Wednesday, September 30, 2015

“It looks deadly.” BSC Mystery #21: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger (1995)

Ooh, we are in the part of the mysteries where they are just so ludicrous that they’re funny to read. I can’t wait for the next mystery, which is Carrie meets the BSC meets my gut splitting with laughter.
A kids baking contest is set up, and Mary Anne and Claudia team up with Shea Rodowsky to try to bake the best creations. Someone’s sabotaging other peoples’ baked goods—and it’s not just Claudia, who would rather make up her own recipe than follow a real one, and nothing she creates tastes good. Claudia winds up teaming up with Grace Blume and finding out that the culprit is a girl too old for the competition who joined it anyway and her boyfriend, one of the contest officials. MA, Claud and Shea wind up winning when they use MA’s mother cake recipe.
Meanwhile, the rest of the BSC is running a daycare of sorts during the competition. They make a pretend restaurant with the kids and catch a liar.
Interesting Tidbits
I LOVE this cover. Claudia’s looking around all shiftily (which apparently is a word, even though it doesn’t sound like one), suspecting everyone. Mary Anne is looking at Shea like she’s upset with him, like whatever’s wrong with that baked good she’s holding is his fault, while he’s like ‘I don’t know what happened.’ Oh, and the banner's really low-rent for a professionally-sponsored contest.

Ha! Claudia says Jamie isn’t her boyfriend, then ask if the reader knows any cool boys. I think she’d have better luck hanging out with Jamie, to be honest.
I love Claudia’s charm bracelet, which has a miniature Hershey Kiss, a book (for her Nancy Drews), a crane (Japanese sign for peace), a credit card, a crayon, etc.
“Sometimes I think my humor never developed much past the four-year-old stage.” I say something similar, except I never outgrew being a ten-year-old boy.
This book actually takes place before the last one, because Dawn is still around.
Claudia describes the members of the BSC as if they were charms on a charm bracelet as well. Kristy is a baseball; Mary Anne, a kitten. Dawn would be sunglasses; Stacey, the Empire State Building. I’m guessing Mal is a book and Jessi, a pair of ballet slippers. (I was half right; a pencil and toe shoes.) She even does Logan (soccer ball…I think that’s the only team he’s NOT on, but this is pre-Abby) and Shannon (drama masks).
I like that Claudia acknowledges the connection she formed with Shea. She also says he’s great with figures and measurements.
The other teams we meet that are competing? Logan, Austin and Kerry; Grace, Cokie (who actually gets too sick to compete), and Mari Drabek; Pete, Erica and Lauren; Bill Korman and his friends Greg Wilson and David Simpson, Sara Hill, Elizabeth Sayers (her best friend, who is mentioned anytime Sara is mentioned) and Brittany DePew; several teams of out of towners that I’ll mention when they come up.
I think it’s interesting that Kristy wants to be the Cake Cop, making sure everyone follows the rules. She’s the same person who wanted to work with the security guards in the mall mystery.
Both Claudia and Kristy are wearing hats when the kids’ contest begins. Claudia’s is a baker’s hat covered in baking images (self-decorated, of course.) Kristy is wearing a Cincinnati Reds hat…because it has a red C…and that stands for Cake Cop.
The first day, someone switches Claudia’s team’s baking soda for flour, so their cake ends up flat, and turns the oven up high on Logan’s team, so their cake is burnt. (Grace and Mari win that day.)
On day two, Grace and Mari’s oven catches on fire because someone added a ton of baking powder (which is highly flammable.) Austin, Logan and Kerry win that day.
One of the competitors, Julie Liu, has parents that keep on her ass, telling her she isn’t taking the contest serious enough, or being creative enough in her baking. They have to be thrown out.
Claudia’s thrilled about her family’s new cordless phone. Imagine how she’d be with a cell phone.
Claudia’s adjectives for her kreatif kake resapees (lol): awful, disgusting, inedible, mondo-horrendous, barf-o-rama and puke-tacular.
Rachel Kleinman, another member of another team, also has a father who is a little too interested in his daughter’s baking. But her dad used to work for the company that’s sponsoring the contest, making him a suspect. Another girl goes by ‘Precious’ and also has an overbearing parent.
The title quote isn’t about one of Claudia’s cakes, but her comment on some ant poison her mom asked her to buy. I don’t know why I chose that; it just struck my fancy. Grace catches Claudia buying it and accuses her of sabotage. Instead, the two of them team up to solve the mystery.
We’ve all known a girl like Grace. She’s pleasant and nice and decent on her own, but her friends are toxic and when she’s with them, she’s equally bad. That’s the kind of girl who finds a new group of friends in high school and becomes popular and nice…or stays with their bad friends throughout high school and then comes to regret it later.
Heh. Claudia calls one of the teams the ‘Cute Boy team’ and distracts herself from the contest wondering what she should say to let the members know she’s available and interested.
Interesting. This story has two Tylers—both babysittees—and two Julies, one a babysittee and the other a contestant.
The stupid C plot relates to Kyle and Megan Farmer. A calculator turns up missing and later a terrarium gets broken. Kyle points the finger at his sister both times, while Megan just kind of shrugs. She denies these behaviors until told Kyle said it, then admits to them. Obviously Kyle is responsible for everything. It’s ridiculous.
The third day brings someone switching out Claudia’s bag of sugar with one that was full of salt. (She notices because the whole bag is different.) And someone replaces Logan’s eggs with hardboiled ones. (Mary Anne’s mom’s cake wins this time.)
Jackie is actually a suspect for a while, because he keeps disappearing from the daycare. But it turns out a lady gave him some baking ingredients and he was secretly making his own ‘cake.’ Why would Jackie have sabotaged Shea’s cake? Even if he was jealous, switching salt for sugar and putting baking powder in cornstarch seem too advanced for a seven-year-old.
The final five teams are Claud’s, Grace’s, Logan’s, Julie’s and Rachel’s. Of course. Those two were the main kid suspects and their parents were the main adult suspects.
Continuity: no one in the BSC-verse likes anchovies except Kristy and Bart.
Shea stumbles upon an interesting clue: The teams that got sabotaged on the first day were the ones whose stations looked tidiest. Grace and Mari’s station was a mess because Mari just throws things everywhere. But after they won the first day, the culprit saw them as a threat and sabotaged them as well.
I have never had to write the word sabotage this many times before. It looks really weird and I keep thinking I’m spelling it wrong.
“We’re dealing with a devious criminal mind.” Ooh! Does that mean Shemar Moore will be showing up soon?
Scandal! (Not the TV show this time!) Marty, the guy running the contest, gets caught kissing Julie Liu.
Claudia hatches a plan to catch the saboteur in the act. Her team makes sure that both the main suspects hear they have a ‘foolproof’ plan for winning. They put their cake in Grace and Mari’s oven and then dust flour all over every surface in their workstation. The best part? One of the contest judges catches them at it and is like WTF? So they rope her into catching their prey.
The menu for the ‘Kidz Kitchen’ is interesting, and Claudia had input into neither the name nor the menu. (The kids did everything.)  You can get a frute plate and have your sandwich on raisen toast or hole wheat. You can also get a chery Jell-O Jiggler or have popcorn covered in parmisan cheese or cimmanon and sugar. One of the drink choices is leminade, and my personal favorite? “Bug Salad (not real bugs)”
Everyone was so surprised that Marty was kissing Julie earlier that none of them except Claudia caught the significance of the fact that Julie was driving the car they got out of. The junior contest was for children under sixteen. If Julie was old enough to have a license, she was at least sixteen. Marty claims he was sabotaging everything to get her parents off her back…so they could have more time together.
Heh. Shea is only nine, but he’s already trying to be all macho. Claudia and Mary Anne both say what a good time they had working with him, and he agrees. They get all emotional—Mary Anne cries, of course—but he tries to pretend he’s not as upset as they are.
Claudia dreams up all these different names for their chocolate cake after they win, such as Cake a la Claudia, since the cake will be in a cookbook. That makes no sense at all. (They end up calling it Alma’s Memory Cake, which is a nice and logical name…especially if the book makes note that it is in memory of Alma Spier.)
“What would the BSC be without Cokie for an enemy?” I actually preferred this one, where she was home with no voice for the whole book.
New Characters
Tyler and Emily Austin (12 and 8)—32 and 28
Nichole, Taylor and Tyler Lavista (6, 3 and 3)—26, 23 and 23
Morgan and Dana Singer (8 and baby)—28 and 20
Kyle and Megan Farmer (9 and 7)—29 and 27
Greg Wilson (9)—29
David Simpson (9)—29
Brittany DePew (9)—29
Joseph and Julie Rodowsky (5 and 3)—25 and 23

Next: #89, and I vlog Kristy. Can’t miss that! (Should be posted tomorrow, along with the next entry.)

“We wanted our beautiful faces to be the last things you see before taking off.” BSC #88: Farewell, Dawn (1995)

Before I reread this one, let’s discuss a little Dawn timeline.
#4: Dawn moves to CT from CA
#30: Mom gets married; she and MA (I’m all about the abbrev. today) become stepsisters
#67: Temporarily moves back to CA
SS #12 (between #80 and #81, I believe): Dad gets married; moves back to CT
#87: Finds out Sunny’s mom has cancer
#88: Moves back to CA (not really for good, since she narrates 2 more books and is in every SS for the rest of BSC-time.)
If Dawn’s visit to California was six months and 14ish books, then how long was she back in Connecticut before she turned around and moved back to California?
Anyhoo, people, obviously, Dawn decides she needs to permanently move back to California for two reasons. 1. She needs to be near Sunny while her mom’s dying. 2. Ann M. Martin decided she needed to write the California Diaries. (Yeah, I went there.) The most interesting part is that she doesn’t tell Mary Anne she’s leaving because she knows it would hurt her feelings; she procrastinates until MA finds out from someone else and is even more hurt.
In the B plot, James Hobart breaks his leg and the BSC throw him a Christmas party (in the middle of summer vacation) to cheer him up.
Interesting tidbits
Stop! Cover time! Is it just me, or is it really funny that Claudia and Kristy look so happy to see Dawn go? It’s more like “Good riddance!” than “Farewell!”

Hmm. Maybe #85 wasn’t a mistake when it had three separate pages stating the title. This one is the same way….
Oh look, there’s Norman. Let’s talk about his weight. *eye roll*
I love this: One phone call to Sunny and Dawn makes up her mind that she must move back to California.
Dawn says Stacey’s still changing, even with her return to the BSC. Teeki’s psychoanalysis? She seems to be having a crisis of self-esteem, not quite knowing who she is or where she stands. Very normal for a girl her age, if you ask me.
There’s one paragraph in chapter 2 that is indented further than the rest, and it’s extremely distracting.
This is actually nice and true about Mal: Dawn says she’s quick with a snappy retort. They do it subtly most of the time, but Mal is pretty sarcastic and quick witted.
Reactions to being told Dawn wants to move back to CA:
            Carol: Tells her to just come on back home (as if it’s that easy. Even Carol should know that it’s not.)
            Sharon: Says she hates it, but it’s Dawn’s choice and she respects it
            Richard: Waits for Sharon’s approval, then starts working on the legal aspects
            Kristy: ‘Oh no! I’m really going to miss you, but what is the BSC going to do?’ (my paraphrase)
            Mary Anne: feels betrayed because she hears it second hand (actually, sixth hand). She actually purposely smashes a mug on the floor
Nicky manages to get Margo to play football with him and the Hobart boys by imitating her and saying girls are horrible at the game. Most of the time he doesn’t want anything to do with the girls in his family, but it’s nice to see that he’s learned to read them so well. (Ben: “I’m not big on American football.” Mal: “That shows intelligence.”)
Aww, Claire is really sweet. Being the baby of the family, she doesn’t really get the chance to be comforting and supportive to others, but when James breaks his leg, Johnny starts crying. Claire gives him a hug and gets him to stop.
Mary Anne hears Dawn’s news from Logan, who heard it from Robert (who knew the two of them were friends?), who heard from Stacey, who heard from Claudia, who heard from Kristy. Dawn told Kristy not to tell anyone—she’d only informed her so that she could be aware as the BSC president. Who knew Kristy was such a gossip?
When MA finds out Dawn is leaving, they get into a fight and basically just call each other selfish (for only thinking about her own feelings, not the others). But Dawn gets mad and told MA she was glad she wasn’t her and didn’t feel the way MA did…because MA’s solution to problems is to sit there, worry and cry, while Dawn is more an action person. This is true, but not a nice thing to say, especially the way Dawn phrases it. I always forget how bitchy Dawn and Mary Anne get when they fight. I love it.
Sharon-itis: Christmas cards in with the cookie sheets. I actually understand this one…I lost my camera once and found it in my Christmas decorations nearly a year later. Last time I’d used it was at a Christmas party.
My favorite sitting client moment of the book is this ongoing rivalry between Jenny Prezzioso and Archie Rodowsky. He sprays her with faux snow and then the two of them fight over which of their macaroni ornaments looks better. (Who cares? It’s still macaroni.)
The Christmas in Summer idea for James was created simply because Christmas is the happiest time of the year and James was miserable. But it worked out better than they expected because Christmas occurs in summer in Australia. He felt like he was back home. Shannon sort of narrates that chapter, which works out pretty well. She makes a mention of being glad that she’d gotten more involved in the BSC, which makes Dawn sort of regret her choice to leave.
Heh. At Dawn’s going away party, there are two tables of food, Healthy Food and Dawn’s Yucky Food.
Stacey’s being all existential about her identity crisis. She tells Dawn that you have to follow your instincts or you won’t be happy in life, which gives Dawn more confidence about her decision.
The title quote is Claudia’s explanation about why the BSC came to the airport to say goodbye to Dawn.
Just a weird little nitpicky thing. (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have one of these!) Dawn’s flight is the “flight to California.” There are a LOT of airports in California. Even saying it’s the flight to LA wouldn’t probably be enough information.
I actually liked the BSC goodbyes. Some of them were boring, with people promising to write back and forth. But Shannon says she’ll write asking for advice, such as “How do I do a million things at once?” That’s mostly interesting because Shannon is always overbooked anyway. She doesn’t need Dawn’s advice on that.
Mary Anne, after she got over her fight with Dawn, was acting distant and cold and fake-polite. She told Dawn she had to deal with the move in her own way, which is fair enough. Finally, she gets all upset because she and Dawn won’t be sharing a bathroom at night to brush their teeth anymore. When Dawn was temporarily gone, Mary Anne imagined she was still there. But now that will be harder, so the two of them agree to each take a picture of herself brushing her teeth and send it to the other, to put in the bathroom.
The final chapter is all letters back and forth. There are a few highlights, such as Dawn acknowledging the fact that school starts back up earlier in CA than in CT. Jessi says she looks up to Dawn and wants her to know what their friendship has meant. James thanks Dawn for Christmas and says he too understands what it’s like to be homesick, which is really sweet. MA doesn’t want anyone to see the picture of her brushing her teeth ‘except parents’, but I have a feeling Jeff will see it, too, unless Dawn has her own private bathroom. And Mrs. Bruen will definitely see it when she cleans.
Oh, and of course Claudia writes a letter as well. The funniest part (aside from the spelling) is that she gets chocolate on the postcard but sends it anyway. Spelling: Weve, alredy, starded, buzy, amound, choclit, wile. She signs it luv, Claudia, but I can’t tell if that’s a spelling error or if Stacey’s rubbed off on her.
I only have two more Dawn books to read, #98 and her autobiography. I’m actually a little sad about that.
Mary Anne: blue and white plaid shorts, blue t-shirt
Dawn: white shirt, flowered blouse; gauzy blue sun dress with white buttons
Mr. and Mrs. Hill: jogging suits (whee!)
Claudia: oversized white cotton jumpsuit with jungle scene painted on one leg, pink sleeveless tee with purple sleeveless tee, safety pin and bead belt, parrot earrings; red shorts, green vest, white t-shirt, sandals with red and green ribbons

Next: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger. Sounds awesome!

“What were we accusing them of? Being Scottish?” BSC Super Mystery #1: Babysitters’ Haunted House (1995)

Lisa and Seth Engle, Karen and Andrew’s mom and stepdad, call the BSC needing two sitters to be parents’ helpers during a ten-day vacation in Maine. The four eighth grade BSC members (Dawn, Claudia, MA and Kristy) are all fighting over who will take the job, so Lisa offers to let all four of them come along; they get a free vacation in exchange for sitting the six kids all day long. The sitters keep seeing and hearing ‘ghosty’ things and try to find an explanation for it. Meanwhile, the kids are being kids (One hates Karen because she’s overbearing; one follows Dawn around everywhere; the third is mad because the only other two boys are five years older and five years younger than he is, respectively.) They find a mystery about an alleged treasure and ghosts in the attic, but it turns out that the caretaker couple are really just trying to scare the Menders family away because if they don’t move into the home, then the caretakers will inherit it.
Meanwhile, Jessi and Mal are trying to hold down the BSC fort with Shannon and Logan not able to make meetings or sit very much, which is actually more interesting than the A plot.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: Friggin’ Karen. The funniest part, though, is that everyone’s looking stage left…except Kristy.

The book starts with Claudia handwriting! Ooh! Allready, evry, entertin, hopefuly, vacatin, whith, ful. She also uses for for four. Heh.
Claudia ‘didn’t exactly pass’ English. That sounds like the way they phrase things these days to preserve kids’ self-esteem bubbles. Honestly, I can understand that in elementary school, but by middle school kids need to accept the consequences of failing. (In this case, though, I think it might be Claud’s phrasing rather than the school’s.)
More Claudia! Fourever, tempratur, ninty, freinds, finely (instead of finally), celabrate, whitch (which). I can’t figure out part of what she’s saying, either: “[We] were jumping out of our sivety skins with exsitment.” I might be reading ‘sivety’ wrong though.
Claudia bought Dawn some rice cakes but suggests that she’d get the same effect from chewing on paper. This is pretty much true.
Karen and Andrew get into a fight over which babysitters they’ll sit next to. Karen wants to sit next to Kristy and Mary Anne, while Andrew wants to sit next to Kristy and Claudia. Ha ha, no one wants to sit with Dawn (until they see her. Then Andrew wants to sit with ALL the sitters.)
Mary Anne recognizes the name of the town the Engles are visiting because she ‘read about it in a travel guide.’ Mary Anne does seem the sort who would just sit at home, reading travel guides, waiting for the day when she’s old enough to actually go places.
Ha! The convoy gets lost on the way to Maine and detour through Vermont. Instead of getting mad, Mary Anne actually likes it.
Dawn makes up for the fact that neither Karen nor Andrew wanted to sit with her by attracting the interest of Jill Menders, who decides she wants to be Dawn Jr. and copy her in every way.
First part of the ‘mystery’: Mary Anne and Kristy see candle light and hear ‘ghostly wailing’ their first night in Reese.
The oldest Menders son wants to be an actor when he grows up, so he goes around speaking in character. He scares the shit out of Dawn by coming up behind her and asking her, “Sleep well, my pretty?” Dawn says his acting is as good as Jeff’s comedy, which is obviously not a compliment.
Claudia decides that Georgio, the gardener, is a babe, but she capitalizes it: “He’s a Babe.” Makes me think of the pig…

Anyone surprised that Claudia really gets into the idea of making a float for the Founders’ Day parade? Me neither. Moving on.
More Claud spelling: beleve, thats, Saterday, wrighting, evrybody, notebok, rite (write), compositon, somthing, intresting.
Georgio is in college (University of Maine) and thinks Claudia is sixteen. He’s clearly hitting on her but she’s so busy suspecting him of being the ghost that she doesn’t even notice. Not to mention the fact that him being nineteen or older and hitting on fake-sixteen year olds is icky (and illegal).
Eww, Karen chapter. Can I throw up now or do I have to wait until it’s over?
Martha is reading The Secret Garden.
Heh. Logan and Karen have the same handwriting. In a letter to Mary Anne, he relates a BSC meeting he wasn’t even at, attended by Mal and Jessi. They get so desperate for sitters that Janine agrees to take a job. Then they forget to tell Logan about a sitting job they lined up for him, so Mal actually shows up at the Rosebud CafĂ© to get him to go. She grabs a loaf of bread from him, shakes it at him and then wrings it ‘like a handkerchief.’ I’m going to quote Logan’s letter: “Mal—acting president of the Babysitters Club—was still holding on to that pathetic loaf of bread when I rushed her out of the restaurant.” She then tells him she loves him and that the Stoneybrook Ambulance Services (which was having an auction, hence the need for so many sitters) should name an ambulance after him. Logan doesn’t love her much, but he puts up with Mary Anne’s ‘goofy friends.’
The babysitters keep confiding in the couple who are caretakers of the house, Elton and Margaret Cooper, about their suspicions about the ghost and the house. Which, for anyone who has ever read any of these books before, makes them the number one suspects. BSC members always tell the wrong things to the wrong people.
Elton tells the girls the story of the granddaughter of Reginald Randolph—that name’s a real tongue twister!—Lydia, who fell in love with the gardener. Her parents locked her up on the fourth floor to keep her from the gardener, who made a fortune and then came to rescue her. By the time he found her, she had white hair. Sounds like any ghost story you could find in any book for kids. Oh, and it's not true. Dawn’s supposed to be a big fan of those books, but she eats the story straight up. It’s kind of pathetic.
There’s some other malarkey about Reginald going off to sea and never coming back, and how his wife walked the widow’s walk at the top of the house for the rest of her life, until she was flung to her death in a storm. I can’t remember all the details, because I actually read that part a couple days ago….
Part of the reason the BSC went as a group to Reese was to try to convince the Menders kids that they liked Reese and help them adjust and make friends. This is a problem for several reasons:
1.                  Martha is shy and doesn’t want to talk to the other kids. She’d probably be fine if she were on her own, but Karen keeps trying to goad her into making friends. Of course Karen is completely unhelpful and annoying.
2.                  Jason doesn’t want to be near the girls, so Kristy keeps trying to take him to meet the other boys in the area. But since Karen is being obnoxious, the other boys won’t come near him. He calls them stuck up.
3.                  Jill only wants to be with Dawn. She says she doesn’t want to move to Reese; she’d rather move to Stoneybrook and live next to Dawn. (I keep waiting for Dawn’s patience to end and for her to wind up telling Jill off.)
4.                  Lionel thinks he can’t become a ‘real’ actor if he’s stuck in Reese…despite the fact that they have summer stock productions and he could act in them.
Honestly, I can’t decide why Lionel is the sitters’ responsibility. He’s older than they are and has been spending most of his time following Dawn around as much as Jill does. (He’s figured out she’s very easy to spook.)
Dawn thinks the cat Jill found is a ghost. Because that worked out so well the firsttime she thought that.
Kristy manages to get Jason to make some friends…by agreeing to coach all the boys in a game of softball. Bo-ring!
Mallory and Jessi feel like they’ve ruined the club by not having sitters available for all the jobs that pop up. But really. What do they think happens when they whole BSC goes on vacation all those other times? There are going to be times when there are no sitters available. The BSC can’t be the only sitters in town.
Claudia spelling! Disapointed, freind, sory, grandparrents, scarey, midle. She also uses steel for steal.
There’s actually an Andrew chapter, about the mini-fair held by the swim team Mary Anne was trying to convince Jill and Martha to join. Because Mary Anne had asked about the Randolph house at the historical society and was told a ‘woman with an accent’ had asked about the same thing not long before, the babysitters are tracking women who ‘sound like Mary Poppins.’
After Dawn decides to play in the dumbwaiter (which was hidden behind a painting), she finds a couple of interesting things. Someone had put a tape recorder in there, and it had to be open somewhere because the cat was able to climb in and have a seat in the elevator part. Also, Mrs. Cooper, who supposedly had no voice and was unable to speak, could in fact talk. (In fact, Dawn eventually admits she had an accent…which most likely makes her Mary Poppins.)
The final key to the mystery comes when Mr. Menders states that the will stipulates he only actually inherits the mansion if he lives in it full time; otherwise, it goes to his cousin Charles, who had moved overseas years before.
The title quote is a paraphrase of why Kristy doesn’t tell Lisa her suspicions about the Coopers before all the adults leave for the day.
“I almost wish I still thought the house was haunted.” I’ll give you three guesses who wrote that, and the first two don’t count.
Jessi and Mal found out that the meetings were slow (after the first one) because a lot of clients went on vacation, not because they’d ‘ruined’ the club. But there’s a mistake in among that mess: Mal is scheduled to take both her siblings and the Rodowskys to the fair that’s going to be held in Stoneybrook, while Jessi is supposed to supervise Becca, the Braddocks and the some other kids. Yet when Jessi calls the Braddocks a few days before the fair, Mrs. Braddock tells her they’re leaving right that moment on a two week camping trip. It’s as if they didn’t keep track of which family was which and meant to mention someone else was going on vacation.
Ooh, one last set of Claudia spelling: Wat (twice), nigt, forgit, evrybody, floot, sory, scard, costum.
So the Menders kids all end up liking Reese and so they decide to move there. Lionel joins the summer stock and agrees to coach Jason and his new friends in baseball. Jill becomes a junior babysitter by supervising Martha at swim practice (this lets her be like Dawn a little); they both make friends on the swim team.
In the epilogue, Georgio writes a letter to Claudia, who responds…by typing him a letter. Probably so she could use spell check! (She also finally tells him she’s thirteen.)
There was this whole lame thing about Uncle Randolph dying and mentioning his treasure in the attic. The BSC looks but doesn’t find any jewels, but the Menderses let Andrew keep a toy boat he finds. The boat’s name? Treasure. Yep.
Claudia: blue lycra bike shorts, lacy black tank top, man’s white dress shirt, purple and white checked socks, red high tops, hoop earrings with parrots on them (sounds positively nauseating); pink and red abstract floral pattern sundress, pink baseball cap, yellow glass earrings, red high tops; black gauzy skirt, black leotard, dangly glass earrings; same black skirt with a red tank top
Dawn: t-shirt and shorts over swimsuit; sundress and sandals (Jill asks her every day what she’s going to wear so they can be matchy, hence the attire); pink tank top, long skirt, fake pearls
Jill: Dawn’s skirt and a tank top (so she looks like Dawn, natch)
Lionel: seventy year old tux; white linen pants and beige shirt; cutoffs, Red Sox t-shirt, sideways ball cap
New characters
Lionel, Jillian (Jill), Jason and Martha Menders (14, 10, 9 and 7)—34, 30, 29 and 27

Next: Farewell, Dawn