Monday, February 24, 2014

“But if you spit anything across the table at me—I’ll make you sit in the high chair.” BSC #25 Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger (1989)

In case you couldn’t tell by the informative title, Mary Anne’s kitten has disappeared. The BSC has emergency meetings, put up flyers and search all over the neighborhood. They get a ransom demand from a little kid who has no idea where Tigger really is.

Meanwhile, Logan’s been distant and crabby. When Mary Anne discovers that his sister Kerry, lonely because she hasn’t made friends yet, was hiding Tigger in her closet, she accuses him of knowing about it. But it turns out he’s just a crappy ball player and that’s why he’s been such an ass recently. He and Mary Anne make up and Tigger is safe, so happy ending.

Interesting Tidbits

I’ve always wondered about why MA’s cat is named Tigger. Did AMM have a cat named that as a girl? And more importantly, did they have problems with Disney for using the name?

The cover. First, Logan’s never looked more like Zack Morris than in this shot. Also, check out his awesomely 80’s high tops. Speaking of awesome, Mary Anne’s outfit is the best. Grossly oversized sweatshirt, spandex pants with tubular 80’s design down the side tucked into her socks. Makes me almost glad this is sorta coming back into fashion. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am being as sarcastic as I know how with this statement.) This is also the first cover where Mary Anne has two pigtails, something that becomes her trademark for a while.

Also, the boy on the cover looks totally bored. He’s like, “Forget this. I’m gonna go play some Nintendo.”

Ha! Mary Anne describes Claudia’s room as a ‘rat hole.’ Accurate, but not as nice as MA usually is.

I love that Mary Anne knows she could take Logan inside her house, even though it’s against her father’s rules, because he’d never know, but she won’t. She can’t bring herself to break the rules. We all know someone like that…some of us (ahem) are that person.

Aww, MA also wonders what Logan possibly sees in her that makes him like her. Get that girl some self-esteem.

Real book: Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. I guess she finished reading A Wrinkle in Time.

Bruno family description time: Logan and Hunter have the same curly, dark-blonde hair, but Hunter looks like Mr. Bruno, while Logan and Kerry look like Mrs. Bruno. Kerry’s hair is straight, thick and lighter blonde.

Kerry calls Hunter Huntie, which just makes me laugh.

Hunter’s list of allergies is pretty long, and his room is bare of toys and anything else that could collect dust. I remember my cousin’s bedroom used to look like that when we were kids. He outgrew all his allergies, and we were joking some time back that I grew into mine. (Mine are nearly as extensive as Hunter’s.)

Of course, when you have a missing kitten, there’s only one thing to do: call an emergency BSC meeting!

Ooh, a thirty dollar reward for the return of your cat. If someone stole him, that’s bound to make them return him! (Here goes the sarcasm again.)

Why is Jessi giving Squirt whole grapes? You’re supposed to cut them at least in half so they’re less likely to make him choke. Bad babysitter! (The title quote is what Jessi says to Becca after Squirt spits a grape right at her.)

Wait…what? We’re given the red herring that maybe Charlotte took Tigger because she loves him. (She was playing with him earlier in the story.) Becca says Charlotte wishes Tigger were hers, and Jessi says that Charlotte doesn’t have any pets. But in the very first sitting job with Charlotte, Stacey freaks out because the lights go out and she keeps hearing noises, but it’s just Carrot, the schnauzer. And I know Carrot is around later, so he’s not like the Pike family cat who is never seen or heard from again.

Aww, Squirt needs to stop being cute. First he fake sneezes, and then he poses like a muscle man.

More real books: Baby Island, which Jessi reads with Becca, and Sounder, which Jessi reads by herself.

Mallory is running down the street throwing Tigger’s missing flyer into mailboxes and MA asks if she’s in training for the “poster Olympics.”

Mary Anne is supervising Jamie, Myriah and Gabbie as they search for Tigger. She’s concerned that one of them will find him…dead. But she’s worried because she doesn’t want him to be dead, not because of the trauma to a 2, 4 or 5 year old at being the one to find a dead cat.

Ha! I’d forgotten about the ransom attempt! Some kid who MA talked to when putting up the Tigger flyers sends a ransom demand for $100. She takes it seriously despite the fact that the handwriting looks like a kid’s. She briefly considers telling her dad, but then changes her mind because she thinks he won’t let her pay the ransom. Honey, even the FBI suggests you don’t pay ransoms without proof of life.

A disturbing but surprisingly accurate sentence: “Kristy loves emergencies.”

Heh: Logan: “Mary Anne, you’re acting like such a girl.” Mary Anne: “I am a girl.”

Logan’s the first one to suggest a kid wrote the ransom note; he’s also the one to come up with the ‘plan’ of stuffing an envelope with Monopoly money and putting it out for the alleged catnapper so they can catch him (or, as Dawn points out, her) in the act. (Of course, this actually works, but the kid doesn’t actually have Tigger or know where he is.)

They actually reschedule Shannon to cover a sitting job so they can all be there to bust the ransom artist.

This book is just full of stupidly quotable moments. From Dawn’s notebook entry in which she muses about the gossip chain in small-town life: “The California town I lived in is bigger than Stoneybrook, so it’s not like the entire neighborhood knows each time you take a bath.”

Sharon-ism: She’s apt to put socks in the bread drawer.

I don’t know why this is so funny to me. While Dawn is babysitting Buddy and Suzi, they lock Pow away in a box so he can’t get ‘basset-napped.’ Buddy starts describing a pet-napping ring…which actually happens in one of my favorite mysteries, #7 (Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs, or it is known among my circle, The Mallory Book.) Dawn keeps insisting that the Barretts don’t need to worry about dog-nappers (or basset-nappers, or Pow-nappers.)

Dawn reads Millions of Cats to Suzi. Very apropos.

Mmmm, fish eyes and glue…aka, tapioca pudding. Anyone hungry?

Logan threatens to make a citizen’s arrest on the boy who sent the ransom note, telling him he committed a felony.

Claudia spelling time: She’s babbysitting again (this time, for Maria and Gabie/Gabby Perkin and Jami). Other spelling: dective (detective), invinted (invited), thoght. She uses their for they’re and there for their, threw for through. The funniest part is that when the kids are playing detective games, Gabbie keeps calling detectives defectives. Claud makes sure to spell that very carefully so that the others can understand—and she gets it right all three times she uses it!

It’s a good thing this was before Abby’s time: for years, Claudia thought Elvis was Elbow Presley.

Myriah and Gabbie Perkins: Pet Detectives. Coming soon to (no) theater near you!

What has Myriah been watching that she thinks a lot of ‘private eyes’ live in Hawaii? Even in 1989, I don’t think five year olds were interested in reruns of Magnum.

MA is sitting for Hunter because he’s too allergy-riffic to go to the dentist. (Mrs. Bruno says he’d probably sneeze and bite the dentist.) His sneezing is worse, and he reveals that he knows that Kerry is hiding Tigger in her closet.

“Kerry is a champion sneak. She could hide a whale in the house and we’d never notice him.” “Not until you smelled him.”

Claudia suggests MA is overprotecting Tigger like her dad used to treat her. MA jokingly replies that Tigger may not date until he’s 16 and isn’t allowed to get his ears pierced.

Final thought for the book: I just love when the books I get at the thrift stores are the original ones from when the stories were first published. Even though the cover on this one looks like crap and the book is almost moldy, there’s some appeal by having the original sweepstakes and stuff in it. Apparently, there was a ‘Who’s your favorite babysitter contest,’ which Stacey overwhelmingly won. Claudia came in second, followed by Dawn, Mary Anne and Kristy (who only had 1/4th of the votes Stacey did!)


Claudia: blouse with a coat of arms, short black skirt, scarf as a belt, short black boots, dinosaur earrings (which go soooo well with the rest of that outfit) and a seashell hair clip (ditto)

New characters:

Kerry and Hunter Bruno (9 and 5)—34 and 30

Next week: We mourn the loss of Mimi in Claudia and the Sad Goodbye.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

“I’m eating slowly, okay?” BSC#24 Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise (1989)

Guess which holiday this one covers? Several things are going on. For starters, the BSC puts together an outing for their clients the day before Mother’s Day so that the moms can have a day off. Stacey (who has no life, I guess?) comes to hang out in Stoneybrook just so she can help with the event. They take twenty-one kids to a carnival.

Meanwhile, two other Mom-related things are going on. Mary Anne’s all kindsa sad briefly on-and-off through the book because she has no mom. And Elizabeth keeps talking about babies and being mushy and weird. She and Watson adopt a Vietnamese toddler and name her Emily Michelle. And suddenly--because we all know that having a kid solves all your family problems--the Brewer-Thomases feel like a family and all is well.

Interesting Tidbits

Before I even start this one, this is something I was thinking about at work today. (You now have a vague idea of how boring my job is—I think about the BSC during work.) Kristy takes the bus to school because she lives out of the boundaries for SMS. I’m fairly certain that the school she’s supposed to be going to is called Kelsey. But who actually goes there? All of Kristy neighbors appear to send their kids to either Stoneybrook Academy (Karen, Hannie, Linny) or Stoneybrook Day School (Shannon, Tiffany, Maria, Max, Amanda, Bill, Melody, Bart). And of course, Abby and Anna go to SMS. This turns out to actually be relevant, because Kristy mentions everyone in her neighborhood going to private school.

The cover: I’ve looked at this cover probably 100 times before for various reasons. And not until today did I ever notice that the boy on the right in the green striped shirt is playing with the girl in the skirt’s hair. What an odd choice, Hodges Soileau.


Oh no, I have to stop wearing layers. I’m dressing like Dawn!

I’ve always wondered about Kristy wearing a visor at meetings. She says she likes to look like she’s in charge. But the only people who ever see her at meetings are club members and maybe Claudia’s family. And they all know she’s president, so why? (That’s totally rhetorical, because it’s just a power trip on Kristy’s part.)

Claudia spelling: Jessi finds M&M’s in a box labeled ‘pastils and charcaols.’ (Interestingly enough, M&M’s are written as M and M’s in one spot, and then M & M’s two paragraphs later.)

Kristy’s so thoughtful. Everyone’s discussing at to get for Mother’s Day, and MA says she doesn’t have to worry about it. It gets all awkward and Kristy’s like…we don’t know what to say. “Sorry we have moms and you don’t?” Could have been worse. She could have actually said that to MA, not just thought it.

This book is hella full of ham-fisted foreshadowing. Karen and Andrew and DM are acting like brats at the dinner table. Even Sam is being bratty—he tells Karen her epidermis is showing, for cryin’ out loud—and Elizabeth and Watson are sitting there talking about how beautiful their family is and how lucky they are to have all these great kids. (Humorously, when Elizabeth asks how everyone would feel about another brother and sister, the older three are all for the idea of her getting preggo. I don’t know many high school kids who would welcome a baby into their family with open arms…if only because it’s proof that their parents are having sex.)

Best ending to a family dinner ever: Boo-boo comes in with a still-living mole he’d caught. My cats can’t even catch bugs for the most part. (Dobby thinks that if he meows at them enough, they’ll fall into his mouth. Or something.)

Aww, sad foreshadowing. Kristy notes that Mimi seems slower and older these days. Ultra mega sad face.

OMG…it’s the I’m Awesome necklace! It’s one of the moments in BSC fashion that I just never forget. Because we all know that if you have to tell people how awesome you are, you’re really not awesome at all. Sorry, Dawn. (BTW, I love the fact that Kristy wonders where she got it and then says, “Probably California.” Because apparently, that’s where the narcissists all live. The cool ones, anyway.)
BTW, found this. Dawn would probably like it:

Claudia spelling: Babbysat (yay, that one’s my favorite!) waht (twice), wher, discovred , printending (pretending ???, twice), circos, thight, glas, anser, probelms. She also uses there for their, bake for back and clone for clown. The last one is pretty funny; she says that Jamie was printending (still ???) to be a clone.

What’s with AMM and little kids messing up the lyrics to songs? I remember distinctly one book where I think it is Max Delaney who keeps singing my hysle cat instead of my high silk hat. In this one, DM keeps singing about iceboards instead of icebergs. That kind of makes sense. But Jamie is singing Home on the Range and gets most of the lyrics wrong. I can understand a kid not understanding a word or two in a song because I’ve done that myself. But Jamie’s silly lyrics make absolutely no sense.

Kristy’s mom cries when she gets her ‘surprise’ invitation. Kristy says it’s like she was watching Love Story or Brian’s Song on television. Seems needlessly specific. How many ten year olds in 1989 had seen either of those movies?

Jessi’s really super excited to meet Stacey…because she sleeps in her old bedroom. To me, that would be more freaky than anything else.

Ooh, more foreshadowing: Stacey’s excited to come to Stoneybrook because her parents have been arguing.

The meeting with Stacey in it is actually all awkward. Mal and Jessi don’t know how to act around Stacey; Stacey’s all wistful for living in Stoneybrook; Mimi comes wandering in, looking for a cow. (I did not make that last part up.) Finally, as a distraction, Kristy says, “I wonder what my mom will look like when she’s pregnant.” And Dawn replies, “Like she’s going to tip over.”

And we’re back to talking about how Claudia and Stacey met by running into eachother again. I like that version of events better than the one in last week’sbook. Although, at my middle school, it would have been more like, “Bitch, don’t be trying to copy me!” and then a cat fight because they were wearing the same outfit. Kristy even suggests they were mad at each other because each was trying to be the coolest.

Funny moment (to me): When they get to the carnival, Karen of course wants to go in the haunted house. It’s decided that Andrew, Archie, Suzi and Gabbie are too young to go in. Jenny opts out also, because the house is dirty. Last time I checked, she’s the same age as Andrew and Archie and Suzi’s actually older than she is. I guess Kristy (who didn’t want to invite Jenny and keeps saying EW in regards to her) just wanted to point out how prissy she is?

Mallory refuses to let Margo ride any of the rides because of her motion sickness. She finally relents and lets her on the merry-go-round. Margo repays her by barfing all over her shoes. (When they eat lunch, Kristy tells her to eat slowly. She says the title line about half an hour after everyone else is done eating.)

Poor Shea. Karen has a crush on him. Run, Shea, run!

Interesting. Mal knows a lot of songs that she uses to keep the kids focused on something. Many of them were ones we sang at Girl Scout camp, but quite a few didn’t seem like songs little kids would know. I always knew tons of kiddie songs growing up, and songs like “The Ants Go Marching” (which Mal starts with) always work best because you don’t have to know all the words, just the general gist. We used to use that one, “Herman the Worm” and “Found a Peanut” for that purpose. But “Hey-ho, Nobody Home”…I used to sing that whole series in a round with a bunch of seventh graders at camp, but I wouldn’t expect seven year olds to know it.

Claire’s Mother’s Day card says Happy Moths Day.

Mary Anne’s thirteen and she just thought of giving her dad a Mother’s Day present? You’d think some adult might have suggested that by now.

David Michael, after finding out about Emily Michelle: “But I guess a little sister will be okay. I mean, I’ve already got one, and she hasn’t killed me yet.”

Okay, here it comes. My rant.

I have two adopted cousins. One of them was adopted in much the same way EM would have been, in the same time frame. She was two years old and adopted from Korea in 1987. And my aunt and uncle paid thousands of dollars, were on a waiting list for things to clear up—legal issues, etc—for several years before they were able to adopt. And then they had to fly to Korea to claim her and spent several weeks there before even more legal red tape was sorted out.

Watson and Elizabeth have been married for less than a year. They never left the country—someone brought Emily to them. And while there are countries where you don’t have to go to pick the child up, you’d think they’d want to if they could. And even though they claim they’ve been trying to adopt for a while, they find out about Emily one day and get her the next. My aunt and uncle found out about my cousin and went to get her several months later.

Now Dawn’s in on the act of misheard song lyrics. She sings Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes” as “the girl with colitis goes by.” And while, according to a book I own, that is actually a commonly misheard lyric, how has Dawn ever heard of colitis?


Mallory: SMS sweatshirt, jeans with zippers on the legs (remember when those were cool?), gold hoop earrings

Jessi: jeans, leotard, gold hoop earrings that match Mal’s

Mary Anne: black and white checked skirt, matching hair bow, (no shirt I guess? Way to go Mary Anne!), necklace with her name spelled on it (and probably her number…after all, she’s shirtless!)

Dawn: dress, plaid high-top sneakers, I’m awesome necklace, four different sized hoop earrings

Claudia: dress, red tie, socks that were red, blue and purple, spider earrings; blue shirt, blue and black leopard print pants tied at the ankles, purple high-tops, mega accessories

Kristy: jeans, sneakers, turtleneck, sweater; jeans, collie hat, t-shirt with a picture of Beaver Cleaver on it (REALLY?), SHS sweatshirt

Stacey: pink jumpsuit, white t-shirt, jellies (for chasing kids around in? Bitch, please. Those things would chafe your feet raw. There’s a reason no one wears them anymore!)

New characters:

Emily Michelle Thomas Brewer (2)—27

Next week: #25 Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger, where we get to delve into the problems of a family we don’t get to see too much—Logan’s.

Monday, February 10, 2014

“We’re moving to Connecticut, Stacey, not the prairie.” BSC #0: The Summer Before (2010)

Okay, so obviously this is not book #0. But I didn’t want to mess up my system here.

As the brilliant title tells you, this is the story of the summer before the BSC started, leading straight into book #1 (I mean, they overlap.) Each girl has her own story, with Kristy, Claudia and Mary Anne’s combining in places and Stacey, who is still in NYC, is off on her own.

Kristy: Deals with her feelings about her dad being absent…and Watson being present. Hopes her dad will show up for her birthday

Mary Anne: Goes on her first baby-sitting jobs. Finds a box of her mother’s things in the attic and tries to learn as much as possible about her.

Claudia: Has a few dates with a boy named Frankie…whom Janine has a crush on. Feels distant from Kristy and MA.

Stacey: Deals with Laine. Moves to Stoneybrook.

Interesting Tidbits

They always describe Kristy as a slob, and yet, on her last day of sixth grade, she cleans her locker out—with actual cleaning supplies, not just by sweeping everything into the garbage can.

Kristy’s family has hoagies whenever Elizabeth and Watson go out. I love it. It actually sounds New England.

I kinda love Richard’s note to MA on the first day of summer vacation. I get that he wants her to check in any time she leaves the house, and it’s not too much to ask for her to do some laundry. But he also wants her to check in when she gets up in the morning (to make sure she didn’t die in her sleep, I guess?) Then he tells her to make sure to eat breakfast and lunch (because she might forget to eat?). And then he adds, “P.S. Have fun!” to the end of the note.

Mary Anne mentions American Girl dolls, bringing the stories into the present day. I don’t mind when they change money references or things like that, but this one feels off.

Janine: “School is my world, math feeds my soul.”

I can understand the Goldmans, who live next door to the Kishis, letting Janine and Claudia come over to swim every now and then. But can you imagine the liability of letting Claudia have a birthday party and invite a bunch of teens the Goldmans’ don’t know to come over?

Heh. Claudia muses over why it’s ‘Goldmans’ instead of ‘Goldmen.’

Claudia spelling: She is writing a ‘geust list’ for her birthday party. She has some boys and some ‘grils.’ (Most of the characters are familiar: Pete, Dorianne, Howie and Emily, but there is also Kurt, Darnell and Polly.

Stacey is eating meatless tofu sausage. I don’t remember her ever eating tofu before…

Mistake? Watson has an honor roll sticker on his car, and Kristy says Karen just finished kindergarten. But Karen is in kindergarten while Kristy’s in seventh grade, at least at the start. She gets skipped up a grade during that year.

Kristy says Watson has an enormous Charlie Brown head. Which I find more than a little hilarious and totally not the way I pictured Watson at all.

Kristy, Mary Anne and the Pikes play “tail trail,” which I have played many times but never called that. We usually played the geography version and made that awful old joke from Married…with Children. (“Alabamer…Daddy, R!”) It seems like a very stupid game to play with a bunch of kids too young to really spell, though.

Naked mole rat…someone’s been watching Kim Possible. (I've never even seen that, but I know what a naked mole rat is because of it.) It's the animal that wins the game of tail trail.

You can tell you’re on the east coast when they start advertising back to school sales in August. We always started school in mid-August in the Chicago suburbs and here in the Kansas City metro, the kids go back a week or two before that.

Mary Anne decides to hold a “Kristy Day” celebration in honor of Kristy. She starts listing people to invite and includes Jenny Prezzioso, although I’m fairly certain that in the original books, they don’t babysit for her until book number 4. Also, Jenny apparently adores Kristy, which is funny considering that Kristy tries to avoid sitting for her on a regular basis.

So far, two cars have been mentioned—the Kishis’ and Frankie’s parents—and they’re both station wagons. You’d think SUVs would be more realistic in 2010.

On moving day, Stacey asks if there are diners in Stoneybrook. (The title quote comes from this conversation.) Didn’t her parents take her to the town and show her around? I know I would have done that if I had a twelve year old. Show her what to expect a little bit. They apparently waited until the day they moved in to do that.

Stacey’s worried about bears in her backyard. Okay then, city girl.

I’m trying to figure out why Kristy’s the only one in her family to have a problem with her mom dating Watson. I figure, DM’s never had a dad, so he likes having a dad figure in Watson. And Sam and Charlie are older and a little more mature and have realized their dad’s never coming back. But Kristy’s old enough to remember her dad and young enough (and hopeful enough) to wish that he’d come back into her life. She keeps imagining her dad will show up for her birthday. And of course he doesn’t.

Isn’t it convenient that no one showed up to Kristy’s fifth birthday party and the same thing happened at one of Claudia’s birthdays? I wonder if that actually happened to Ann M. Martin or something.

Heh. The Kristy Day banner says “We Love You Kisty,” even though Claudia wasn’t there to help make it.

Janine really is smart sometimes. She’s mad when Claudia starts dating Frankie, but she gets over it. And when Frankie dumps Claudia, Mimi suggests Claud should make up with Janine. Janine’s like…I was really just mad because I knew I could never get him.

Kristy and Mary Anne used to play under a tree when they were in Elementary school. Mary Anne because she hated recess and Kristy because Alan thought the tree had cooties or something….

Stacey McPerky. Almost as good as Hottie McStudly, which I saw on a soap opera around 2003 and still use to this day. (Because I am *that* lame, I actually googled it. In addition to where I used it in a fanfic, a transcript of As The World Turns, May 6, 2002 popped up.)

Even though two weeks ago, Stacey and Claudia met by running into each other (wearing off-the-shoulder sweatshirts), they meet at lunch this time. Stacey sits down at the table with Emily (who was her student guide) and says, “I’m Stacey. I’m from another planet.” She can’t remember anyone’s name but Claudia’s when they leave and the two of them meet up after school and walk home together.


Mary Anne: floral capri pants, blouse, sandals; checked pedal pushers, lavender baby-doll top, pink-frilled swimsuit

Kristy: SHS Varsity Soccer t, cutoff jean shorts; too small swimsuit

Claudia: billowy black pants, patterned shirt tied at the midriff, black tank top; bejeweled green engineer’s cap (noooooo!), decorated bell bottoms, chunky bracelet, big earrings and apparently, no top

Janine: jeans and a t-shirt with Albert Einstein and the words “E=mc2

Next week: #24 Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise, where I will wax philosophical about overseas adoption.

Monday, February 3, 2014

“What do you know about bulking up?” BSC #20: Kristy and the Walking Disaster (1989)

They should rename this book “Let’s make fun of Jackie Rodowsky again!”

The little editor’s note at the end of the book makes it clear that Ann M. Martin wrote this book because she “had fun” writing about Jackie. He’s written like a cartoon character, but he’s so nice and sweet that the BSC can’t help forgiving him for the disasters that happen around him. The title of the book is kind of mean, because Jackie’s actually a decent player. He’s just klutzy and messy. (I am going to keep track of every accident he has though.) Kristy has another one of her “brilliant ideas.” (Cue Blair Warner from The Facts of Life.) Because there is a whole bunch of BSC clients who want to play softball but are too young or scared to try out for Little League, she starts Kristy’s Krushers to fill the void. As she mentions about 5 million times through the book, the average age of the players is 5.8. Kristy meets Bart Taylor who also has a similar team (although his players are older) and the Krushers play the Bashers. They don’t win, but they prove they’ve got team spirit and guts. It’s like watching reading Rudy. And Kristy develops a krush on Bart.

Interesting Tidbits

Cover love! Other than Kristy and Jackie, I have no idea who these kids are supposed to be. They’re all kinda adorable though. (But a rather large proportion are blond…)


Mary Anne brings Tigger to the meeting, and he keeps distracting everyone by being adorable: playing with ribbon, sitting in a shoe. Then he completely disappears…only Mary Anne doesn’t notice for a while. He turns up on Janine’s computer.

How does Amanda Delaney know so much about Bart? Does she know his brother or something?

Kristy does math: She figures half of boys are normal and half are jerks, while in her neighborhood, half of both groups are snobs. So Bart has a twenty-five percent chance of him being a decent human being. (I’m surprised she thinks half of the boys her age are normal.)

I’m trying to figure out why exactly most of these kids can’t join t-ball or other softball teams. Not Little League necessarily, where you’re expected to have at least a little talent, but a lot of communities have less-competitive softball teams for kids. It’s not like Kristy and Bart were the first people to come across the idea that kids who aren’t particularly talented might still like to play.

Jackie “oopses”: Makes a giant mess trying to make pink lemonade; threw a baseball into the neighbor’s gutter; knocked over some stuff in the garage; tripped on a shoelace.

Kristy decides that twenty kids is enough. I can’t imagine any thirteen year old wanting to take on twenty kids by herself voluntarily, especially when one of them is a toddler. (My niece is two and a half and she’s tenuously potty trained and is a handful all by herself. Good thing Gabbie Perkins is so angelic, right?)

Also, shouldn’t she need permission slips and legal documents? Watson and Elizabeth could be sued up the yin yang if one of these kids breaks a bone or gets a concussion while playing, which is always a possibility.

In this story, Hannie is seven while Linny is still eight, and Buddy is still seven and Suzi is still four.

Kristy makes a list of questions that need to be answered such as “Where can we practice?” and “How often should we meet?” The final question is about whether Bart likes her. She presumably shows the list to Watson, as he helps her find answers to all the other questions. I’m really hoping she erased the last question.

Ugh. This is embarrassing to write, but when I was a kid, I would have been with Karen. I would have hated that the team was Kristy’s Krushers because it’s not proper spelling. You all have to know how much it’s killing me to agree with Karen on anything.

Claudia spelling! First off, I announce with much glee, that she and Mal are babbysitting. Mal is presumably sitting right next to her as she is writing, as it’s a joint entry, and yet she spells her name as Mallery. How did Mal not correct her? Especially since later, when she says that Claire is compertive, Mal corrects that to competitive. (She also uses expect for except.)

Nofe-air! Nofe-air! I’ll buy that Claire throws tantrums when she strikes out or when her team loses or something, but Mallory says she throws them when she watches ball games on television, too. What the #*$@? That makes zero sense.

Kristy should have thought about how she was going to sign for Matt before she had him join the team. There must be books out there specifically on how to sign for sports. Heck, there’s a book on how to sign every curse word imaginable. I almost bought it myself. They keep signing stuff like “monkey” and “oven” instead of baseball terms.

More Jackie “oopses”: gets his gum stuck in a catcher’s mask; knocks loose a tooth, which Claudia then has to pull out; breaks a window in the school.

I think it’s funny that Kristy is grossed out by loose teeth. I happened to love losing teeth. I was still losing molars when I was Kristy’s age—I remember one just fell out of my mouth in eighth grade grammar class—and I didn’t get my adult canines until I was nearly twenty.

Unintentionally humorous. Jessi is sitting in the stands with Marnie Barrett, who is two. She’s feeding her Cheerios like she’s a nine month old. Marnie doesn’t really talk and is essentially a baby. Kristy mentions how much stuff you need with a two year old. Yet Gabbie, who is only slightly older, is like a mini-five year old, with a vocabulary, who would never sit in a stroller eating Cheerios.

I’ve always wondered why Haley, Vanessa and Charlotte never asked Becca to come cheer with them. I know she’s supposed to be shy, but so is Charlotte, and she’s into it.

I love Haley. The Bashers show up at a Krushers’ practice to check out the competition. One of them distracts Bart so they can all be rude about the Krushers players. They call Jackie Pig-pen and Gabbie a baby. They call Jake fatso and then, when Matt makes a loud animal-type sound, they call him a dummy loud enough for everyone to hear. Haley gets in the boy’s face and says, “That ‘dummy’ is my brother and if you call him a dummy one more time, I’ll personally rearrange your face.” Not only is she Matt’s protector, she’s only too ready to punch boys in their faces. She’s the girl I wanted to be at that age.

I love that whenever Watson sounds like a sentimental sitcom dad, Kristy says he sounds jerky. What kind of jerky? Beef or venison? If he were really being jerky, instead of saying stuff like, “It doesn’t matter if you lose tomorrow as long as you try your hardest,” he’d say, “Kristy, you jackass…[insert something rude and unpleasant here.]”

The title quote comes from the scene where Charlie jokingly tells his brothers and sister to bulk up before the game, so they start carbo-loading or something.

Sam and Charlie must be so popular with their classmates. “What did you do this weekend?” “I ran the refreshment table at my sister’s little kid softball team’s game….Why are you laughing?”

More Jackie: he is ‘testing’ a bat when it flies out of his hands and knocks over the refreshment table. A cake flies off the table and ends up covered in lemonade. (Sam, Charlie, Jessi and Dawn save the rest of the baked goods. I’m surprised Dawn was willing to save something with processed sugar in it); nearly hits the pitcher with the bat while batting.

A very true sentence: “Karen just cannot be subtle.”

One last Jackie moment: he knocks over a lamp while talking to Kristy on the phone.

New characters:

Jake, Laurel and Patsy Kuhn (8, 6 and 5)—33, 31 and 30

Bart Taylor (13)--38


Kristy’s coaching outfit: jeans, Krushers’ tee and sneakers and collie cap (jeans do not seem very sporty and even cover Kristy agrees.)
Next week: Because the next book is another Kristy (#24), I’ll be popping back/forward in time a bit to do The Summer Before. #24 will be next after that, followed by #25 to take us out of the month of February.