Friday, March 21, 2014

“I’m not sure I would write ‘I love you’ on a postcard where the mailman and your mother could see it.” BSC Super Special #3: Babysitters’ Winter Vacation (1989)

Before I begin, I need to point out that this has always been my least favorite super special. I owned 1-4 and 6-11. I reread my favorites a dozen times or more. I think I read this one twice, maybe three times. I think part of it had to do with the fact that, in my head, it’s even more ridiculous than the SS where they get stranded on an island (my absolute faaaaavorite). The other part had a lot to do with the fact that Mary Anne drove me absolutely nuts all throughout this book.

So Stoneybrook Middle School apparently is a very lucky school, because they get a (low-cost) vacation to Vermont every year courtesy of the Leicester Lodge. They have a Winter Carnival full of outdoor sports. And because the BSC is stupid, they agree to play babysitters to a group of elementary school students whose teachers are injured. Here are everyone’s stories, in the order they first get a chapter:

Mary Anne: Logan is in Aruba so she spends the whole book mooning, worrying about a ghost (did she turn into Dawn?) and worrying because she hates a gym teacher who is their chaperone.

Stacey: Meets a guy and falls in (ready?) luv.

Dawn: Is a giant klutz, falling down left and right. And she fights with Mary Anne, who’s being all self-centered.

Kristy: Is in charge of the whole carnival and gets too far into it (there’s a shocker.) She guilts some people into taking part, including a guy who breaks his leg.

Claudia: Thinks her ski instructor has a crush on her, but eventually finds out he’s married.

Jessi: Worries because she’s in charge of the talent show. Also thinks one of the elementary school girls, Pinky, is racist. Doesn’t want to do anything wintery because she might get frostbite and not be able to dance anymore.

And last and least interesting:

Mallory: Does her stupid #$^*ing Harriet the Spy schtick again. Lame-o! And she’s afraid of a dance.

Interesting Tidbits

I am soooo dorky. I was trying to remember which sitter was the frame for each book—the reason that the sitters all sat down and wrote about their exploits. I know Kristy is the cause for #7 and #8 and Jessi is behind #9 and #13. Stacey is behind #2 and Dawn, I think, behind #4, #5 and #12. I’d have to pick up the others to remember exactly, although #1 and #15 were kind of a joint effort and I think #6 was a Claudia story. This is the only Mary Anne.

Mary Anne says you get to meet new people at Leicester Lodge, which is fun. But if she’s really shy, wouldn’t she prefer not to meet new people?

Kristy = funny? If you say so, Mary Anne. Not the first word I think of when I think of Kristy.

Richard reminds Mary Anne to brush her teeth; she stifles the urge to remind him she’s not a baby. She then turns around a few minutes later and reminds him to feed Tigger while she’s gone.

Leicester Lodge Lounge Lizard. Sounds like a really bad cabaret act.

Even writing on a shaking bus, Stacey still has to dot her Is with little hearts.

There are 382 kids at SMS, but this is early on the series. Tons more kids move to town before it ends.

Dawn mentions “The Shining.” I hadn’t watched that movie when I was reading these books. And since I got nightmares from “The Stand,” I have no intention of ever watching it.

Mallory and Jessi are afraid of getting lost. Why? It’s a hotel! You can’t tell me they’ve never been to a hotel before. We know Mallory has.

Heh. To calm Mal and Jessi, the older girls show them around. They ride the elevator to the top floor of the dorms to show that all the dorm floors are the same. Claudia points out the candy machine on every floor. Jessi asks if they have to ride up and look at all the candy machines every time they head downstairs.

In the first Kristy chapter, she addresses her letter to everyone in her family individually. Luckily, she left the pets off.

Claudia spelling: minut (twice), loge (twice), straving, waht, whith, hospitle. She also uses four for for and there for their. Stacey helped her spell figure (by telling her there’s no Y in it…)

Dawn snores. And I don’t know why, but I take great pleasure in that.

Mary Anne worries about Logan cheating on her with…ahem…”a girl who wasn’t shy and who was good in gym.” Yeah…

Real book: Jessi gives Pinky Matilda by Roald Dahl to read. One of my childhood favorites!

MA wants everyone to contribute so she can make a book for Logan, showing him what he missed. So why does Stacey think that Logan would want to hear about her latest crush?

Even though Mal’s Harriet crap is boring, she did make me laugh a couple times. First, she copies Mary Anne’s notes and shows that at one point, MA wrote Mary Anne Bruno and then Logan Spier. Then Mal comments on the ghost that supposedly haunts the lodge: “But maybe that explains the white thing I saw in the corner of our dorm last night. Then again, it might just have been Stacey’s bathrobe, hanging on a hook.”

One of the lodge employees has worked there since 1930. Which was a long time even back then, and this book was published 25 years ago. (My surviving grandparents weren’t even born in 1930.)

Claudia owns a Polaroid.

Both Claudia and Dawn are mad at Kristy, which is only fair. She’s acting like a bitch. She’s mad at Dawn for being a klutz on ice skates. Claudia judges the ice sculpture contest (see my comment below) and chooses a winner from the other team, so Kristy’s being super-nasty to her on the ski slopes.

Here’s what I don’t get. If Kristy is organizing the events, why is she also a team captain? That makes no sense. Even worse is the fact that Claudia is allowed to judge the ice sculpture contest. If she’s on a team, then she shouldn’t be allowed to judge. There are enough teachers that they should have been able to make it work without student input.

Claudia spelling time again! Juge (twice), juging, totle, sclupture (twice), whanted, Cheshur (Cheshire), realictic, Ahsley. She also uses planed for planned bite for bit and no for know.

Mal says something and Jessi says she sounds just like her mother. I can totally see that. Mal spends a lot of time playing second mom anyway. You know that someday, she’s either going to end up with a whole house full of kids herself, or she’s going to boycott that and remain single and childless her whole life.

In her entry for Logan’s book, Dawn writes the following: “Mary Anne, are you really going to put all this stuff in your book for Logan? Try to tone it down a little, okay? It’s embarrassing.” Okay, first, if it’s embarrassing, why even write it in the first place? Second, I really wonder how much of this book would actually make it into a book for Logan. Would she really tell him about all the time she spent mooning over him and his imaginary girlfriend? (At the end she says she realized she needed to cut that out of his book, as well as the bit about all the letters she wrote him.)

Claudia steps on Stacey’s hand when she gets out of bed. Of course. Can’t let that joke die!

Spacey Stacey. Heh.

I LOOOOOOVE when Mary Anne and Dawn fight. They’re total bitches to each other.

This fight isn’t as good as the one in #31, but it’s still pretty awesome. Because the Conway Cove kids are with them, they fake being civil to each other and go completely overboard. “Thank you.” “Oh, you are so completely welcome.”

You guys know Dawn isn’t exactly my favorite babysitter most of the time, but I actually feel for her in this book. Mary Anne was being totally self-centered. Kristy was being an ass to her. And I like the character development (even if she forgets it by the next book): she realizes she actually does care what others think about her to some extent; she’s not as much of an individual as she thinks she is. I feel like that same point is brought up in a lot of Dawn books, and then forgotten again.

List of things Dawn says she’s survived: the divorce, moving to Connecticut, Jeff moving back to California…and the Trip-Man.

Despite actually not hating Dawn in this book, I take amazing pleasure in the fact that she sets a world record for Fastest Bankruptcy in Monopoly.

Jessi has dimples. Has that ever been mentioned before?

Mary Anne keeps trying to write Logan letters, which is stupid because she says she’s not going to mail them. Plus, they’re awesome. One is about how she yearns and pines for him; another, in her own words, sounds like something you’d write to “an eighty-five year old great-aunt who has blue hair and stuffs Kleenex up her sleeves.” The third begins, “Dear Logan, light of my life.”

Logan actually calls Mary Anne from Aruba. Those two are way too attached.

I just love how all the ‘ghost stories’ the teachers tell around the fire are old urban legends: the Choking Doberman; the dead boyfriend above the car…

Mal’s excited about the snowstorm because they might have to be evacuated and then they won’t have a dance! Dumbass.

Claudia strikes again: Goerge (George), snowstrom, wright (right), excatly, inchis, complaning, prefect (perfect), compertitons, afternon, monring, waht, shinning, frist, broght, gogles, improtent, speel, impresed. She also uses wine for win, and Stacey helps her spell Guy (her ski instructor…since he’s French, he pronounces it Gee, which is what she wrote first.) If Stacey’s helping her, shouldn’t she spell check everything? Claudia says Stacey helped her speel, after all.

Jessi, to Mal: “Relax. You look like you’re being carried off to jail. This is just a dance.” (She ends up dancing half the night with the same guy.)

The title quote is what Mary Anne writes in response to Stacey’s guy, Pierre, writing I love you on the postcard he sends her. I have more of an issue with the fact that he’s about thirteen and he thinks he loves a girl after spending a week with her…

Mary Anne and her dad actually pick Logan’s family up at the airport.

I just realized that, other than making fun of her spelling, I kinda neglected Claudia and her ski instructor. This is partly because that plot line didn’t start until the book was more than halfway over and partly because it’s just so Claudia to assume that any guy who pays attention to her must like her. I could also say I neglected Stacey and her boy Pierre, but they get even less attention in the book than Claudia. Here’s a Daria quote to sum up how I felt about Claudia’s storyline: Ms. Barch: Why don’t you apply for a federal grant, dear? Send an inquiry to the U.S. Department of Deluded Adolescents.

New Characters:

Kids from Conway Cove elementary school: Ginnie, Bryce, Priscilla “Pinky” Winkler, Amber, Joey, Renee, Corey, Kara, Valerie, Ian, Ryan, Kathie


Teensy (a lodge employee): jean overalls, plaid shirt, painty baseball cap

Mallory: red and white sweater with jeans

Coming next: #30 Mary Anne and the Great Romance

1 comment:

  1. I thought the snow sculpture contest was unfair, too. I figured they should have not allowed the judges to know whose sculpture was whose, so that there'd be no favoritism.