’s a way of life! She compliments Claudia as an artist and Claud starts skipping BSC meetings and get even farther behind on her homework than normal. The BSC members, backing up what I said last week about them being a clique, get mad at her and behave in ways that seem out of character for them but that are realistic for thirteen year olds. Claudia tells Ashley she likes to live “big” and not have a narrow focus on her art. She gets an honorable mention in an art show for a half-finished sculpture of Jackie Rodowsky and seems to think she can keep Ashley as a friend (although I don’t think she’s mentioned again until book #85.)

Interesting tidbits

The Cover. I capitalized Cover because, the tag on the photo, it says Claudia might give up on the Club—and it’s all the new girl’s fault! I realize Club is capitalized in the name of the BSC, but when it’s by itself, I don’t think it deserves capitalization. This scene almost sorta happens in the book. (That’s Archie Rodowsky with the girls.) Also, regarding Ashley’s outfit…I went through a phase where I wanted to dress like that, but couldn’t afford to.


Aww, the book is dedicated to the readers! I feel loved!

Heh. I kinda like this part. Claudia’s not paying attention in English class. First she wonders about a fly, and then about fly family reunions. Her teacher catches her not paying attention, and Claudia says she feels powerful because she seems to have the power to ruin her teacher’s day.

Speaking of English class, it is full of Newbery winners—my favorites! Claudia said she read Sarah, Plain and Tall (which, it should be noted, is probably at a second grade reading level). Claudia hasn’t been keeping up with the reading because they’re discussing The Westing Game and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Honestly, she should LOVE those books! They’re mysteries, and excellent ones to boot.

Does Claudia ever spend time in the ‘resource room’ in other books? In my high school (and in most of the ones I’ve worked in) ‘resource room’ was code for ‘special education assistance.’

Mimi says the second she met her husband, she knew she would marry him. That’s really sweet.

Holy crap, there are a lot of outfits so far. I do find it sort of odd that Claudia and Ashley get dressed up to go to art class and sculpt, which tends to be a messy endeavor.

I can’t decide what’s so funny about Claudia psychoanalyzing people based upon their art portfolios, but I definitely see some humor in it. Maybe because it’s a complete counterpoint to the fact that she’s in remedial math and thinks pharaoh is spelled farrow?

Claudia makes fun of Archie’s name. Nice. Then she accidentally makes Shea cry. I want her to come babysit at my house!

More Kristy lunchtime grossness: apparently, this day’s school lunch looks like a squirrel that got run over. (Claudia refers to the lunches as revolt-o. I am going to start referring to all disgusting things by that term.)

I can almost understand Stacey getting jealous of Claudia spending all her time with Ashley. It’s very age-appropriate to worry that your best friend could get stolen by someone else, especially given that Stacey’s only lived in town for a year and kinda gave up all her other friends in favor of the BSC.

Myriah is six in this book. Later, she goes back to being five, which she remains for the rest of the books.

The Perkins girls have stuffed animals named Mrs. Xerox and Mrs. Refrigerator, which they have covered in makeup. Dawn has to drag the two of them—also covered in makeup—out to the elementary school because Jeff got in trouble. Myriah offers to give both Jeff’s teacher and Jeff himself makeovers while they are at the school.

Ashley decides to sculpt an inanimate object, which she explains to Claudia is something “not alive.” Claudia assumes this means she’ll sculpt dead things, which makes me think of animal carcass artwork…which I’ve seen before. (Really not attractive looking or smelling.) Instead she sculpts a ‘noble’ fire hydrant that wins first place.

Claudia doesn’t seem to be too astute. She can’t figure out her friends are mad at her, despite the fact that she’s stopped sitting with them at lunch and has missed 2 and ½ club meetings—until they start leaving her passive-aggressive notes all over her bedroom. And in the club notebook.

Stacey keeps making fun of Ashley’s bell-bottom jeans. As if they’re any worse than 99% of what Stacey wears. But then she cries over Claudia ditching her. Again, age-appropriate and semi-realistic, as is the passive-agressiveness.

The opening quote is something Kristy says—appropriate, given she’s the one to play Peter Pan later on. Mary Anne cries in sympathy to Stacey’s tears, then can’t stop crying. The others start suggesting happy thoughts for her to pull it together, which leads to the Peter Pan reference.

You know Dawn is mad at Claudia for missing meetings, not just because she makes up a childishly mean song about her, but because she volunteers to help eat all of Claud’s junk food.

I had to look up how to short sheet a bed. Despite the fact that it shows up all the time in books, I’ve never done it or had it done to me.

Finally! It’s a flippin’ Claudia book and we made it to chapter 13 without having any of her awesome misspellings (other than farrow.) Freinds, Aslhey (really?), explian, apologise, aplogise, (in the next sentence after the last one, too!), speling (ironic), abot, Ballons, Wrinkel, carfuly, scupture (twice), sclupture. She also spells her art teacher’s name, Baehr, as Bear, which is logical.

Best moment of the whole book: Claudia calls to talk to Kristy and Karen answers. She starts blathering on about old Ben Brewer and Boo-Boo and ghost hypnosis. (I am NOT kidding. I wish I were.) Instead of listening to her, Claudia totally cuts her off.

More real Newbery winners: The Twenty-One Balloons, which I think I’ve read but can’t remember the plot of, and A Wrinkle in Time, an Ann M. Martin favorite, which Claudia actually enjoys.

Claudia makes friends with the BSC again by writing a really lame poem that makes Mary Anne cry. (There’s a shocker, right?) Stacey (again, when did she get to be funny? They must have dropped that in the later books) says, “Lunatics!...we have a club full of fools.”

How does Kristy not know what a mentor is when Ashley says she’s Claudia’s art mentor, yet she knows what apoplexy is?

Mistake! One of the BSC’s classmates is named Mari Drabek. She’s mentioned in several other books. This might be her first appearance; I’m not sure. In any case, when they say that she got third prize, her name is spelled Mary.

Outfits! Lots! Sorta!

Ashley: hiking boots, long pink-flowered skirt, loose blouse embroidered with flowers, silver bangles, braided hair not held in place by anything, six different earrings; puffy white blouse, long blue-jean skirt, hiking boots, beaded bracelets, denim headband; petticoat and work boots; bell-bottoms; long dress with ruffles at the bottom; long knitted vest over a long shirt and a long skirt that all clash

Claudia: short pink cotton dress, white tights, ballet slippers, side ponytail, palm tree earrings
New Characters
Shea and Archie Rodowsky (9 and 4)--35 and 30

Next week: We say au revoir Anastasia in #13 Goodbye, Stacey, Goodbye

P.S.: For those following my fanfiction, The Boys of Summer should be posted in its entirety by the end of the month! I’m already in the planning stages of my next work within the same universe.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

“I was turning into a wonderful Mary Anne puddle.” BSC #10: Logan Likes Mary Anne (1988)

I would like to interrupt my regularly scheduled snark to bring you a link my sister shared with me on Facebook this weekend. I have nothing to do with it, but I absolutely love it:

Now, where were we? The title of this one makes the plot fairly obvious. Logan likes Mary Anne. He’s a new boy in town, from the South, and he’s a babysitter! Wow! Even more exclamation-pointy (not a phrase, but not going to stop me from using it) is the fact that Mary Anne likes him at least as much as he likes her!! They go on a sitting job together, but meetings are too awkward, so they invent the position of associate member for him.

Meanwhile, he actually gets Mary Anne to go to a dance, where she hots herself up in an extremely memorable fashion and accidentally tosses a shoe. Then she runs out of her own birthday party and gets a cat. This was one of my absolute favorites as a kid, despite how stupid this brief summary makes it sound.

Interesting tidbits

Let’s get this out of the way. For the longest time, I had a crush on Logan as he’s shown on the cover here. I think a lot of readers did.


Also, Jackie Rodowsky totally looks like a girl…and like he’s got as big of a crush on Logan as Mary Anne does.

Wisdom on boys from MA: “Obviously, with a boy, you can’t talk about bras or cute guys you see on TV.” Honestly, I’d think thirteen year old boys would like hearing about girls’ bras. And you never know…you might find a really good guy friend who likes hearing about cute guys on television. (*cough* Ducky *cough*)

First day of school, and Mary Anne is already bitching about gym class. This must be because Mallory hasn’t joined the club yet. She also complains about smelling like gym all day long because she has it in the morning. A) Better than having it right after lunch, like I did in eighth grade. One girl vomited during wind sprints one day. B) Take a shower, then!

Mary Anne suggests that Claudia and Stacey used to sit with a different group of kids during seventh grade lunch because Kristy is immature and likes to talk about how disgusting the lunches are. Mushroom and cream sauce resembles glue; macaroni and cheese smells like steamed rubber in Turtle Wax. You’d think sitting with a bunch of boys would mean more of that, not less.

That said, the joining of all the older babysitters into one lunch table officially makes this the book where the BSC becomes a clique, who must do everything together, have all the same friends and have all the same opinions.

You’d think Kristy’s mom would get in trouble for doing all the BSC’s copying for them on her work copier…something they acknowledge in an off-hand way by suggesting they should pay her.

Here’s what I always wondered when I was a kid. Did Logan actually do a lot of babysitting back in Louisville, or does he just make that up as an excuse to go sit with the BSC? I mean, he tells stories about sitting, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t just get roped into a few jobs here or there.

How exactly does MA wear hoop earrings? (She’s also wearing earrings on the cover of the book.) Maybe this is before it was decided that she didn’t have pierced ears.

The first appearance of the Ohdners! (Allegedly. Didn’t they show up in an earlier story? I’m going to have to go back and double check…)

Mrs. Rodowsky is named Mariel, and she wants Logan and Mary Anne to call her by her first name.

I’d forgotten about this part, but once I started reading it, I remembered it clear as day. Logan sees a picture on the wall—a piece of artwork Jackie did that his parents framed. It’s a pretty standard kiddy picture of a house. Logan’s like, “We have the same one in my house. I thought it was the original.”

Claudia spelling time! Hav, nise, siting (sitting), Gabie, comuty (community), droped, broght. She also uses bake for back.

I might have mentioned before that, when I read these books as a kid, I’d never seen Star Wars. I totally did not get the name Chewbacca or how appropriate it was for that dog.

I’m not usually much of one for shaggy dog stories, but there’s definitely some humor to Chewy (who got loose from Claudia and ran amok through the neighborhood) stealing traffic cone after traffic cone.

Okay, gang, let’s re-wind. (Sorry. Total Ghostwriter flashback.) Shy, quiet Charlotte Johanssen is seriously suggesting that shy, quiet Mary Anne would like a surprise party? Does she have no empathy?

I’ve always had a hard time believing that Richard, who less than a year ago was a total parenting hard ass, would agree to let Mary Anne go on a date with a boy he’d never met. I even thought that when I was ten….

Oh, heck yes! When I think of BSC fashion, I think of two things. One is the awesome outfit Claudia wore back in #2 that had clocks all over the tights. The second one is Mary Anne’s dance outfit, described in full below. Just say the words “skirt with cities on it” to any BSC fan and they know exactly what you’re talking about.

I also have a hard time believing this one: Kristy says that all the girls should all go to Mary Anne’s to help her get ready for the dance. In the later books, if that has to happen, they let the answering machine get the calls, but this is 1988. Instead (and this is the part I have a hard time with) she pays Janine a couple dollars to answer the phone. A) Kristy is okay with this from a business perspective? B) Stacey is okay with that from a financial perspective? C) Claudia is okay with that from a sisterly perspective? And biggest of all D) Why would Janine agree to that? (I keep typing okay is oaky, which spell check tells me is actually a word.)

Dawn, spending the night at Kristy’s? I’m surprised Kristy actually called Dawn. I know MA was busy, but were Claudia and Stacey busy too? (Sorry, that’s actually kind of mean. But I think this is one of few times that we actually see just these two interacting.)

Okay, anyone here think that they need to explain how the game Memory is played? Does anyone in the universe NOT know how to play Memory? Raise your hand and I’ll stop. (I remember playing TONS of Memory when I was really super young, because it was one game all three of us kids could play together.)

Aww, foreshadowing to #11 and the death of Louie. Legitimately sad.

Logan likes Meatballs. And spends nearly ten minutes explaining the plot of it to Mary Anne. Does he maybe have Asperger’s too? (All the Aspies I know—myself included—can give you way more details on their favorite topics than you’d ever want to know.)

I don’t know why I found this humorous: When Mary Anne tries to convince her dad to let her get a cat, he asks what they would do if they went on vacation. She says, “Get Mallory Pike to come over and feed it?” Now, she could have said Claudia, or been vague and said a neighbor, but she singles Mallory out. Mallory Pike, Cat Sitter.

Dawn ate birthday cake! Shocking! (Of course, she then complains that about the sugar in it.)


Dawn: hot pink shorts, white tank top, island print shirt (MA says it is “snappy”); green and white sweater, stretchy green pants

Mary Anne: bright vest over white blouse; white skirt with city names and sketches of landmarks on it in pink and blue; pink shirt and sweater; white shoes with matching pink and blue

Claudia: tight black pants; white shirt with BEPOP on it; floppy blue bow in her hair

Stacey: white t-shirt, hot pink jumpsuit

Kristy: white turtleneck, pink sweater (Kristy in pink = wrong), jeans

New characters

The Ohdners, no names or ages, but they have two girls

Jackie Rodowsky (seven)—33

Logan Bruno (thirteen)—39

The Morgans, no names or ages, but they have four boys

Next week: is going to be like pulling teeth. I don’t think I’ve EVER managed to read the entire book for next week’s story. I may have to break it up in to three chapter segments (instead of my usual five chapter segments) but I will finish #12 Claudia and the New Girl. It will happen.

Monday, January 6, 2014

“I bet his idea of an amusing afternoon is balancing his checkbook.” BSC #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House (1988)

As I stated in one of the comments on an earlier post, I didn’t hate this one as much as I expected to do. I think I had just overdosed on the books the last time I read it, as I had literally blogged the first eight of them in two weeks. So, while I don’t give it two thumbs up, it doesn’t get the two thumbs way down it did the last time I tried to read it.

Dawn is convinced there must be a secret passageway in her house (for unexplained reasons.) The BSC all hunt for one but have no luck, but a short time later, Dawn literally falls into a passage between her bedroom and the barn. She convinces herself there’s a ghost living in it (because, likely.)

Meanwhile, Nicky Pike’s allowed to wander freely as long as he stays within two blocks of his house. The BSC decides to hunt him down anyway and discovers he’s the reason that things keep turning up in the secret passage, rather than a ghost. (Although Dawn still believes in the ghost. Because she’s that special.)

Interesting Tidbits

The cover: the passage goes from under the barn up into the house, so why does the passage on the cover lead up? (Dawn’s actually cute here though…I used to have a shirt just like hers.)

You’d think that since Dawn and Jeff’s dad is on the other side of the country and they don’t get to see him often, they’d spend more than two weeks of their summer with him. Especially since they haven’t seen him since January and they aren’t old enough for jobs to get in the way.

Dawn watched European Vacation on the plane to California.

Oh, so this is the book where Claudia’s hollow book first shows up! I always wanted one of those when I was a kid.

I’d forgotten how the plots in these early books flowed from one book into another.#8 features, among the other Pike-related plots, the introduction of the idea that Nicky doesn’t feel like he fits into his family because the triplets don’t want to play with him and everyone else is a girl. This, of course, is a major plot point in this book. (They tried that again leading up to a couple of the super specials later on in the series, but it wasn’t nearly as effective.)

I’m looking forward to recording all the stupid places Sharon puts stuff in this one. Chapter two starts us off well: hedge clippers in the living room and glasses in the butter dish. (Since when does Sharon wear glasses anyway?)

Somehow, I doubt Mary Anne would actually be interested in searching for a secret passage, especially since she finds the idea scary. (Sure enough, she’s actually scared of everything later.)

Even stranger, I can’t picture Stacey being scared of searching for a secret passage. Or storms. Or whatever. Isn’t she supposed to be all New York sophisticated?

Knowing that the Perkinses are real, it always annoys me how perfect and precocious they’re portrayed. They’re multitalented, never fight, argue or have tantrums, and are adorable. It makes me want to vomit.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I use a bit that Mary Anne uses when sitting for the Perkinses. Gabbie draws a picture and MA doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be, so she says, “Tell me about it.” I use that one on my niece and nephew all the time, because my nephew’s still in that scribbling stage where his whole picture is done in one macaroni-and-cheese colored crayon and is a blob. (My niece is six. Her pictures actually look like something, but I’ve still been wrong about them before.)

Dawn and I have something in common: the fear of a kid getting kidnapped.

Real book: The Tailor of Gloucester, by Beatrix Potter.

I love how Dawn finds a secret passage and automatically assumes the house must be haunted because of it.

Ever notice how often Watson and Elizabeth go out on the town when Karen and Andrew are visiting? I guess they can only take Karen in bite-sized morsels too.

Old Ben Brewer. Yawn…Why does Kristy a) let Karen tell crazy ghost stories when the kids are already worked up and b) let Karen scare HER with same crazy ghost stories? I can buy Andrew and even DM getting worked up over them, but Kristy’s about thirteen. She should not be scared by stories told by obnoxious six year olds.

Dawn and Jeff eat in front of the TV—a rerun of All in the Family, which they to hate. (I didn’t ‘get’ the show as a child, but I love it now). Neither one of them is sure why they’re watching it.

I love the conversation between Dawn and Jeff about ice cream cones when she finally shows him the secret passage. She’s like, “Remember when Dad took us to Dairy Queen that one time?” They don’t realize there are different kinds of cones because they don’t eat ice cream, so they assume the cone they found must be really old (or at least, old fashioned.) I know ice cream cones aren’t exactly “natural” but they would biodegrade. It’s not as if that cone could be there for 100 years. And I’m pretty sure ghosts don’t eat, so how does Dawn think it got there?

I love that Jeff, who is three and a half years younger than Dawn (nearly ten), keeps trying to talk her out of the idea that the passage is haunted. Like she’s six or something.

Enter the Trip-Man. I’d forgotten that he got that nickname because Dawn joked that’s what his friends call him. (The title quote is something else she says about him.)

Dawn manages to freak Jeff out and they stack furniture in front of the door to the passage. You know it’s really sad when Sharon of the glasses in the butter dish has to be the voice of reason. (Not only that, she points out that ghosts can supposedly float through walls—and furniture.)

A+ for consistency…whenever olden-days Stoneybrook comes up, it is always spelled Stoneybrooke.

One of the characters in the Jared Mullray legend is Mathias Bradford. This is actually clever, as we all know that Claudia (and at this point, Mary Anne) live on Bradford Ct.

Claudia spelling: th for the (seriously? She can’t even claim that’s a tyop…) nigt, siting (sitting), thats, porgram. She also uses diner for dinner, but this is my favorite line: “lucy [sic] was an angle.” Yes, but is she acute or obtuse?

Even funnier: Mrs. Newton spells to Claudia. I’m surprised Claudia was able to understand.

For some reason, Jamie wears pyjamas rather than pajamas. (I double checked. This is not a British edition.)

Jamie’s full name is James Anderson Newton, as we learn when Claudia gets very upset with him.

Ooh, foreshadowing! Mary Anne thinks a guy in a magazine is cute! And yes, ladies (and gentlemen, if any are reading), it’s your favorite hunk you’ve never seen…Cam Geary!

I have no idea why, but that reminds me of a line from one of the other books. I can’t remember which one it is, but it’s either a Mary Anne or a Dawn. They’re talking about names for some reason, and Dawn says, “For the longest time, I thought Logan Bruno was strange name.” Anyone know which book that is?!

Dawn calls Mary Anne a dope. After she (Dawn) scared the crap out of her (MA) in the secret passage.

You know Vanessa’s upset because she forgot to rhyme her words.

I like this: occasionally, Dawn can’t tell the triplets apart. She says things like “said one of the triplets.” If she’s only known them for a few months, babysitting them here or there, it would make sense that they’d occasionally blend together.

You’d think smorgasbord at the Pikes=gross food time, but they disappoint. Adam and Jordan have fried baloney while Byron eats fried PBJ and Nicky eats a potato chip and banana sandwich.

Someone needs to explain to Nicky that going into the Schafers’ barn—and the secret passage—without permission is trespassing.

This must have been before the map of Stoneybrook was created, because Dawn lives two blocks away from the Pikes.

The BSC is going to watch movies, and they all suggest REAL ones! I love it! Ghostbusters (Kristy), Sixteen Candles (Mary Anne), The Parent Trap (Dawn), Star Wars (Claudia) and Mary Poppins (Stacey). Dawn and Stacey are both already established as loving their choices, although it would have been funny for Dawn (the ghost fanatic) to want to watch Ghostbusters.

Wait a minute. Since when is Stacey funny? Stacey: “They’re the ones who are going to get pimples.” Dawn: “Let’s get them.” Stacey: “Pimples?”

There just was not enough of Sharon leaving stuff in random spots for my taste in this book.

La-la-la. Happy ending!

New Characters:

Myriah and Gabbie Perkins (5 and 2)—31 and

Next week: We get to meet Mary Anne’s lovah boy (why don’t these girls talk like New Englanders?! Their parents should be pahking cahs and whatnot. And I can say that because my relatives in Rhode Island—just a few hours from Stamford—talk that way), in #10, Logan Likes Mary Anne