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


  1. I thought Claudia did a good job as a campaign manager. Jamie and the bike thing was weird. I've never known a dad who didn't want to teach their child to ride a bike.

  2. Funny about the Rick/Rikki stuff. Ranger Rick, maybe?