Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“There’s probably just rice cakes and low-fat frozen yogurt. Alfalfa flavor.” BSC Reader’s Request: Logan’s Story (1992)

“It’s all right, ‘cuz I’m Saved by the Bell!” It’s time for the first story from our favorite babysitting Zack Morris lookalike! If Logan starts hanging out with a guy named Screech and using a giant cell phone when he hits high school, this will all start to make sense.
So Logan’s all busy playing football and trying out for track…aka, being a stereotypical jock. Then Jeff’s appendix blows up (my words, not the book’s) and Dawn heads to CA for a ridiculously long time to stay with him while he gets better. The BSC expects Logan to take her place and even miss practice to take sitting jobs. Meanwhile, Logan’s teammates (especially this one dumbass who goes by King) keep teasing him for being girly. Things come to a head at the Health Fair, when Logan loses Johnny Hobart and King finds him. Logan quits the BSC and figures out that if he stops responding to the teasing it will stop. After a couple weeks, he rejoins as an associate member and makes the track team.
Interesting tidbits.
Let’s start with the cover. Poor Johnny. He’s only four, so I’m going to assume he didn’t pick out his own clothes. He kinda looks like a really bad clown. (Note to Mrs. Hobart: Don’t dress your redheaded boys in red. It looks awful.) Why is King wearing his football uniform to the Health Fair? He’s like Kevin from Daria, who almost never takes off his shoulder pads even when he’s in class.

Oh, and if you forget they’re at the Health Fair, there’s a sign in the background that says “HEALTH FAIR”, quotes included.
I think it’s apropos that Peter Lerangis wrote this one. I mean, Logan’s (sorta) a guy.
One of the first things Logan tells us that he’s a guy, in fact. On page two. It’s pointed out for two reasons: 1) It’s crucial to the story, supposedly. (I guess this is true, because chances are SMS would not let a girl on the football team or stuff like that.*) 2) People can’t always tell from a name like Logan. That’s even more true these days.
I never thought of Austin Bentley being named after two cars. I guess that’s because I don’t generally think about cars beyond, “How much longer until I need to fill my gas tank?” (Austin, though, like Logan, has one of those ‘new’ names that became popular after these books came out. I wonder how many girls read these books and then named their sons Logan. Scary thought.)
BLECH! Listening to Logan talk about how Mary Anne’s smile seeps into his chest and spreads through him like a magic potion…gross. I suddenly feel better about my own romantic scenes. It's schlock.
You can grill tofu, Logan. Just wrap it in foil after you marinate it. (I love that I’m giving fictional characters cooking advice.)
Kristy calls Sharon Mrs. Schafer instead of Mrs. Spier. (You’d think Logan would know her as Sharon, though, since that’s what MA calls her.)
I want to state for the record that I think it’s really unfair of the BSC members to ask Logan to miss practice for sitting jobs. I think that he should only have to do that if everyone else has to miss all of their other responsibilities, like art class and Krushers practice and ballet practice.
Why in the heck are track tryouts during football season? Isn’t there a whole other season in between there? (Not to mention that my middle and high school took every interested student as members on the track team. Yeah, you might not make all the events you wanted to get into, but you could go to all the practices. Now, my school was pretty tiny, but I think that’s pretty common.)
There’s this whole weird thing where Stacey tries to convince everyone to donate blood (when they’re old enough.) I donated blood once…I didn’t weigh enough when I was seventeen and I tried—wish I still had that problem—and now they won’t let me donate in case I have mad cow disease. I’mnot kidding on that part. I’m not sure if I was so determined to donate because my dad has donated every three months for the past thirty-some years (even though he could have mad cow disease too) or because Stacey told me to do it. Hmmm… (Just kidding. I’m sure it was all Stacey.)
Mathew Hobart is my new favorite sittee. (I have a new favorite about every third book or so.) He, Logan and Johnny are playing camping…a game I used to play ALL THE TIME in my basement with a card table, bed sheets and a sleeping bag. He licks his finger and puts it to the wind and uses that to ‘tell time.’ Then he fends off Johnny’s imaginary bear by giving him a chair to sit in and Teddy Grahams to eat.
Okay, let’s discuss some more logic here. I know that a ruptured appendix is serious and can possibly be fatal. I can understand Sharon and Dawn going to California to see Jeff in the hospital and spend time with him. But even if Sharon can get that time off work (which she totally could these days, thanks to FMLA), is it really smart for Dawn to miss that much school? Fly the girl out to see her brother, then get her back home once she’s had a chance to tell him she loves him even though he’s a pest.
Also, Mary Anne seems to be more upset that Dawn’s upset than because Jeff nearly died. I can see the logic in that, but it kinda contradicts what she said about loving him a couple weeks ago
I’m disappointed in the lack of outfits. Oh, they’re there, but Logan-the-guy doesn’t go into details and hyphenates the way the girls do. And he doesn’t know what Laura Ashley is.
Who knew Jenny P. was friends with Leonardo’s character from Titanic? They both yell, “I’m the king of the world!”
I don’t have any older brothers or sisters, so someone set me straight. Would whether Mallory and Ben are friends or dating really be that interesting to James, Mathew and Johnny (who, remember, are 8, 6, and 4)? I guess I could see it from the point of view of siblings like to fight over anything and everything…
Oh, aren’t the members of the track team all from Clever-Clever Land? They call Logan Lois because they catch him babysitting, so he must be a girl.
Heh. The football coach pats Logan on the back and my overactive imagination was picturing more of a butt pat. Here’s the title of the third, never-published Logan book: Logan and the Sexual Abuse Nightmare.
Not even going to go into the torture Mal and Jessi had trying to get the Pikes to go to the Health Fair, partly because I don’t blame them. It sounds boring to me, too. It is, however, where the title quote comes from.
I love this: Kristy asks a young woman if she’s a babysitter because she’s looking at the BSC booth at the health fair. Instead, the woman says she’s pregnant. MA asks her how she gets away with blurting stuff out like that. (Honestly, it wasn’t a bad thing she said. It’s not as if she asked the woman if she was pregnant when she really wasn’t. Besides, my mom used to babysit when I was young because she was a stay at home mom and wanted to make a little money, so it wasn’t that dumb a question.) Kristy responds: “What’s to get mad at? I’m lovable, funny, smart—” and at that moment Stacey walks up and finishes her sentence: “And conceited.” Even Charlotte has to laugh at that one.
Okay, here’s the “Why is King in his football gear” answer: he had come straight from practice. Eww. Showers are a pubescent boy’s friend.
Johnny is so offended that King tells Logan to take Johnny to the potty. He says he knows how to use the bathroom like a man and wants Logan to go get King so he can show him. I’d laugh if it weren’t the single most realistic moment in the whole book.
So Logan makes the track team while King and his other main tormentors don’t. But the coach tells them to try again in the spring. What kind of track team is this? I’m so confused. I really should know better than to try to put logic into a BSC book.
You know Jeff’s feeling better because he’s back to telling corny jokes.
Logan makes up with most of his friends because they think some of the BSC members are cute and want their phone numbers. One of them actually calls Claudia, but she thinks it’s a prank and hangs up.
Claudia actually hits Logan with a Frito bag. Don’t do it, Claudia! First, he’s not worth it. Second, you’ll break your Fritos.
Mrs. P: silk dress
Jenny: Laura Ashley pajamas; brand new sweat suit

*My high school, circa 1998, wouldn’t let a ‘girl’ be a kicker on the football team. I use ‘girl’ in quotes because I knew when I met him back in 1991…when he was 9…that someday he’d make the transition to male. But back then, he had a clearly feminine name that his parents gave him when he was born with female genitalia. Anyhoo, I can’t imagine SMS being any more progressive than that, some 6 years earlier. It makes me wonder if, in this age of more tolerance for the LBGT community, if Logan would get as much flak for being a boy babysitter. I’m not suggesting that Logan’s gay because he babysits (although there’s some….um…interesting fanfic to that effect), just that most of the problems Logan has with babysitting involve the fact that many of his friends are sort of traditional.
I forgot to check what I'm blogging next week, so it's a surprise to us all!

Monday, August 11, 2014

“Since when does an animal trainer wear a Cub Scout uniform?” BSC #54: Mallory and the Dream Horse (1992)

Scout, my new cat, keeps trying to attack the book while I’m reading it. I think this is some kind of commentary on Mallory being a bit of an idiot in this book. I really hate to see what she’d do to the books where Mal is truly an idiot.
Mallory’s parents agree to let her take riding lessons. She wants to take them with Jessi, but the Ramseys say no. Mal ends up falling off a horse and being scared to get back on (so many jokes, so little time). Eventually she takes part in the competition, where she ends up in the middle of the pack (neiiiiiiigh!), and decides she would rather look at ponies than ride them.
Meanwhile, Nina Marshall (did you forget about her? she hasn’t been around much!) has a Blankie she takes everywhere with her. The kids at preschool keep teasing her about it, but she’s stubborn and won’t stop taking him. Finally, in an act of ‘whoops’ problem solving, Dawn washes Blankie, who falls apart in the washer. Dawn convinces Nina that she can take a little piece of Blankie with her everywhere she goes, but no one will have to know he’s there.
Interesting Tidbits
Doo doo da doo, doo doo! Cover time! (Sing it to the tune of ‘Hammer Time’.) Mallory looks both older than I am and totally blurry. I’m actually mostly disturbed by the girl on the left (who has stolen Dawn’s fashion sense.) She’s got this really creepy look on her face while she’s offering the horse an apple. What did she lace that with?

I’ve always wondered why Jessi and Mal would want to hang out at Mal’s house when Jessi’s house must be much quieter. Although, then they’d have to hang out with Aunt Cecelia. Scratch that thought.
Stacey is the reigning Queen of Dibbleness. And I about spit my drink all over the place…
Should I mention how Mallory dressed up her Barbie while playing with Nina? Sure, why not? It’s in the outfits below.
Oh, can I relate to Nina. I had a Blankie I loved so much that when it fell apart like Nina’s did, my mom bought me another (and I was older than Nina at the time.) I didn’t take it to school with me, but I did have the same kind of problem at preschool. I was a serious thumb sucker. I started preschool a week later than the other kids, and none of the kids in my class sucked their thumbs. I heard one other girl say, “What a baby…she still sucks her thumb,” and I stopped sucking my thumb just like that. My mom had tried everything to get me to stop for two years before that. I guess I just needed a little peer pressure.
I’m a little frightened. When I was thirteen, I made a whole presentation to my parents, complete with visual aids and charts and stuff. I forget exactly what I wanted them to agree to, but it worked. I had mostly based it upon an episode of Full House where DJ successfully gets things swapped around so that she has her own bedroom while Stephanie and Michelle start sharing, but I used a lot of the same techniques Mal does while asking for permission to take riding lessons. Scary.
Oh, and Mal totally teaches kids to ask for more than they expect to get so that they can bargain. It’s actually…really, really smart.
Okay, here’s where ‘Mal is an idiot’ shows up. (Scout has quit trying to eat the book and is asleep on a chair.) She is so excited after all her classes that she keeps reporting to Jessi about everything that’s going on. Jessi keeps trying to sound enthusiastic, but she’s really not that good at it. (I have a friend…umm, actually, she’s the same friend that I ditched at summer camp…who has always been into horses. 99 percent of what I know about horses I’ve learned from her. And I remember sounding as enthusiastic about hearing about her dressage lessons as Jessi is about Mal’s lessons. Only in my case it was more confusion than jealousy.)
In this book, Eleanor can barely talk. She speaks in toddler-appropriate bits like, “Nap done” and such. Yet the next time I remember her showing up in the plot at all in #81, she speaks in sentences. If these books involved aging like real life, it would actually be appropriate.
Mallory’s rich horsey classmates include Kelsey, Allison, Amber, Megan, Kyle (a girl), and David. She spends all this time chatting their ears off and then thinking they’re friends, but none of reciprocates.
Okay. Question time. I know that literary names are often symbolic: a character named Esperanza (which means hope) who is the only one in her neighborhood who is going to go somewhere and be someone; another named Dolores (“our lady of sorrows”) who deals with one tragedy after another. Then there’s stuff like giving all the sisters feminine names (Meg, Beth, Amy) except the tomboy with big dreams (Jo). So, given that Mallory has a dream horse named Pax (“peace”) who is very easy to ride, why would she ever consider riding a horse named Gremlin? Of course she falls off!
When I was younger than Mallory, I took six English riding lessons. I loved them all the way until the end. In our last lesson, I was cantering when all of a sudden the saddle slipped. I lost the reins and was hanging upside down on a cantering horse. My instructor caught me pretty quickly, but my mother decided that if the instructor couldn’t even put the saddle on the horse tight enough, she wasn’t really a good one to teach riding. Not as bad as Mal’s fall, but I still remember that and wonder why I ever got back on a horse again….
Was Mal’s doctor trying to blind his opponents so he could win his golf game? (See his outfit below.)
Yay! A joint notebook entry between Claudia and Stacey! Not only is there some creative spelling (relayted, intire, nayborhood, preform instead of perform, arn’t, laff), Claudia suggests that the four youngest Pikes are related to Mal, therefore they must be “Looney Tons” [sic]. Aren’t these girls always so nice to each other?
Oh, I forgot to mention (which tells you how “thrilling” this C plot is) that Vanessa, Margo, Nicky and Claire are putting together a talent show. It’s as dumb as it sounds. (You know it’s bad because the triplets are staying the hell out of the way of it, and they’re usually up for most of this type of thing.) They gather a huge number of kids in the backyard while Stacey and Claudia are babysitting. Vanessa stands on a chair and shouts at everyone to sit down and be quiet. She has their attention, even more so after the chair closes on her and she falls to the ground. (And I, in Claudia’s words, laffed and laffed.)
And oh, good heavens, are Claudia and Stacey snarky and bitchy and awesome about all the “talents”. They’re worse than I am and I love them for it. One of Stacey’s comments is the title quote.
I’d forgotten this part! One of the snobbier girls invites everyone from the class to her birthday party. Mallory decides (again!) that this thinks they’re friends. She goes to the party, feels out of place because she’s dressed wrong and no one talks to her.
All throughout this book, Mal keeps reminding me of a girl I used to work with that is on my Facebook. Whenever she has a first date with a boy, she actually updates her status to indicate she’s in a relationship. A couple days later, when he indicates he doesn’t intend to keep seeing her, she switches it back to single. And then moans and complains on FB about it. They both come on far too strong and assume a friendship/relationship after one event, forgetting that these things need to grow and develop.
Wait a minute. Mal makes a big deal about how her riding lessons are on Saturday mornings, so it won’t affect her other scheduled activities. So how is her final lesson on a Thursday afternoon?
Ha! Mal mentions that you have to be careful cinching the saddle or the saddle will turn upside down. If she only knew….
Wait another minute. When Mal’s riding class was first introduced, there were twelve kids in it: eight girls and four boys. Later, there are six other kids in the class. And now, there are only six kids in the whole class. Yet, when I listed the names of the classmates, there were at least eight kids in the class, because I mentioned seven other names. This one was ghostwritten by two people, so do you think all these mistakes are because they didn’t talk to each other?
The best laugh of this whole book? When Blankie gets all ripped up, Nina shouts at Dawn, “You killed him!”
Mal wonders how to tell her parents she doesn’t want to continue riding lessons. She paid for half of the lessons; wouldn’t, “I don’t have the funds to do more lessons right now,” be sufficient?
Or, she could, you know. Be honest with them.
Aww, this is sweet. Mallory’s riding instructor (whom she calls Lauren but one of the other students calls Ms. Kendall) has Mal all figured out. Mal is the only one without a riding habit—she followed the basic minimum attire by wearing a helmet, boots and gloves with her jeans and regular clothes—so Lauren actually stops by Mal’s house the day of the horse show to loan her a habit and give her a pep talk.
Jessi: You should warm up before the horse show like I do before a ballet. Mal: I should do pliƩs?
And we’re back to there being twelve riders in Mal’s class. Consistency, ghostwriters. Consistency.
Speaking of consistency…During the Claudia/Stacey chapter earlier when everyone was rehearsing their talent acts, Charlotte was there with her dog Carrot. (Carrot tried to run off with Blankie.) Yet Charlotte and Becca are about the only kids in the neighborhood not participating. Mal and Jessi watch them during the talent show.
Also, the girls mention they don’t want to participate after what happened to them during the Little Miss Stoneybrook contest. But only Charlotte was part of that.
The triplets as crowd control is an ironic statement, right? Right??????? (Mal says she knew their big mouths would come in handy someday.)
I hope I didn’t disappoint you all with my lack of bad horse jokes. All the ones I know are a little too first grade even for me.
Barbie: red and white tights, long shirt made of sweatshirt material (since when does Barbie have clothes like that?)
Dr. Calloway (Mal’s doctor): neon yellow pants, electric blue polo
Mallory: gold and brown kilt, gold cotton sweater, penny loafers (sounds adorable! I’d wear it!)

Next week: It’s time for some testosterone, folks! We’ll be making fun of Logan’s Story.

Friday, August 8, 2014

“When the big freckle gets past the wrist bone, then you’ll know it’s time for ice cream.” BSC #53: Kristy for President (1992)

Kristy decides to run for class president. She actually has a decent campaign and all, but she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Her grades start to slip and she’s neglecting other duties. Finally, she drops out at the last minute.
Meanwhile, Jamie Newton gets his first bicycle. Rather than taking the time to learn how to ride it and become secure, he insists on taking the training wheels off prematurely. Finally, some older neighborhood kids do what the BSC couldn’t: convince him to put his training wheels back on for a little while until he’s ready.
Interesting tidbits
Ooh, Kristy’s actually wearing her ‘uniform’ on the cover:

Only other comments: Why are they decorating her bedroom? Also, that’s one big-ass pillow on her bed.
There’s this whole thing about Kristy noticing the kids from the special education program because they all sit together. It’s weird for a couple reasons; first, it doesn’t relate to anything else in the story. It was like the ghostwriter’s attempt at a ‘lesson,’ but serves no purpose. Second, she keeps capitalizing Special Ed, which is just a little off.
Ah, irony: the fire alarm goes off and Alan and his friends lead the charge out of the building. Later, they said there was no alarm and Alan and his friends just started walking and everyone followed. (I’m not sure what the whole ‘fire alarm going off’ thing was then, but whatever.) The BSC says that Alan’s not a great leader and they’d never follow him…but they totally just did.
Ah, gross food jokes again. Those never get old. MA and Kristy are eating the SMS meatloaf and Kristy screams that it’s still alive, then complains it smells bad. (On a side note, I wrote a fanfic set at SHS where the two characters were complaining about the meatloaf, knowing that the SMS meatloaf was made fun of in at least one book. I just couldn’t remember which one it was. [The girl bitching about the meatloaf in that story always brings her lunch from home, which puts her a step above Kristy. If you hate the hot lunch so much, honey, then stop eating it!])
Oh, and you know Kristy’s cool and well-read, because she says her broccoli looks as if Bunnicula already got to it.
Heh. Kristy describes Claudia’s room as a “junk food collage.” It’s not too far off.
There’s a whole conversation making fun of Mary Poppins (the class play). However, Stacey doesn’t comment. You’d think she’d speak up, as it is her favorite movie. (Of course, we all know they end up doing a play of Peter Pan, and it’s not as if that’s any more serious. Or mature.)
Heh heh. Jamie corrects Kristy when she gives him directions and doesn’t say please.
Kristy is running against Pete Black (he of my giant crush), Alan and Grace, Cokie’s friend. I was thinking about it and, early on, they said you have to have a B average to run for office. Do you really think that Grace or Alan would have that good of a GPA? Or am I just being mean?
I love this bit: Claudia had a whole conversation with Kristy when she agreed to be her campaign manager about having a slogan and design that are simple and recognizable. Later, when they go forward with Claudia’s ‘K+’ idea, Janine comes in and starts scrutinizing it. She refers to it as effective branding. Kristy points out that Claudia said the exact same thing…in different language. The two of them laugh about it, and then Janine compliments Claudia.
My favorite slogan suggested for Kristy’s campaign: “Choose Kristy or else!” Jamie suggests that one.
Spelling error, and it’s not even in a Claudia notebook entry! Mr. Kingsbridge is apparently the vice principle of the school (rather than the vice principal.)
You gotta love Toilet Monster references. There seems to be one any time the Korman kids show up. (The title quote is something Kristy tells Melody.)
Another mistake! Pete’s booth at campaign day is across the aisle from Grace’s, but the text said it is across from Cokie’s. Cokie is not running.
Claudia should totally go into advertising. She’s already got the lingo down.
I think it’s really sad that Jamie’s parents are pawning off learning to ride a bicycle onto his babysitters. I don’t have too many positive memories of my dad, but he did help me learn to ride a bike when I was Jamie’s age. I only had the training wheels on for two weeks. (And I am the world’s least coordinated human being.) The difference, I think, is that I wasn’t afraid of my bike in any way, and I didn’t mind falling down too much. (I was used to it, I think.) I guess I was just a tenacious little brat. My sister, who is much more steady and less wobbly than I am, still had training wheels on her bike when she was six, when she’d had the bike for two years.
Kristy mentions the special education classes again in her speech, and I’m still not sure what she’s going on about. It feels like part of that plot line got cut out.
Since when is there a fencing team at SMS.
Oh, boy. Claudia spelling time! Greif, bicicle, hadnt, trainning, tamming. She also uses to for too.
Ooh, a Lucy outfit! The Newtons are definitely trying to make her into a girly-girl.
Mary Anne keeps defending Pete throughout the story, saying he’s okay. I wonder if this is before or after he created a device to fling her Jell-O and kill with it?
Uh oh. Kristy being pensive = boring!
I don’t know why, but I really love that Jessi is the voice of reason for Kristy, however inadvertently. She calls Kristy, who bites her head off. Jessi responds, “If you don’t have time to talk to me, how will you have time to be president of the whole class?” I think part of the reason I like this is that she’s younger and she and Mal tend to get shunted to the side. Or seen as silly and immature.
Oh, I forgot to mention: Mallory runs for secretary of the sixth grade. She wins.
Middle school elections are totally popularity contests, so I’m wondering if Pete won the election because he was the best liked or because he had the best ideas. Whatever. He’s still my favorite BSC boy.
Claudia (for some reason, I just tried to spell that Klaudia): lime green bicycle pants, long pink shirt, cropped lime shirt, black leather high tops; tie-dyed dress, orange tights, feather earrings, hat with green band, star drawn on her face
Stacey: black skirt, tights with one red leg and one black leg, black turtleneck sweater with red flecks; purple capri pants, black ankle boots (I’m hearing Daria’s Quinn whining about orphans without ankle boots), black and white checked shirt)
Kristy: black pants, giant sweater with brown, cream, black and green stripes (I can’t picture this exactly, but every version I come up with is hideous)
Grace: pale blue sweater and stirrup pants, three feet of makeup
Lucy: lavender overalls with pink stars, pink shirt, pink socks, purple shoes

Bonus Snark! Babysitter’s Club Little Sister Super Special #6: Karen’s Campout (1993)
I bought this book for my niece, but I decided to open it up and make fun of the pictures. I happened to open it to one of the twelve or so pages that would have made me sit down and read it. (I’ll explain that in a minute.) This book is just as god-awful as I imagined it would be, but I have a couple of specific snarks here in a moment.
The story is told from five points of view, but most of the chapters are from Karen, Hannie and Nancy. It’s summer again, and everyone’s going back to CampMohawk. Karen and Nancy went the last summer, but it’s Hannie’s first time at camp. Karen’s in the ‘other’ cabin from her friends, and she’s acting like a bored, know-it-all bitch all the time. Later, she admits that she’s actually nervous and scared because Kristy’s not at camp with her this summer. (See below.)
Meanwhile, Nancy’s all homesick, while Hannie’s having a blast. Nancy keeps (literally) tugging on Hannie’s shirtsleeve and being whiny. Hannie tells her off and the two of them stop talking to each other. Later, Hannie gets lost and Nancy’s the only one who knows where to find her. Remove that part of the story and it’s almost exactly what happened when my best friend and I went to camp together when we were eleven.
Okay, so here’s why I picked the book up. You also get points of view from the brothers: David Michael and Linny. And I just don’t think there is enough Linny Papadakis in the world. DM has a “little brother” he thinks is a big wuss until he actually impresses DM by scaring everyone at a campout. Linny keeps complaining that camp isn’t ‘nature-y’ enough. Everyone calls him Nature Boy*, but he eventually feels at home because he can start a fire without a match. Or something.
The Rants:
Karen: First, let me revel in the fact that Karen’s counselor actually tells her off. Ahhh!
Now, let’s talk about this whole Kristy thing. Karen was a “six” the year before when she went to camp, and she was in Stacey’s cabin. (Probably one of only a few times I ever really felt sorry for Stacey.) So how much time did she really spend with Kristy, who was in an “eights” cabin?
Karen’s the reason her team loses a swimming relay. And I enjoyed that, too.
Hannie and Nancy: This is probably the most realistic part of the whole book. Like I said, I actually had the same situation one year when I went to camp with my friend. She got on my nerves to the point that, when we went on overnight, I ditched her. We slept in tents of three, instead of the tents of four back at camp. And my other two tent mates asked me to join them. I did, leaving my friend to sleep with the counselors. (I am SO sorry, Kelly! I don’t think I ever said it back then.)
That said, I don’t buy Nancy being so homesick. She was in Mary Anne’s cabin the year before, along with Margo, and she was FINE. The argument made this time is that she misses her baby brother so much. I guess this makes more sense than having Hannie, who never met a person she didn’t like (except Amanda Delaney), being homesick.
The Boys: My main complaint here is that they only get two chapters a piece.
David Michael is part of an experimental “big brother-little brother” program at the camp. His cabin makes friends with a group of “sixes.” Which would be great except…they’re seven. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the nine or ten year olds be big brothers to the six year olds?
Linny keeps trying to sleep outside and his counselor won’t let him. And I love it.
Generic Snarks: There’s little to no consistency between this book and the “other” Camp Mohawk book. In that one, Dawn’s cabin of elevens gets lost on an overnight. Only the elevens go on the overnight. This year, everyone goes. You’d think they’d do fewer overnights after losing campers, not more.
This was weird. Kristy’s not going to camp, but Claudia and Mallory are. Margo gets sick and Mallory makes it with the “paper bag” (for vomit? Really?) just in time. Yet later, when you find out who is in whose cabin, Margo is in neither Hannie and Nancy’s cabin or Karen’s. She’s seven, so she should be in one or the other.
Also, Charlotte—who barely survived camp the first time—is on the bus. I can’t imagine she’d want to go back.
This is also strange. Hannie and Nancy’s counselor is a woman named Rikki. David Michael’s counselor is the Rick who Logan was a CIT with the year before—the one who wears Hawaiian shirts. And yet, Linny’s counselor is also named Rick. I think that part is actually a mistake…unless having some version of the name Rick makes you REALLY want to be a camp counselor.
This is definitely a mistake. Karen is talking to Hannie about her fight with Nancy and she says something like, “I hope you and Hannie work it out soon.” Either that or Hannie is schizophrenic or has DID. That’s a Little Sister book I’d read!
That was the biggest waste of twenty five minutes ever. ;)
*Flashback to my favorite camp: Camp Chippewa Bay, outside Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Sadly, the camp no longer exists…but we had a counselor one year named Socrates (that’s so-crates, not saw-crah-tees) that we used to call Nature Boy. He completely corrupted the Boatman song: Socrates crayfish, Socrates sing, Socrates don’t do anything!

Next week: Ooh, ponies! It’s time for #54 Mallory and the Dream Horse