Wednesday, July 9, 2014

“The opposite of yes. Two letters, beginning with N!” BSC #49: Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street (1991)

Claudia gets a whole bunch of babysitting jobs for Rosie Wilder, the titular genius. Rosie’s good at everything…piano, singing, tap, violin, etc. So good, in fact, that her parents take her from audition to audition and she spends all her day in rehearsals and practices and is miserable about it. The only thing that actually makes her happy is art…and I suspect that’s just because her parents haven’t discovered her talent and sucked the fun out of it. Rosie, with Claudia’s guidance, eventually talks to her parents, who agree to let her scale back her activities to just those she actually enjoys.
Meanwhile, Claudia combines her two main interests and has an art show called Disposable Comestibles. Yes, my friends, all of the art is junk-food themed. Rosie even gets to show a few drawings.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover:

Rosie and Janine look an awful lot alike (you know, other than size and, um, race). And Claud’s all sad. And looks like she has a mustache. Plus, the tagline? “How could a seven year old make Claudia feel so dumb?” Too easy. Not going to touch it.
I was really hoping to collect all the BSC bookmarks mentioned on my cover. When I was a kid, I had them all but Kristy. It’s how I learned what all the babysitters’ birthdays were. (I’m pretty sure one of my books has the bookmark still attached. And it is…Stacey!)
Claudia tries to dissect a commercial. Give it up, Claud. Commercials have their own logic that we mortals cannot understand. (And because the BSC ghostwriters are not so good at foreshadowing, the little girl in the commercial is none other than Rosie.)
Claud is one of those people who can’t figure out how to work a VCR. She would have such an easier time these days with a DVR.
Claudia actually liked reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Oliver Twist. Huh. (I’ve never read either; the TV show of the former ruined any interest I may have had in it; and the most Dickens I’ve read was A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol.)
I think I figured out why every book’s chapter 2 (and often, chapter 3) are just reruns of all the previous books. Can you imagine how short these books would be if we didn’t get the explanation of Claudia’s almond shaped eyes or the club notebook? Those of us who used to read them in two hours would have finished them even faster.
Suzi Barrett’s first name gets spelled as Suzie at one point.
Mrs. Wilder’s first name is Ginger. As a kid, I always wondered if that was her given name, or if it was a nickname (for something like Virginia or because she was a redhead as a child).
When Mrs. Wilder calls, Claudia doesn’t take her information and call her back (as is their usual policy.) She just cups her hand over the mouthpiece to the phone. As a kid I thought that made more sense…most of the time. Now, I picture Mrs. Prezzioso hearing everyone groaning when someone announces she wants a sitter and things like that.
I suddenly had a flashback to a book I read as a child that had genius spelled as jenius or jeanius on the cover. (Because if Claudia had written the cover, that’s how it would have been spelled. Possibly even jeenyus.) I feel like it was about a little boy with a pet gerbil. Oh, I was close! It’s called Jenius: The Amazing Guinea Pig. The protagonist is a girl (named Judy) and I do remember it being a guinea pig now, as I’d never heard of guinea pigs before that book. It was written by DickKing-Smith, which makes sense. He came to author’s day at my school in England along with another local author (Bel Mooney, author of I Don’t Want to! and a host of other stories about her daughter Kitty.) I read everything he ever wrote (including Babe: The Gallant Pig--better known as The Sheep-Pig--the basis for the movie Babe.)
How does Claudia know house styles and types of trees?
Of course, Rosie has to correct Claudia’s spelling. But then, who hasn’t had the urge to go into their book with a pencil and correct her notebook entries? (Okay, so maybe that’s just ME.) Speaking of, we actually don’t get any Claudia notebook entries this time around. Ultra-mega-sad face.
Stacey gets embarrassed because she has to act out a scene from The Brash and the Beautiful (I’d watch it!) with Rosie. It could have been worse, like a love scene or something.
Is it pathetic that I tried to answer all of Rosie’s crossword puzzle clues? I didn’t know them all, but I did know several. (The title quote is Claudia’s response to being asked to continuously help with crossword clues she didn’t know.)
Mr. Wilder is George.
It’s probably good that the Wilders stopped with one child. Think about how inferior Claudia feels to Janine and then imagine if Janine were also talented in every other way and her parents were stage parents. Are you vomiting yet?
The name of the show Rosie appears on is…Uncle Dandy’s Star Machine. Not only is that such a ripoff of shows like that from the 1950s, Uncle Dandy sounds like the nickname you give that relative that the kids are not allowed to be alone with. Plus, the whole show is such a joke. Uncle Dandy’s toupee nearly comes off, his shirt comes untucked, and the sign for the show says UNCLE ANDY’S TAR MACHINE.
I think I like Rosie best when she throws a temper tantrum. It’s the only time in the whole book she sounds like an actual seven year old.
I can’t imagine that a crossword puzzle competition would be fun to watch. Plus, since all the kids were doing different puzzles (according to grade level), you could only watch one at a time.
Claudia says kids don’t see the point in her junk food artwork. When I was a kid, I would have rather gone to Claudia’s art show than an art museum.
Alan Gray shows up, and because he’s Alan, he has to be a dork and do things like put gum on the floor and post his own art on the wall. (Although, I had a book as a kid that recommended doing something similar…staring at a blank patch of wall at a modern art museum and seeing how long until other people stared at it with you.)
Awww. Janine buys one of Claudia’s paintings. I totally heart her.
New characters
Mary Rose (Rosie) Wilder (7)—30
Claudia: paisley vest, striped button down shirt, tuxedo-stripe (?) black spandex stirrup pants (NOOOO!) held up with black suspenders.
Janine: white blouse, gray pleated skirt
Mary Anne: off white chinos, teal turtleneck with open shirt over it, white sneakers. (I repeat…NOOOO!)
Mrs. Wilder: Laura Ashley dress (of course, dahling)
Coming next: Super Special #8, Babysitters at Shadow Lake

Again, I don’t know when this will be. I’m having surgery coming up soon which should hopefully fix my health problems, but I don’t know when it will be or how much it’s going to knock me down. Add to that the fact that it’s research paper time again (whee!) so things may be spotty for a couple weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...Rosie with younger siblings is a scary thought.

    Again, good luck with your health! I hope a quick and easy solution is found.