Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Babysitters Club Mystery #5: Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic

Stoneybrook is in the midst of Heritage Days, which seems like an excuse to give all the younger kids extra assignments for school. Mary Anne sits for Charlotte, who is doing a report on her family history. She finds bunch of photographs and an old locket belonging to her distant relative. Mary Anne starts thinking about her own life and wondering about her past.

When she gets home, she sneaks upstairs and digs through boxes in the attic. She finds some old photos, showing her sitting on a porch with an older couple. She keeps having dreams about a kitten and an older couple and she realizes that the couple are the ones from her dreams. After sneaking around some more, she finds a stack of letters. The letters detail how her dad sent her to live with her grandparents in Iowa when she was a baby.

Instead of talking to her dad or talking to anyone, Mary Anne mopes around by herself a lot. She convinces herself that her dad sent her away because he didn’t love her. She goes to the cemetery, can’t find her mom’s grave, but sees Mimi’s and cries. She goes back home and goes back through the letters again. This time she learns that when she was 18 months old, her dad asked for her back. Now she worries that her grandparents still have partial custody and will eventually want her back.

It doesn’t help when she overhears her grandmother call her dad. She claims that giving up Mary Anne was a mistake and she wants to see her again. Her grandfather died a few weeks before and his biggest regret is not seeing her again. Mary Anne flips out and finally tells Dawn the whole story. Dawn says that she won’t let anyone take her.

The Heritage Days festival needs volunteers to run booths and help raise money for the historical society. Kristy thinks the BSC should get involved and they decide to make cardboard cutouts of historical figures in Stoneybrook and take pictures of people posing with them. Claudia draws the figures and everyone else paints them.

Logan knocks over paint on his shoes, so he has to take them off. Then he spills paint on his shirt and takes that off. Mallory cranks up the music and accidentally drops eggs on the floor. In the middle of it all, a fancily dressed woman rings the doorbell. Mary Anne makes a bunch of excuses for her friends and Logan walks out half-dressed and with paint in his hair. She bursts into tears, thinking the woman is from social services. She tells Logan the whole story and he tells the other BSC members. They convince her that she has to talk to her dad.

Mary Anne escorts Charlotte to a big picnic for Heritage Days and gets depressed, seeing all the kids with their moms. She has the long talk with her dad, telling him about the letters. He confesses that he couldn’t take of her and that he saw her mom every time he looked at her. Her grandparents made the decision not to see her anymore because it was too hard. Oh and the woman that stopped by the house was a census taker.

The BSC does a great job at Heritage Days and have a lot of fun. The book ends with Mary Anne visiting her grandma and having a great time. She even goes on a bad date with the grandson of one of her friends. Richard tells Verna that she can see Mary Anne anytime she wants and MA asks her to come to Connecticut for a visit.

*If Heritage Days is such a huge thing, then why don’t any of the older kids have assignments? This book makes it out like all the SES students get assignments, but no other schools.

*Jessi shoots down Mallory’s booth idea of recreating historical recipes because it sounds too hard. I think researching and baking sounds a lot better than drawing, cutting and painting cardboard cutouts.

*The BSC does a cutout of Sophie, the girl from Stacey’s house. Yeah she was important to them, but would anyone else really know who she was?

*Dawn tells Mary Anne that their booth made more money than anyone else, which I find hard to believe. Would you really pay just to take a picture with a cardboard figure a 13 year old made?

*Claudia wears a white bodysuit, lace shirt, black miniskirt, red high tops, lace leggings and paper mache jewelry painted black and white. Oh and the skirt had white polka dots, which sounds very 80s.

*The description Mary Anne gives of her visit is a lot different from the one she gives later. I don’t think she would lie in letters to everyone.

*Dawn and Stacey buy matching jumpsuits. Dawn’s is teal and Stacey’s is pink and they wear them to school…on the same day…on purpose.

*I swear that in an earlier book, Mary Anne mentions visiting her mom’s grave, but here she has no clue where it is. Plus she accidentally stumbles on Mimi’s grave. Given how close they were, wouldn’t she have been at the funeral? Or at least visited it before?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book! I alays thought Mary Anne looked so beautiful on the cover, so unlike her usual mousy self.