Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club #40: Claudia and the Middle School Mystery

Janine is helping Claudia study for her next math test and surprisingly enough, she’s doing really well. Her regular math teacher is out of town or sick or something, so she has this substitute named Mr. Zorzi. Check out that pic of him on the cover. He reminds me of a teacher from a bad 80’s sitcom, but I can’t quite think who.

Anyway, everyone tells her that she’s going to do great on the test and she starts to feel more confident. A few days later, they get their test results back and she totally nailed it! A- suckers. The teacher calls her and Shawna Riverson to the front of the room after class and points out that not only did they get the same grade and miss the same questions, but they answered every single question in the same way. Shawna instantly does the “I’d never cheat”, while Claudia twiddles her thumbs.

By the time she gets around to defending herself, the teacher has already made up his mind. He thinks she cheated, so she’ll get a failing grade on the test. The principal calls her parents and at first they think she cheated, but when Janine jumps to her defense, they instantly believe she didn’t cheat. Nice parents.

Claudia tells the club what happened and they all kind of believe her. Mary Anne points out that if she did cheat, she can tell them the truth and they’ll all be on her side, which pisses the whole group off. She ends up crying and making Claudia feel bad.

The girls come up with this “great” plan to catch Shawna by breaking into her locker. Claudia keeps referring to it as Breaking and Entering. Apparently Dawn used to have her locker, so she knows the combination. Stacey agrees to be the look-out and they make everyone else go home, as if a teacher would care what they’re doing.

They find a note from one of Shawna’s friends, congratulating her on cheating off Claudia. She takes the note, but then puts it back because she realizes that she’d have to tell the principal where she got it. Um, no you wouldn’t. Just tell him that it fell out of someone’s notebook!

Claudia then sees Shawna and her friends going into the bathroom and hides in the last stall. She hears her say that she was too busy with drama club and other activities, to study for the test. That night she tells Janine all about what happened and Janine comes to the school and meets with the principal.

The end result is that Claudia gets the chance to take the test again and actually does better than she did originally. The teacher tells Shawna what happened and says that she can take the test the next day. Shawna breaks down in tears and confesses that she cheated. She gets a two-day suspension and a failing grade on the test. Claudia’s parents reward her with a special cake and tell her that they’ll never doubt her again. Aw.

*Claudia wears the Miss Frizzle outfit that is permanently stuck in my head, even after all these years! A blue skirt with fish on it, a green blouse (to represent seaweed), jellies with stickers of seahorses and fish and a sand dollar barrette.

*The Pike triplets break a window (the third one in a few months?) and since no one will confess, they all get grounded. Mallory gets so sick of them stuck in the house that she lets them reenact the scene. Turns out that the pitch was wild, it glanced off the hitter’s bat and the catcher couldn’t reach it. Since technically it was no one’s fault, they all get off.

*Ann reveals in notes to the reader that she struggled with math, until an older boy (and former baby-sitter!) started tutoring her. She suggests sitters help their charges with their homework.


  1. i remember this one. This was the book that claudia mentions that she admires mrs.frizzle's outfit from the magic school bus and where shawna shows just how desperate and stupid she really is.

    gotta love janine for always sticking up for claudia. Janine rocks.

  2. I remember hating Janine when I was kid, but re-reading them now, she really comes across as the better one lol