Monday, December 7, 2015

“Where do radiators come from? Well, first a mommy radiator and a daddy radiator have to meet…” BSC Mystery #25: Kristy and the Middle School Vandal (1996)

This one is a big ball of awesome sauce. Why? I’ll tell you why! Two words: Cary Retlin.

Okay, so the cover’s a little premature here, but there ya go. This is Cary’s first appearance on the cover. He’s got the same haircut as this boy I had a giant crush on, starting in fifth grade and ending sometime around high school graduation. He and Kristy are not only dressed alike, they’re also wearing Twin Hideous Expressions.
Kristy tells Cary to stop pranking, and in return, he challenges the BSC to a mystery contest. He gives them a series of clues that lead to another clue…if the BSC solves the mystery in a time frame, Cary will stop pulling pranks.
Meanwhile, the Mischief Knights (presumed but never proven to be Cary and possibly some friends) have ramped up their pranks, but something’s off. The new pranks are less mischievous and more criminal. Plus, instead of using red ink, a MK signature, these new pranks use green ink. Eventually it comes out that someone colorblind is using the MK name to commit these crimes. Cary has the BSC’s mystery contest lead to the identity of the fake knight.
In the B plot, the BSC sets up a ridiculous scavenger hunt for the kids.
Interesting Tidbits
Huh. Kristy’s the only short person in her family. She figures she’ll grow eventually, like a late bloomer. That’s an interesting perspective, considering there’s a lot of theory on Kristy being a sexual late bloomer as well. Or, you know, a lesbian. But in either case, the late bloomer idea would also be another explanation for her not needing a bra.
Hint #1: Abby, Kristy and Shannon are all sharing a hammock, just relaxing and having fun. Abby flashes back to #96, and the boy selling the study guides. Shannon: “Who’s Brad Simon? Is he smart? Is he cute?” Abby’s disgusted at Shannon’s naïve taste in men. Both he and another boy, Troy Parker, both got two week suspensions recently.
INNNNNNN-teresting: Apparently, the dangling plot-point of SM#2—the notes to Mary Anne and Logan—were actually written by the Mischief Knights. Would have been nice if they’d said that at the time.
Abby makes a Mischief Knight pun…and then a pun pun. “What you need to do, Kristy, is catch Cary red-handed. Get it?” “Are you calling me a punhead?”
I love how dismissive Cary is about the BSC and their mysteries. “Do you make citizens’ arrests, too?” He also calls them the babysitter detective squad and BSCPD, too.
Cary takes Kristy’s watch, and says if he wins the contest, he gets to keep it. Kristy’s upset about this, because it’s a ‘fun’ watch—digital, with a bunch of accessories on it. I’m thinking of one of my favorite books:
            Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the
            western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.
            Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an
            utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended
            life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches
            are a pretty neat idea.
Do you think Claudia even knows who Jerry Garcia is? Dawn, definitely. Abby (who said her mom used to love the Grateful Dead), sure. But Claud? She’s probably more familiar with Cherry Garcia.
I love how, every now and then, they throw out the fact that Mal likes to carry a briefcase. It’s weird, sure, but it’s also quirky.
In this book, Abby is described as ‘medium height’, while she was very tall in book #89.
I think this sums up the Abby-Kristy relationship right here: “Abby just won’t back down, even when I know I’m right.” You know Abby would basically say the same thing about her, too.
Claudia is talking with her mouth full and her speaking is described as ‘gummily.’ A) I love that term and B) spell check says it’s a real word!
Okay, BSC quiz time. Only those with a 100 percent score will be allowed to keep reading. Ready? Here we go.
            Who suggested which theme for the scavenger hunt?
1.    Jessi                     a. School
2.    Mallory                 b. Summer
3.    Abby                     c. Art
4.    Claudia                d. Sports
5.    Abby                     e. Famous Writers
6.    Mallory                 f. Dance
Clue # 1: Get your mother (understands). It leads to the gym, under the stands.
Fake MK incident # 1: A car that looks exactly like the vice principal’s bar the color is graffitied with green marker
Hint # 2: Troy Parker, the boy who got suspended with Brad, is in the gym. Claudia remarks on his bad color sense.
Clue # 2: First, it says ‘a clue’ on the envelope. Kristy says that makes Cary sarcastic, which I don’t quite get. But, here’s the clue: A drop of golden sun; just short of failing, a skater’s figure; not him, you see, but… (where does it all come from?) If you’re following that…it’s Re (Julie Andrews, y’all), D (not an F), 8 (figure eight as double four…), Her (not him): Radiator.
While they’re working that out, though, the club tries all sorts of ideas. They try to go The Sound of Music from the first bit, getting the first letter of each music note: drmfsltd. Unfortunately, it has no meaning…not even in ‘Claudia’s dictionary.’
The title quote is Abby’s take on the last piece of the clue. (Stacey determines they actually have to go to the boiler room.)
There’s this whole subplot relating to everything else about how the teachers will strike if an agreement can’t be reached soon. A member of the school board brings up the problems with the Mischief Knights as an example of why the teachers don’t deserve more money. It’s really just an excuse to set him (Mr. Oates, though Abby calls him Mr. Votes after they learn he wants to use the school board as a stepping stone to run for mayor) and a weird school custodian as suspects in the crimes.
Kristy decides that “The Clue in the Boiler Room” sounds like a Nancy Drew book. I snicker a little bit each time someone suggests their mystery is like a Nancy Drew or Claudia wonders what Nancy would do.
Clue # 3 is labeled le clue and reads “Toasted gloves or barbecued bats, anyone?”                                                      It’s a pretty obvious reference to the building that burned to the ground back in #74.
Fake MK incident # 2: the fire alarm gets pulled twice in one day.
Hint # 3: Troy is once again near the BSC while they’re outside in the aftermath of the fire alarm. Claudia and Stacey critique his outfit (‘Grunge is so over’) and Abby suggests he got it at a fire sale. This is both a really bad pun and an excuse for Troy to show up wearing hideous clothes again. Although, the custodian and Mr. Oates are both at the school at the time as well.
Kristy dismisses Cary as a suspect in the criminal MK acts, stating: “Cary was too sold in his own cleverness.” Basically, these acts were not Cary’s style. In my words, they didn’t have his sense of flair. (Later, he mentions that the acts lack subtlety, which is also true. Cary’s stuff is usually things that are more subtle and pretty harmless, like how he erases the answers on Kristy’s math homework.)
Here’s something for Mal to put on her resume: Experienced with charging herds of kids. It might be useful in some odd set of circumstances…maybe….
Mal and Stacey actually synchronize their watches before setting off on the first scavenger hunt.
Clue # 4: cafeteria hamburger + A Theory of Man and Woman - SMS on street = a fly on the wall of… It takes the BSC a while to work this one out. Stacey dominates this one, determining it’s numerical. Hamburger: $1.69. Theory’s card catalog number: 305. SMS: 358 Elm Street. That works out to classroom 116, where they find a giant photo of a fly.
Ha! The local newspaper runs an editorial about the vandalism in the school, followed by a bunch of letters to the editor. One of them is written by the same crotchety old man who complained during the whole Mischief Night Masquerade thingee.
Fake MK Incident # 3: A bathroom gets flooded
Mary Anne’s concerned that the green used by the fake Mischief Knights doesn’t fit their aura. Admittedly, she says it’s what Dawn would say, but it still sounds kind of funny. It does lead her to consider that it’s a frame up, someone trying to put the blame on the real Mischief Knights.
Clue # 5: “Nothing personal, Claudia, but check your spelling.” Claudia figures out it means the computer she used to use to write her personals column in #71. It makes her spell a bunch of words, including peculiar. “I think you should be able to spell peculiar any way you want to. It goes with the definition.” It leads them straight to…
Clue # 6: “B2 or not B2…that is the question. (Are you sitting down?)” This one takes the BSC a while, and threw me off entirely…because I’d read it Shakespearean out of force of habit (to be, not B2). It’s a clearly a reference to the aforementioned seat in the auditorium.
Funniest part of Kristy and Claudia in the newspaper office: The computer is giving the spelling test out loud. Kristy keeps waiting for Emily (the paper editor…remember?) to comment, but she waits until everything is over. Then she says she knows Cary is behind it because he came in and asked a bunch of questions about Claudia. This is presumably where he learns how bad Claudia’s spelling is, but Emily jumps to the assumption that Cary has a thing for Claud.
Ooh, remember how Abby referred to Jessi as Jessica in #96? In a joint notebook entry, Abby makes a really bad pun about dancing. In return, Jessi calls her Abigail.
The second scavenger hunt is sports themed, and one of the items asks for something that might be dirty on the court. Jessi’s team (the girls) decide on socks, so they go to that well-known local athlete…Mrs. Porter/Morbidda Destiny. Riiiiiight. Good plan.
Mary Anne says Dawn will be there for the summer, which sets up the last two Dawn books.
Clue # 7: Envelope reads ‘Clue—in case you hadn’t noticed.’ See why I love Cary? What a goof ball. Anyway, the inside says, “Hey Abby. IPA2tFotUSoAand2tR. (look up)” There’s also a drawing of four Harry-Pottery wizards. They don’t figure this one out right away.
Fake MK Incident # 4: The sets for the school play are trashed, right in front of Mr. Oates and the custodian, making them seem more suspicious
Ooh, I like this. The reporter for the Stoneybrook News is Ms. Bernstein. The editor for the SMS paper is Emily Bernstein. Think they’re related?
Kristy turns Cary into the principal after the BSC is caught at the scene of the crime in the auditorium. He shows up at Claudia’s during a BSC meeting to talk to Kristy. A) It’s funny that he knows when the BSC meets, but not entirely out of character. B) He gives her all his alibis for the Fake MK incidents, which is hilarious. First he states that he’s not able to telekinetically turn on faucets in the bathroom, then he offers to get a sworn affidavit from the sixth grader he was tutoring during the auditorium incident.
Is anyone surprised that Mallory spent an inordinate amount of time putting all the clues in the mystery notebook the night before? No? Me neither.
The first scavenger hunt featured Stacey and Mal; the second, Abby and Jessi. The third? MA and Claud. Which means…spelling! (It should be noted that earlier, during her spelling test, we only see Claudia’s spelling on one word: poetatoe.) Awsome, scavinger, realy, reserch, totaly, luved. She also spells Mary Anne wrong as well.
Here’s the problem with the scavenger hunt. There are points for how many items you can find, as well as how quickly you get back (the teams have an hour; lateness costs points) and also creativity. But the three different scavenger hunts have three different themes, so how can you compare stinky gym socks to a square of astro turf from a different list of clues? They do end up declaring a winner, but it’s silly and so subjective.
Back to the last clue: Once they start solving it—Abby takes this clue very personally, since it has her name in it—it should be pretty obvious. And it is. She figures out that USoA is United States of America (duh) and then both Kristy and Abby determine that the rest of the random letters/numbers are the Pledge of Allegiance. The four Harry Potters? Four Witches Stand…or, for which it stands. The clue is found on the flag in the homeroom Abby and Cary share.
Oh, and when Abby finds it, she reads, “Bring me the head of the false Mischief Knight!” But when I first read it, I thought she’d shouted it out loud, instead of that being the last clue. Can you imagine what kind of response that would bring from anyone else who happened to be nearby and had no idea what was going on? Not that Abby’s the type to shy away from that. I could even picture her cackling evilly afterward….
So I just spoiled the last clue for you, obviously. Kristy wonders whether Cary knows the identity of the false Mischief Knight, and if he does, would he turn the person in if the BSC doesn’t figure it out. “Or did he think going to school in the middle of summer was another one of those complications that make life more interesting?” I love it when they reference my favorite BSC line of all time.
It’s around this time that the BSC Mary Anne realizes that the fake Mischief Knight is colorblind, unable to tell the difference between green and red. It explains why the fake MK always writes in green instead of red, as Cary does, as well as mistaking a teacher’s green car for the vice principal’s red car of the same model. Claudia then makes the connection that it must be Troy, whose clothes never match.
Someone calls Mary Anne ‘Sherlock Spier’…and no, it’s not Abby. That’s more surprising than the nickname itself.
I like this: Even though they suspect Troy is the faux Mischief Knight, Kristy halts the group from going to the principal again…because she already turned in the wrong person once. Good to know Kristy has a conscience.
So, to get more proof, the BSC decides to…break into Troy’s locker. Because I know if I were the principal, I’d be swayed with some illegally gathered evidence. Now, kids do not have a right to privacy in their school lockers, but as a general rule, you can’t open just one person’s locker without some proof. Random locker checks—every locker in this hallway, for example—are acceptable, but you can’t target one person without proof.
Cary says the BSC needs him, because he keeps them from being complacent and boring. I looooooove (luv, maybe?) it. And to prove it, he papers Kristy’s locker with magazine perfume ads…the type that have a sample of the perfume.
Nannie: overalls covered in dirt and grass, giant hat, gardening gloves (hee hee!)
Watson: ancient dirty khakis, giant hat, gardening gloves and pitchfork (but apparently, no shirt. Go Watson!)
Emily Michelle: Oshkosh overalls, sunbonnet.
Claudia: baggy white overalls, yellow, pink and green tie dye t-shirt, white socks with pink hearts, pink jellies, a ring on every finger, peace sign earrings, and a button with ‘Jerry Garcia lives’ on it
Stacey: black leggings, silver t-shirt dress, heart earrings, black and silver headband
Mrs. Prezzioso: ‘blinding’ tennis whites
Jenny: perfectly creased overalls, scallop-edged white shirt, red bandana around her neck, red lace-trimmed socks and white sneakers

Next: one of my favorites. It’s got my five favorite sitting charges, four of them in large doses. And, I’m pretty sure it’s the only BSC book to ever use the word FART! You have to love that, right?

“Taking peaches to the hospital? Is this some kind of ancient birthing ritual?” BSC #97: Claudia and the World’s Cutest Baby (1996)

I have never read this one before, and here’s why: I could just tell from the back cover that Claudia was going to be a grade-A first-class pain in the ass through the whole book.
Peaches finally has a baby, a little girl she names Lynn—Claudia’s middle name. She names Claudia as godmother and Claudia takes her role too seriously. She acts as if, as an experienced babysitter, she knows more about parenting than poor naïve Peaches and Russ. She spends all her time at their house. As a result, she quickly gets on their nerves. After Claudia wakes Lynn up when she just got her to sleep, Peaches snaps at Claudia about a variety of things that had been building up all book long. While Claudia is mad at Peaches, several of the BSC members go on a school trip to Philadelphia. A girl named Melissa follows Claudia around and drives her nuts the whole trip. After Melissa convinces her to ditch the group, they wind up lost in Philadelphia alone. Claudia chews her out, and Melissa later apologizes and says that she was trying so hard to be cool she didn’t realize she was being a pest. It makes Claudia think about how Peaches and Russ must have been feeling. She agrees to give them more space.
In the subplot, the Arnold twins are sneakily watching a scary movie during Logan’s sitting job. It freaks them out so badly that they are still scared when Mary Anne sits for them. They wind up watching a ‘making of’ special and seeing how all the scary things were faked, and then they make a movie of their own. This literally takes three chapters out of the book and is completely pointless.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover. LOVE Claudia’s outfit. And DAMN, baby Lynn’s got a lot of hair.

The story starts with the Kishis looking at an ultrasound of the baby. Claudia thinks ultrasound pictures are hideous, but the rest of her family is busy trying to name the baby. (Not really their job, by the way.) Peaches and Russ must know they are having a girl by this point, because the names they suggest are Arianna (Janine), Hideyoshi (Mrs. Kishi—it was Mimi’s sister’s name) and Mimi (Claudia).
Since we’re discussing names here, I have an opinion on the names in the Kishi family. Mrs. Kishi is Rioko, because her mother wanted to honor her Japanese roots. Mr. Kishi has an all-American name, John. And then their daughters’ names are even more telling. The same source for the Jewish-name essay from last week has another discussion about the image of various names. A lot of times, parents project an image of what they want their child to become based upon the name they use. It could be something as simple as using a traditionally feminine name for your daughter versus using a unisex name (Christina v. Alexis, for example). There’s also the idea of what kind of image the name brings up. The author mentions three types of image. Some names are artistic, like Claudia. It’s melodious and just sounds a little arty. On the other hand, some names are serious and studious. I’m not sure that Janine is on the official list, but it’s a much more serious name than Claudia is. A lot of time in literature, the types of names used portray the image you’re supposed to get of the character before the story even starts. For example, in Little Women, the three more traditional sisters are Meg, Beth and Amy, while the tomboy sister with big dreams is Jo. It’s definitely true here: Janine’s name is a little bit staid, much like Janine herself, her clothes and personality. Claudia is artsy, so her name is more artistic.
Claudia makes a horrible science joke: physics is the art of putting bubbles in soda.
Ha! Continuity: Claudia thinks she was switched at birth. It doesn’t mention it, but obviously this is because she knows she wasn’t adopted.
Heeeey, here’s a fanfic idea! Claudia knows she wasn’t really switched at birth because she’s got Mimi and Peaches’ genes. What if…Claudia was really Peaches’ daughter, born when she was really young, so her sister and brother-in-law adopted her? Would explain the connection between them and also why Claudia and Janine have such different names.
“I don’t know why I don’t weigh 300 pounds.” I don’t either, Claud.
Logan’s take on the ultrasound picture? “What is this? Some kind of underground fungus?” To be fair, this is before anyone tells him what the picture is. Plus, Peaches faxed the photo over, so it’s a grainy ultrasound made grainier by the fax.
Stacey, regarding Abby: “Who turned her on?” That’s a dumb question. Abby is always on. You need to ask how to turn her off.
“They talk about Saddle Club characters as if they’re real people.” I don’t know anyone who does this about their favorite book series. *Whistles shiftily and walks away*
The title quote is Abby’s response to Peaches going into labor. Obviously, she hadn’t heard Claudia’s aunt identified by name.
Claudia’s whole family rushes to the hospital because Russ calls. But when they’ve been there for a while, they find out she’s only at one centimeter and sometime later, they induce. I don’t know why the Kishis didn’t go home and wait for a call saying the baby had been born.
I like Russ. Mrs. Kishi asks how ‘she’ is, and he says that she has ten fingers, ten toes and a strong cry. Mrs. Kishi says she meant Peaches, and Russ responds, “So did I.”
After Logan hears that baby Lynn was born, he says, “Does she look like the fax?” Can you tell this is a Peter Lerangis book?
Why do all these characters know so much about classic television? Usually it’s I Love Lucy, but last week Abby was watching Leave it to Beaver and this week Logan’s familiar with Mary Tyler Moore. I can understand the first two—sorta—although I personally always found Beaver boring. But I never would have sat down to watch Mary Tyler Moore when I was a kid. It’s not really kid friendly humor, although I love it now as an adult. Maybe it’s something Logan’s parents liked to watch, kind of like how I’m familiar with Barney Miller even though it’s not really kid friendly either.
Claudia careful constructs a banner, checking to make sure all the words are spelled properly. And then Janine makes fun of her punctuation. (She writes Welcome, Home Lynn.)
Ha! Claudia refers to a swaddled Lynn as having the ‘baby burrito’ look. My friend Zee still ‘burritos-up’ her son with special needs every night when he goes to sleep, even though he’s four.
Claudia doesn’t seem to realize that, by staying all day, “helping” (by breaking their coffee maker) and inviting her friends over, she’s draining Peaches and Russ’ already precious stores of energy. I really don’t blame them for eventually kicking her out.
Real books (which Mary Anne reads to the Arnolds): Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and There’s a Nightmare in my Closet, The Catcher in the Rye (which Mary Anne reads to herself).
Continuity: Claudia overpacks to the point of ridiculousness. She only needs two changes of clothes, which should fit into a backpack, but she has a huge suitcase overstuffed. Not a surprise. Abby: “Claudia, how many times did I tell you not to pack your suit of armor?” and later: “The wardrobe that ate Philadelphia!”
Claudia, regarding the class trip visit to the U.S. mint: “I love mint!” Ha! Leave it to her to think about food even though she just ate off a buffet.
I like this one: Claudia suggests that Abby has a writer, and that’s how she comes up with all her ‘lines.’
I don’t know why, but I feel like Peaches and Russ used to have a different last name. I was thinking Anderson, for some reason, but please don’t quote me on that. Claudia is eating breakfast and sees cling peaches on the same buffet as eggs Benedict, so she starts freaking out. I just plowed through earlier books with Peaches in them (#26 and #78) and didn’t find any last name, so I must just be hallucinating that, though.                                       
Of course Abby wanted to run the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art while humming the theme to Rocky. Who wouldn’t?
The movie the Arnold twins make with Kristy? The Twins who Mutilated their Babysitter. Plot self-explanatory.
Another awesome movie title? Home Alone 13, Lost in Philadelphia, starring Claudia and Melissa.
Mrs. Bernhardt, who is one of the Dollies from book #75, is the teacher who took all these kids to Philadelphia. She’s mad as hell at Claudia and Melissa after they wander off and get lost, but eventually tells them that she once wandered away from her parents…at the Grand Ole Opry. That’s so perfect.
Umm, after getting in so much trouble—and getting lost—that afternoon, why in hell would Claudia suggest sneaking out after ‘lights out?’ Even worse, they don’t get in trouble for that, so the lesson to girls reading these books is ‘You’ll get away with it the second time!’
So Claudia calls her aunt and apologizes, promising to call before showing up from now on, and only stay a short time. Yay, happy ending.
In the author’s note, AMM mentions her first words, which were ba—bird—and ackaminnie—ice cream. Sound familiar to anyone?
New Characters
Lynn Benedict (newborn)—19

Coming up next: Mystery #25. I do love me some Cary Retlin, y’all.

“…as if her earlobes were these weird earlobe cat doors.” #96: Abby’s Lucky Thirteen (1996)

Oh, boy! I kinda like this book. Abby gets in trouble for something that really isn’t her fault, which happens sometimes in real life. Plus, as I’ve said before, I like Abby and I especially like the fact that Abby isn’t really studious and her mother isn’t all Kishi-like about it. Abby’s allowed to get mediocre grades without it causing World War III in her house. It’s a nice contrast to poor Claudia, and realistic to boot.
Before I explain that any further, let’s vlog the BSC and social media.

And yes, you’ve seen all of me now!
Abby buys a ‘study guide’ off a kid she doesn’t know for a test she didn’t prepare for. What she doesn’t realize is that the guide is actually a copy of the test with the answers all written in. The teacher figures out what’s going on because a group of kids all have the same exact answers to every question, including the ones that were wrong on the ‘study guide.’ Abby tries to explain that she didn’t know what she was buying but the teacher doesn’t believe her, so she gets suspended. Meanwhile, Abby and Anna are studying to become Bat Mitzvahs and all these family members are coming together. Abby’s mom catches her trying to hide her suspension. Abby learns a lesson about being and adult because of all of this. Best of all, after another BSC member almost buys a study guide as well, Abby is vindicated in the eyes of her teacher.
In the subplot, the parents of Stoneybrook decide to turn off the television, so the kids start making up their own television shows and acting them out.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: Abby looks really Goth, especially compared to Anna in pink.

Am I the only one who has the urge to pronounce Anna as ‘Ana’, like Princess Anna from Frozen? I’ve always said it that way, and I’m not sure why.
Right above the ‘manuscript assistant’ notification in this book is another thanks, to a group of people who shared their Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah stories. One of them is David Levithan. Think it is the David Levithan?
Abby says she used to be the star of her old middle school’s soccer team, but in #89, Anna said Abby wasn’t a team player and didn’t join sports teams. I guess the authors changed their mind.
Abby makes a couple of violin puns so bad I’m not going to repeat them. Instead, I’ll do it one better and quote Emily Litella: “What’s all this fuss I keep hearing about violins on television?
Did you know a Bat Mitzvah can’t bite you in the ankle? I learn something new every time I read a BSC book. *snicker*
Real book: Turning Thirteen.
Abby starts off by sorta lying to her mother. She was out with a cold two days before a math quiz she flunked. She tells her mother her teacher didn’t care that she’d been out, which was true. But Abby doesn’t mention that she’d been neglecting her math for a while before and didn’t work on it at all during her two days out sick.
This is (slightly) interesting (probably only to me): Abby lists the members of the group and calls Jessi Jessica. But she calls Kristy and Stacey by their nicknames. I’m not sure what that means, but I find it intriguing.
Also interesting, and something a lot of feminists say: Abby posits that people who call Kristy bossy are just uncomfortable with a self-assured, outspoken female. I disagree to some extent—Kristy IS bossy—but it’s sort of true. The friend of mine I mentioned in my vlog who is all about causes is, among other things, all about feminist causes. She says that people who call women bitches are just uncomfortable with a confident woman who won’t back down…which I don’t completely disagree with.
Abby likes Claudia’s snacks…because athletes need carbs. This is proof that you can twist any piece of information any way you want to make it sound good. This, and my local newspaper, and my Facebook feed….
Claudia showed up to the BSC meeting looking like a bumble bee. See below.
Mallory’s mentioned having brown eyes, but I swear the whole Pike family has blue eyes. Anyone back me up on this? I know they mention it in book #14, but they also say Mallory has chestnut-brown hair in that book as well. In later books they alternate between saying her hair is red or reddish brown.
Abby keeps referencing Leave it to Beaver. It’s what she was watching instead of doing her homework, and then she’s thinking about how surreal it is during math class instead of paying attention. (Sidenote: The Cleavers? Surreal? Really? Abby doesn’t say surreal, but it’s what she’s alluding to. I guess in an era of divorces and dysfunctional families, the ‘Gee Shucks’ type of world of Leave it to Beaver would seem pretty surreal. Never mind.)
Claudia spelling: terible, plott, parnts, togethar, telavision. Oh, and she references Jeny Prezzziohso. Hee hee!
Hmm. Mary Anne’s babysitting for the Arnold twins, and it got me thinking: does AMM think that all identical twins have completely opposite personalities and one of them likes music? I knew a set of identical twins when I was young whose names were just as similar as Marilyn and Carolyn, and the two of them would finish each other’s sentences and liked all the same things. As they got older, they could have developed separate interests, but I always pictured them being more like Adam and Jordan Pike, who share the same interests and are very good friends….
Mr. Arnold is Jack. Why are so many dads in this series Jacks/Johns/Jonathans?
Margo is a fan of a show called Mr. Pinhead. I’d watch it!
This is funny: Claudia suspects that Jenny Prezzioso (Jeny Prezzziohso?) will grow up to be a patron of home shopping networks.
“When in doubt, eat chocolate.” It’s a slogan MA once saw on a t-shirt. How did she see my shirt? (Okay, I don’t really own a shirt that says that. But I want one now!)
Abby is startled to discover the study guide another kid she didn’t know sold her was a copy of the actual test. She tries to get up the nerve to tell the teacher what happened, but it doesn’t happen. And then—I like this—her conscience gets the better of her and she keeps having nightmares and being plagued by having done something wrong. Buying the study guide—if it actually was a study guide, like Abby assumed—wasn’t wrong, but not telling the teacher the truth once she figured out what was going on was.
Anna quotes a Nike commercial, but doesn’t mention the brand name. She just says ‘athletic shoes.’ At first I thought this was funny because they have no problem mentioning certain brand names in this series—Laura Ashley, anyone?—but then I realized it was more Anna not being athletic herself and only paying a little attention to the commercials. She heard the ‘Just do it’ but not the rest of the ad.
Abby’s math teacher is Ms. Frost, which leads to this: “Her voice was cold. And for once, no pun is intended.”
Abby and four other kids are all suspended. Much like another math-cheating story, the teacher becomes concerned because Abby’s score is exactly the same as the other kids. Not only that, they all missed the same question…in the exact same way. I can understand both the teacher and principal’s assumption that the kids cheated. And in a way, they did. They didn’t copy each other, Shauna style, but they cheated all the same. (Abby’s cheating was, of course, inadvertent.)
Okay, so here’s the thing that gets me. Abby doesn’t want her mother to know about the suspension, so she erases the message from the school on her answering machine. In my experience, that kind of deception makes things much worse. I would have been in so much trouble if I’d gotten suspended at Abby’s age…but so much more trouble if I’d erase an answering machine message about it. Anna even says as much to Abby when she finds out. (See below.)
Mallory: “You can tell Vanessa’s really upset. She forgot to speak in rhyme.” And Mal doesn’t whisper this to one of the other sitters…she says it out loud, causing half the group (which includes all the Brewer-Thomas kiddos, the Pikes and the Braddocks) to snicker.
The combined group then goes on to create their own ending to a Ghostwriter-style kids mystery show called Cassandra Clue’s Casebook that they love. I was thinking of a book I’d read where the children created their own soap opera based upon The Edge of Night. I was realizing how similar the two plots were…when I realized that the other book was Ann M. Martin’s Belle Teal. Now it all makes sense.
Abby actually takes the bus to school even though she’s suspended. When I was in school, they told the bus drivers when kids were suspended so that they wouldn’t let them on the bus. I know her mom is home, so she has to leave the house, but wouldn’t it have been just as easy to leave the house and then walk into town? Especially because she lies to the BSC so they don’t know about the suspension either. She tells them she’s staying home to study her Torah. How does she get on the bus and not arouse Kristy’s suspicions?
This is funny: “It sounded almost as if I were missing school. Even worse, it sounded as if I were missing the school lunches!”
Ha! I do love this as well. Abby goes to eat lunch at Pizza Express the last day of her suspension…and her mother catches her. Going back to what I said earlier, it’s hard to tell whether Abby’s punishment is worse because she lied to her mother, but I do know this. Abby’s more hurt by her mother considering her a liar and saying she’s disappointed in her, than she is by the month-long grounding.
Come to think of it, Abby’s grounding is a lot less severe than Kristy’s from the last book. Yes, it’s a lot longer, but she’s allowed to go to her afterschool activities and babysit…she just can’t visitors or make phone calls.
I do like this, too, for its realism. When Abby told Ms. Frost the truth about the ‘study guide,’ she didn’t believe her. It does sound like a bit of a ridiculous story, after all. (Think about it as an adult…why wouldn’t Abby realize what she had was a copy of the test? And how did she come to buy it from someone she doesn’t know?) But then Mary Anne also buys a copy of the test from the same student, but Abby stops her from using it. The two of them go see Ms. Frost together. Because Mary Anne is a good student who doesn’t pull the kind of crap Abby does in class, Ms. Frost actually believes her. That’s the part that rings true the most to me, having taught school before. Also, I like the fact that Ms. Frost acknowledges that Abby was the only one of the five students suspended who explained what happened, which should have been a hint that she was telling the truth.
Building on the Belle Teal comment from earlier, Stacey refers to the kids’ ongoing drama as a soap: The Young and the Reckless. Another, Smaller World. I’ve always been amused by made up soap opera names, because they’re either jokes upon real soap names (like these) or sound exactly like the joke names, only less jokey. (The Brash and the Beautiful, for example.)
“Who knows what weirdness lurks in the hearts and minds of people and jerks.” Thank you, Vanessa. Even funnier, though, is that the ‘soap’ starts with a keyboard ‘organ’ and sauce pan ‘cymbal’ theme song. Soap operas haven’t had themes like that since the seventies at the latest, and this is a bunch of kids who, at this point, were born in the late 80s.
Mallory chides Stacey for not knowing about the kids’ drama because it’s all over the notebook. Stacey changes the subject. Hee hee!
I once read an essay on the history of what Jewish people named their children. First generation Americans and people whose children would be first generation wanted their children to fit in, so they didn’t give them Hebrew or Yiddish names. They found what the essay called ‘English Gentleman’ names, such as Sheldon, Morris, and Morton. Over several generations, those names became known as ‘Jewish names’, because other groups weren’t using them. So then they started straying away from those names in order to blend in again. By the seventies and eighties, the popular names for the country were also popular for Jewish parents. But at the same time, some families started moving back toward Biblical names (which, it must be pointed out, were also on the rise in the general population). But that led to traditional Hebrew and Yiddish names coming back into favor as well. These days, many Jewish parents don’t mind giving their children names that mark them as Jewish.
What was the point of me bringing that up? We get an extended Stevenson family tree synopsis in this book. Some of her relatives have the English Gentlemen names like Morris and Mort. Others have Biblical names like Ruth, David, Micah, Esther, Saul, and Aaron. And other names are neither, like Jean, Amy and Sheila.
Two last notes about this: Abby thinks her family is huge because there are seventeen people in it, including great aunts and second cousins and whatnot. Uh…I have twenty-four first cousins. I counted up recently and if I were to invite my family—parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (and their spouses and children)—to my wedding, I’d have to invite 78 people. And it would number in the hundreds if I invited all my grandparents’ siblings and their children and grandchildren….
And Abby says her mother has no siblings, which sets up a whole plot that pops up later…
There are a whole bunch of vague description of all the party clothes everyone (including all of Abby’s little cousins) are wearing, but I’m only going to put complete outfits that characters were know about are wearing. I’m trying to figure out why Mary Anne is wearing exactly the type of clothes she fought to stop having to wear at the beginning of the series.
Abby and Anna each have to give a sermon about what being an adult in the eyes of Jewish law means to them as part of their Bat Mitzvah. Anna plays something on her violin (which feels like cheating but suits her all the same.) Abby, on the other hand, talks about how important it is to make the right decision in all choices and to be honest and truthful. She actually does sound like an adult at this point. Isn’t it amazing that she had this adventure so that she could learn all this and have something to talk about?!?
Abby and Anna, like most religious Jewish people, also have Hebrew names. Logically, their Hebrew names are Avigail and Hannah. Abby mentions that Abigail/Avigail means “father’s joy”, so it’s very appropriate for her situation. Makes you wonder if that’s why it was chosen for the Name the New Sitter contest winner.
Abby mentions her twentieth high school reunion and Shannon shrieks that she doesn’t want to be that old ever. This is both realistic (I think a lot of kids feel that way) and funny. Especially considering that, for people who grew up with the BSC, 38 isn’t that old anymore. Hell, some of the original readers from the mid-80s are probably older than that themselves.
Claudia: leopard tights, black ankle boots, black bike shorts, yellow leotard, black fuzzy sweater with yellow buttons, leopard earrings (see the title quote); tunic shirt, long skirt, lace socks
Mallory: rust brown sweater and jeans
Jessi: rose turtleneck, jean skirt, tights, pink legwarmers and flats
Brad Simon (the kid who sells the tests): jeans and flannel shirt
Kristy: corduroys and button down shirt under sweater
Mary Anne: yellow wool skirt, dark tights, plaid vest, turtleneck
New characters
Amy and Sheila (5 and 3)—24 and 22
Sarah and Lillian (5 and 4)—24 and 23
Aaron, Bette and Jonathan (6, 4 and 2)—25, 23, and 21

Next: #97

“Hello Spier, this is Schafer.” Portrait Collection: Mary Anne’s Book (1996)

Mary Anne’s autobiography time!
From birth to six years: It’s only one chapter, with little snippets of memory
The tea party: In first grade, the teacher throws a Mother’s Day tea. Not having a mother, MA doesn’t know who to invite. She accidentally invites both her father and Mimi
Stage fright: Mary Anne takes ballet class and hates it. When she finds out there will be a recital, she gets so upset that her dad lets her skip the recital
E is for eyeglasses: Mary Anne’s new friend April wears glasses, so MA decides to flunk her eye test so that she’ll need some as well
Exploring my secret past: Following the events of Mystery #5, Mary Anne went to Iowa to visit her grandmother (which is covered in a series of letters in the last chapter of the aforementioned book). This chapter tells the story of what happened there
Interesting Tidbits
The Infamous Cover, in Which Mary Anne Clearly Wears a Wig

Also, what the hell is MA wearing? It looks like her shirt is off center and has a big keyhole over her cleavage….
“I opened a can of yummy chicken parts for Tigger and poured cereal for myself.” MA sounds more enthusiastic about Tigger’s cat fud than her own breakfast.
Mary Anne acknowledges that she and Abby have something in common, since they both lost a parent at a young age. I’ve always liked the fact that, when it’s just the two of them, Abby actually manages to get MA to do less conservative things, such as singing oldies at the top of her lungs.
Sweet: When MA tells her grandmother she’s working on her autobiography, grandma finds MA’s baby book, which her mother had started and grandma finished.
Sharonitis: ice cream in the vegetable bin and lettuce in the freezer. Can I admit I’ve done that before?
Mary Anne always complained about the way her dad was raising her, but a) he obviously did a pretty good job and b) he has some pretty good ideas. From the time she was little, he took her out to dinner every Sunday night to teach her how to behave in public. You can bet he never let her run around the restaurant screaming the way so many parents do these days.
I love that Mimi was such a big influence on MA. A motherless, grandparentless (she thought) child would need someone like Mimi in her life. I do wonder whether Mimi just knew Mary Anne would need a little bit of grandmothering, or if she saw the way Mary Anne reacted to her and went from there.
Mary Anne is fascinated by the way Janine can walk and read at the same time. I can do that too…and I’ll bet Mallory can as well.
“I’m going to talk to Alan Gray…with these.” (Kristy, holding up her fists.) Alan’s actually not that bad, other than being a loudmouth and immature. He laughed at Mary Anne when she said she was inviting her father to the Mother’s Day Tea, but later, when Kristy explains that MA’s mother is dead, he apologizes and promises not to laugh at her any more. And that’s him at age seven or so.
Wow, little Mary Anne is so ugly in the internal art in all these books. Also, even though Richard always puts her hair in braids, she’s rarely actually shown with braids.
Everyone’s actually really wonderful to MA at the tea. The teacher, who yells all the time and whom none of the kids likes, gets a second chair for MA’s second guest. After MA explains she didn’t think she was supposed to invite a man to the tea, the teacher says it was completely acceptable to invite her father to the Mother’s Day Tea, as her father is both mom and dad to her. Mimi expresses delight at being invited at all, and Richard is very understanding as to why Mary Anne invited Mimi (because she’s not a man!)
Kristy is commenting on all of Mary Anne’s babysitters, and then says that someday they’ll be babysitters, and they’ll be way better than MA’s babysitters. One of them used to drink beer while at work, while another expected Mary Anne to be her errand girl. Where was Richard finding all these lousy sitters?
This is interesting: Kristy, Claudia and MA are signed up for ballet, and Mimi takes them to be attired. The clerk states that the teacher is a stickler for specific dress code (see below.) Claudia and Mary Anne dream of sparkly pink tutus (which I can totally see, for different reasons), but there are no tutus in their uniform, which they find disappointing. I know everyone is thinking of Mme. Noelle and her dance class rules, but this is actually pretty accurate. I remember a friend of mine complaining because her daughter went to her first ballet class wearing a little dance skirt over her required leotard. Quite a few of the little girls were not in the prescribed attire, and she felt her daughter was being singled out because she was the only one forced to remove part of her wardrobe. (The other girls were wearing the wrong color, or one-piece outfits. and couldn’t remove their incorrect clothes.)
Mary Anne has a whole conversation with a sales clerk she doesn’t know without getting shy. Because she was wearing a pair of readers at the time, MA decides that getting herself glasses is her ticket to a more outgoing way of life. I don’t get it, but I’m not a nine year old, either.
HA! Mary Anne is such a nerd that she actually finagles how to fail her vision test without people catching on. She figures out that she needs to do things like say Es are Fs instead of saying Qs.
When she has to go to the optometrist, MA suddenly decides she hates the idea of having to wear glasses. Of course, because she now doesn’t want them, the doctor tells her she needs glasses for reading. It was mentioned in the early books that she wore reading glasses (as did Jessi) but they haven’t mentioned them in a while. I vaguely have memories of one of the books mentioning that MA got contacts, but how do you have contacts just for reading?
When Mary Anne visits her grandmother, grandma keeps expecting her to remember when she was in Iowa last. Um, if I remember correctly, she was about a year and a half old when she left Iowa. How would she remember her grandparents or anything else from that time frame?
Ooh, Mary Anne actually gets so mad at her grandmother that she snaps at her and tells her she’s sorry she came to visit.
There’s a picture of Alma, MA’s mom, sewing. And she’s wearing bell bottoms! I love it! (Also, they make a big point of how much MA looks like her mother, and the artist did do a good job of making them look alike in the drawings. Although her mom’s less uggo.)
Although, the next photo is of grandma and Mary Anne, and Mary Anne had short hair. That vacation to Iowa took place before she cut off her hair.
Leave it to Mary Anne to finish her autobiography early and get an A+.
The title quote is what Dawn says when she calls at the end of the book. It’s in response to MA answering the phone, “Spier-Schafer residence.” Although, I don’t get why it’s not just the Spier household these days. Sharon is Sharon Spier, because Dawn makes a whole big stink about wanting to keep her maiden name, unlike her mother.
Kristy, Claudia and Mary Anne (in ballet class): black cap-sleeved leotard, pink tights and pink ballet shoes
April: red high tops, jeans, blue sweatshirt that reads ‘I swam with dolphins’

Coming next:  #96

“I felt as if I’d just been kicked in the stomach by a Tyrannosaurus rex.” BSC #95: Kristy + Bart = ? (1996)

This book is one big OH HELL YEAH! moment. I mean, let’s look at all the reasons.
1.    It’s an issue book, which always equals awesome.
2.    The title is a math problem, which means Stacey should like it.
3.    There’s making out!
4.    KRISTY is the one making out!
5.    Kristy also gets super-duper-mega grounded.
Come on, people! How does it get any better than that?
As for the plot: Do I really need to explain it? Or can you get it from that synopsis?
Interesting Tidbits
As I’ve mentioned before, the last regular-series book I owned as a child was #73. But it wasn’t the last book I read. About once a month, my mother would drop my sister and I off at the mall. I wasn’t really much of a shopper, so I used to always go to the bookstore and spend 90% of the time we were at the mall curled up in the Super Crown or Waldenbooks. In March of 1996, I was fifteen, and I spent almost two hours reading this piece of literary genius. I literally remembered two pieces about it later: one was the basic plot that Kristy was ambivalent about Bart and a real relationship. The other part, I’ll mention as it pops up. 
The cover: Kristy looks like she’s got a serious problem with Bart’s arm. Incredulous Kristy is back, and this time, she’s gonna take revenge…on an appendage!

Here’s #6 for our reasons this book rocks: Peter Lerangis wrote it.
I love it when Claudia uses vocabulary words no one else knows. I also love it when Abby makes fun of her by making words up.
I can’t understand Kristy’s obsession with Anna. She’s nice but not exactly friendly, and she seems to constantly blow Kristy off. Yet Kristy spends a lot of time trying to be good friends with her. Also, Anna is so one-dimensional at this point; she thinks only of music.
Nannie’s handwriting looks a lot like Kristy’s. I love the fact that she wrote her note in little snippets, as if she were giving quick directions before rushing out the door.
Apparently the Pink Clinker has more than 100K miles on it….like that’s some sort of accomplishment.
Haha! Charlie’s making out in the Junk Bucket, which Kristy insists is no big deal. Yet she gets all embarrassed and runs off before he can see her “spying” on him.
Kristy says that the rule that no girlfriends are allowed in the house when no one else is home is stupid. This is how you can tell she’s too young for a boyfriend (or girlfriend, if you subscribe to that logic), because she doesn’t have any clue why her mom’s rule is a good one…and pretty standard for most parents. I would have understood that rule at her age. Hell, I would have understood that rule at Karen’s age.
“Joke. Get it? Eye exam…Ralph?” No, I don’t get it. Does anyone get it? Care to explain it to me? Actually, better yet, don’t.
Leave it to Karen. Bart points out they can’t play softball yet because they’re still wearing down coats. Karen: “Mine’s not down. It’s Hollofil.” She’s so literal it’s annoying.
How do the Pikes not have a toilet plunger? Mrs. Pike calls the BSC and, in addition to asking for a sitter, she asks Mallory to borrow the Kishis’ plunger. Mal isn’t at all concerned about why the plunger is necessary…just the fact that she has to carry it down the street.
Oh, and there’s a bad pun: Abby volunteers to take the plunge and sit for the Pikes with Mal.
I’m with Kristy. When someone puts his arm around you and you sit in the same position for too long, it’s uncomfortable. Of course, Kristy’s really just having an issue with it because she doesn’t like Bart that way, but I happen to agree with her on that part of it.
Kristy suggests that the Pike neighbors must all use earplugs all day long to deal with how loud they are. I would think that if the houses are far enough apart, it would muffle the sound enough.
The Pikes actually make Abby cry! The subplot of the book is the various kids setting crazy records. (Vanessa wins a speed multiplication contest; Margo wears the most hats on her head, etc.) Claire and Vanessa start a bubble gum spit, and a wad (I love that word) ends up in Abby’s hair. When peanut butter and ice don’t work, Mal has to cut the gum free.
Bart suggests that Logan’s only in the BSC because Mary Anne is in it. It rubs Kristy the wrong way even though it’s actually true. Logan only tries to join the BSC because Mary Anne was a member. I have the feeling if she was in the glee club, he would have joined that instead. Or the cheerleaders….
Oh, and interestingly, Bart says Logan’s only in the BSC because ‘his girlfriend’ is in it as a way of dismissing Kristy’s idea that he should join the club. But…he called Kristy his girlfriend earlier and clearly wants the kind of relationship Logan and Mary Anne have, so why would he say that?
This is actually what’s interesting about this book: Kristy isn’t totally comfortable with Bart, and she doesn’t want a kissyface (her word) lovey-dovey relationship with him. She’d rather play softball than hold hands, and actually watch movies instead of making out in the back of the theater. Yet she’s jealous of Logan and Mary Anne and how easy and natural romance seems for them. Who didn’t feel that way at one point or another in their teens? Or at least know someone who felt that way? It’s a lot more realistic than many of the other book plot lines, even though Kristy’s all muddled. She’s acting like a normal teenager, blaming Bart for everything even though she’s as much at fault as he is.
Another really bad pun: The Brewer-Thomas kids were singing the longest version of The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Karen sings the wrong line, about a yak swallowing a platypus when she should have said the yak swallowed the gnu. David Michael pipes up from his own room and shouts, “No gnus is good news!” Abby would be so proud.
Let’s back up here a minute. Remember the rule about no girlfriends when no one else is home? Remember how Kristy would have rather been watching the movie with Bart than kissing him? Okay. Bart shows up at Kristy’s house while she’s babysitting and everyone else is in bed. She lets him in to watch the game, and doesn’t even stop to consider that no girlfriends when no one else is home also means no boyfriends when no one else at home is awake. This is because a) she doesn’t consider Bart her boyfriend, really, and b) she is actually just thinking about watching the game, not making out. But of course Watson and her mother come home while they’re kissing. (It’s nothing too wild and crazy, of course: all their clothes are still on and all of their hands are still where they can be seen…)
“As if he’d just stumbled onto a murder scene, with the killer still there.” Kristy’s take on Watson’s expression when he finds her and Bart alone.
Ooh, you know Kristy’s mom is mad because she calls her Kristin Amanda. Heehee!
The title quote is Kristy’s reaction to having to have a long talk with her mother…which then doesn’t happen. She apologizes and her mom grounds her.
I’ve heard some other people complain about the way Kristy is grounded. She’s not allowed to leave her bedroom except to go to the bathroom. If Kristy were an only child, I’d agree that was cruel. But honestly, being punished by being stuck in your house when there are 9 other people running around isn’t really a punishment. So they have to lock her away.

Sorry, I had to take an hour long break to cry because I just finished watching the episode of Doctor Who in which the tenth doctor sacrifices himself to save the most awesome old man. “I’m still not ginger!” So much more heartbreaking than Kristy’s whininess about being grounded.
So what’s Kristy’s whine? She blames Bart for what happened that night, and for her getting caught. This is such a teenager thing and so realistic. Yes, Bart came over when she was sitting, but she didn’t have to let him in. Yes, he kissed her, but she let him…and kissed him back. She could have stopped it, but, as she says, “Kissing was much more fun.” So she’s as much to blame as he is, but her attitude is so typical.
Oh, and Kristy imagines that Abby can’t handle all the kids at the record-making event the two of them had scheduled. She seems to think Abby will have an allergic reaction to that many children. Not only is this really silly, but it verifies the fact that Kristy doesn’t completely trust Abby. (I’m sure Kristy thinks she could handle all the kids on her own, no problem.)
Although, Kristy keeps finding humorous ways to spend her incarceration, such as looking up prison-related words in the thesaurus. She decides she’s a political prisoner under house arrest.
When Kristy calls Abby, Abby almost hangs up on her because it feels like “minus one in the morning.” I’m guessing Abby is NOT a morning person.
My one really strong memory of this book was actually a little hazy. I thought that Kristy had Krushers practice during her grounding and kept yelling out the window to give Abby direction. It was actually that stupid record-setting-meeting that Kristy keeps yelling out the window about. And when her mom tells her she can’t talk, she pantomimes. And when her mom catches her at that, she throws paper airplanes. This is both so silly and so Kristy-resourceful.
I love Abby’s thoughts on Kristy’s weekend (paraphrased): “So, you guys are going to have to play tonsil hockey at Bart’s from now on, huh?” This is also accurate to teens. I know I had that one friend who thought/spoke like that in my teens.
Stacey actually wears a designer baseball cap…but brings along an old, dirty one in case it rains. Oh, Stacey. (You also know she’s in for a great sitting job when she’s greeted at the door by Haley screaming at the top of her lungs.)
Kristy’s trying to figure out her emotions. She doesn’t want to call Mary Anne, since she’s afraid she’ll sound like a baby in comparison to the whole long-term relationship thing MA’s got going, so she calls Jessi…who suggests she call MA. I can only imagine how MA feels when Kristy calls her—crying—and speaks so fast that Mary Anne has to respond, “Say it again, slowly, as if I’m just learning English.”
I like Mary Anne’s response. She points out how young Kristy was when she learned to walk, while MA was a late walker, and then reminds her how everyone grows and matures at their own rates. Even Kristy admits it’s not something she didn’t already know.
Claudia spelling! HOO-ray! Desided, somthing, gyes, realy, funy, evry, somtimes. She also uses no for know, write for right, two for too and grate for great. But best of all, she knows she has lousey speling.
Claudia solves a record-related problem by finding records the little kids—Jenny, Jamie, and Claire—could make without the older kids wanting to best them. (Haley had taught Jenny the potato throw during Stacey’s sitting job, but because she couldn’t throw as far, she threw a tantrum about it.)
Claudia’s signs for the record-setting talent show: Outrageous, Death-Defying, Stupendist, Hare-Raising, Sensational, Colossal and Phenominal.
Jessi asks Mary Anne how to spell Ohdner. Why bother? The Ohdners never go to events like this, because they’re not insane like the rest of Stoneybrook.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Kristy says Zounds! That’s one of my favorite expressions, (as should be clear from a couple books ago) ever since I discovered King’s Quest VI and everyone’s least-favorite computer game character, Alexander of Daventry. I even dressed at Prince Alexander for Halloween one year.
It wouldn’t be a Peter Lerangis book if someone weren’t throwing food. Logan pretended to throw a roll at Bart earlier, and now Claudia throws a chocolate croissant at Kristy. I’m surprised Claudia didn’t eat the croissant instead. What a waste of something chocolaty.
I’m not sure Bart ever shows up in another book. I’m glad that the two of them worked out their differences, but the whole point is that they decide to just be friends…and then stop talking to each other. At some point, they even stop mentioning the Krushers altogether.
Claudia: Bowling shirt with the name Ralph (‘get it?’) on it

Next: Mary Anne’s book