Thursday, May 29, 2014

“My mom says she sounds like a bantree, whatever that is.” BSC Mystery #2: Beware, Dawn! (1991)

The exclamation point makes it more scary, right? Right?!?
As a kid, I only ever read eleven of the mysteries: the first ten and then #12. This one was one of my favorites, though I can’t remember why. The only one I read more often than this was another Dawn: #7 (although my sister and I always called that one The Mallory Book. I think that will have to be one of the books that I vlog*.)
The kids of Stoneybrook have had the stupid idea of creating a Sitter of the Month contest where all the kids have a vote. Shortly thereafter, the sitters start receiving freaky notes and disturbing hang-up phone calls. After Jamie lets something slip, Dawn figures out that it’s Mel, one of the boys who were picking on the Hobarts and Susan Felder in #32. The BSC sets a trap and then turn him into his parents, who get him some help.
Interesting Tidbits
Woo! I always loved doing the Find the Picture in Highlights.
Did you ever think that a lot of the scenes in the BSC books (the descriptions of the members and the club) were written generically, and they would just go through and change the “I”? Like someone below the “manuscript assistants” on the food chain was tasked with finding 100 different ways to describe the BSC members and then, when one was picked to go in a book, they would adjust it so that instead of “Dawn’s” it would say “my.” That’s the only reason I can come up with for Dawn saying that Jeff missed “his” dad (instead of “our” dad) so much that he had to move back to California. Either that, or Dawn and Jeff have different dads.
Mary Anne and Dawn are waaaay too interested in Mal and Ben’s alleged “romance.”
Dawn says she’s given up on trying to lecture Claudia about junk food, but I’m about 100 percent sure that’s not true.
Wahahahaha! Ben told his friend that Mallory was a “bonzer sheila.” And the girls are all like, is that a compliment? Especially after they find out that a sheila is a female kangaroo.
The Brewers (and DM) have very specific rules about eating crackers. Everyone gets their own bowl and they have to count and make sure they have the exact same number of crackers. My sister and I used to do that with M&M’s, only we both had to have the exact same number of every color (if she had 8 red, I had to have 8 red), and I couldn’t eat my colors mixed together.
Why and how exactly did Mrs. Newton come to be running the Sitter of the Month contest? It’s not explained. I guess she’s more neutral than a parent of a sitter, but if the kids at school came up with the contest (which is all malarkey anyway), then wouldn’t one of the parents of a child at the school make more sense? Like Mrs. Arnold or Mrs. Rodowsky or someone?
Are the Prezziosos using cloth diapers? There’s this whole argument between Dawn and Jenny because Jenny thinks the pins on Andrea’s diaper are too tight.
I started laughing during Dawn’s argument with Jenny. Dawn wants to show her “Sitter of the Month” abilities off by being patient and not arguing, but then she basically pouts that Jenny’s not giving her a chance to show she’s a good sitter. So she shoos Jenny from the room in a not-very-kind fashion (that’s good, leave the four year old unsupervised) and then makes her answer the phone! Awesome choices.
Oh, yeah, I’ve always remembered this! Dawn is bored after Jenny goes to bed, so she starts writing a letter to Jeff. She decides it’s boring and starts over again: “Dearest Little Bro, What’s up? What’s fresh? Everything’s cool back here in Stoneybrook. What’s happening out there in sunny Cal?” She’s trying way too hard. It reminds me of the dad on American Pie: “Keep it real, homies.”
Mr. X has a lot of time on his hands, as he cuts letters from magazines to write his missives. The first one? “You’d better watch out, you’d better not shout! I’m going to get you.” Honestly, Claudia should be proud of him, because a) it’s a collage and b) he has better spelling than she does.
Heh heh, whenever this kid shows up again for the rest of the series (assuming he does…I can’t remember a re-occurrence) I’m going to call him Mr. X.
I’m only 5 pages into chapter 7, and already in those five pages, we’ve recapped part of two stories: #10 (the first sitting job with the Rodowskys) and #2 (because Mr. X’s phone calls remind Dawn of the Phantom Phone Caller…which she wasn’t even around for.)
I kinda love Shea. You don’t get to see him (or Archie) as much as Jackie, but he sounds sensible. For example, he thinks the second letter (“I’m watching you”) and a bunch of hang up calls deserve a call to the police.  I mean, I wouldn’t call 911, but if I got two creepy letters, I’d probably be calling the non-emergency line. And I’m 33, not 13!
Like I said a couple weeks ago, I like when the babysitters make mistakes. Becca talks Jessi into letting her watch Snake Boy Loose in San Francisco…and of course, winds up scared out of her wits. Honestly, that’s not that bad…probably it will teach Becca that she’s too young for such things and will teach Jessi that her parents have rules for a reason.
Jessi’s Mr. X letter: “Best wishes from your secret admirer” accompanied by a bouquet of headless flowers.
Best Mr. X letter so far, received at the Pike household: “Do you like your hamster? If you do, you’d better keep an eye on him.” This really made me laugh. The Pikes take turns hiding the hamster various places, including in the oven. (Mal: “We don’t want to cook Frodo.”)
Hmmm. I was trying to do these books in order, based upon publishing dates from a wiki source. But I blogged this one a little early; it occurs shortly after #46. Dawn mentions MA and Logan breaking up (and hints that they’re back together, though she never just comes out and says it) and then mentions the toilet monster. I thought we were okay until that damn toilet monster.
The title quote occurs during Kristy’s sitting job with the Kormans; Bill says that when Skylar shrieks, scaring the poop out of them. (He means banshee.)
Dawn decides Kristy must be Mr. X because she’s the only one who hasn’t gotten phone calls. (All the girls but Claudia and Kristy have gotten notes.) But why would she threaten Frodo the hamster? That’s more of a threat to the Pike kids than the Pike sitters.
Ooh, Claudia spelling! Whooever, wuld, dissapear, fase, eurth, danjerus, buging. Oh, and Mr. X is a “reel pane.”
Muggie Maggie. I read that during my fourth-grade obsession with Beverly Cleary. I read everything she ever wrote that year (after I finished the Judy Blume catalog). And when I finished Beverly Cleary, I started reading…well, take a guess.
Mr. X smears baked beans all over the Johanssens’ front stoop. Ewww.
Later he decapitates one of Lucy’s dolls and leaves the headless doll on the front stoop. This is after Dawn’s figured out his real identity. And instead of telling Mrs. Newton, she just shoves the headless doll into the toy chest. Why? It’s not like she could get in trouble for the situation. And if she leaves the headless doll around, Jamie might get blamed for it. I’m really, really disturbed by that.
Emergency meeting time!
Dawn tries to take charge during the “Capture of Mr. X” and goes overboard. Stacey calls her a “four-star general,” but I would have called her “a little Kristy” or something. She keeps getting irritated with Mary Anne for saying “yes” instead of “check,” and for making jokes.
Mary Anne points out that Mel might not be Mr. X, so Dawn says that she wants to catch Mr. X no matter who he is…even the Queen of England.
And the incredibly cheesy ending: the Sitter of the Month contest ends in a tie…between all seven sitters. How many kids voted? Seven? Fourteen? Twenty-one? I smell a conspiracy. I think that someone, somewhere should investigate this. The Better Business Bureau? The FBI? I think this one may be a job for the X-Files…
Squirt: purple sleeper with dinosaurs (sooooo cuuuuuute, and the only outfit in the book)
Next week: #42 Jessi and the Dance School Phantom

*Yes! There will be a video blog entry coming up! It will not be the whole entry, and it will probably be rambling and a little stupid, but one of the books in the next few weeks is crying out for me to speak and do motions. I apologize in advance for this.


  1. Vlog! Exciting!

    And good, albeit creepy, point about the doll. Creepy for Mr. X to do that in the first place, too. Lucy's just a baby!