Friday, April 6, 2012

The Babysitters Club #45: Kristy and the Baby Parade

Kristy gets bored sitting for David Michael and Emily one day, so she lets them make collages. When flipping through the paper, she sees an ad for the upcoming baby parade and decides to enter Emily. She wants to tell the other members about the parade, but Mrs. Preziosso calls first, needing a long-term sitter for Jenny and Andrea. Before anyone takes the job though, she wants them to attend a baby care class. Kristy gets the job and all the other girls agree to go too.

Naturally they all love the class and do great. The teachers host a graduation event and a bunch of their family members go to it. The teacher announces that only two people passed with perfect scores. One is a new father and the other is Kristy. She acts all shocked, but can’t stop beaming. They pick up a bunch of new clients, including Mrs. Salem and her two twins.

Kristy is nervous about sitting for Andrea, but puts on her big girl pants. She tries planning a bunch of activities for Jenny, but discovers that sitting for a baby takes a lot of extra attention. Mrs. Preziosso asks her to help make Andrea’s entry for the parade. Later the girls all decide that they should make a float and enter it with a bunch of kids they sit.

Of course things go bad from the first moment. Claudia makes a shoe/boot from chicken wire, but it looks wonky. Stacey mixes an orange-red color for the boot, while Mallory picks pink for the costumes. Jessi, Dawn and Kristy all notice the problems, but decide not to comment on it. The girls even fight over what idea to use for the float. Before deciding on the old woman in the shoe, they want a ball park (Kristy), Surfing USA (Dawn), Misty (Mallory), Three Little Kittens (Mary Anne), New York skyline (Stacey) and an alien invasion (Claudia).

Kristy works on Andrea’s entry, which involves her dressed as a queen and riding in a coach. Jenny keeps pouting because she wants to enter the parade, even though she’s too old. She sings, dances and does gymnastics, before Kristy snaps. Kristy tells her to help make the coach and then she can share the prize, even though she knows she shouldn’t make promises.

By the time the girls get the float ready, no one likes it. They have a huge fight and Dawn decides that Eleanor Marshall should wear a completely different outfit. Mallory freaks out because she didn’t make costumes for the BSC and they get pissed. They all go home annoyed at each other.

They meet the next day with Charlie planning on pulling the float. He puts on a hat and sunglasses so no one will recognize him. They ride in the parade with no one talking to each other. Kristy sees all the other floats and feels bad that they didn’t spend more working on their costumes and float. They don’t even place in the parade, but Andrea wins first in her division.

Later that night Kristy starts feeling bad and calls Mary Anne to apologize. The girls all meet at the next BSC meeting and make up over their fight. Oh and Charlie drives the float to the junk yard and dumps it.

*What kind of 13 (or 11) year old girls get so excited about taking a class on caring for babies. The teacher doesn’t even act surprised that they’re there, even though the rest of the class are new parents or expectant parents.

*Dawn tells the other girls about her new strategy for dealing with temper tantrums, which involves tucking a kid in bed and talking to them in a soothing tone. Um yeah, that would so never work. I want to see her pick up a screaming kid and put them in bed!

*Claudia dresses like a giant watermelon at one point, with watermelon earrings, black pants with green streaks, black boots and a red shirt with green buttons.

*I know I have said it before, but how has Claudia made it this far in school? On the signs, she misspells “shoe” “there” and even “woman.”

*Mrs. Preziosso is a pretty terrible mom. She gets so excited about the baby parade that she barely spends any time with Jenny. Then she lets Jenny destroy the float with a bunch of stickers.

*Kristy somehow manages to cover the wheels on Andrea’s stroller with gold painted cardboard wheels, makes a silver canopy and creates a horse that looks like it’s pulling the stroller…just with stuff from Mrs. Preziosso’s sewing room.

*According to Kristy, the baby parade only happens every two years. It must be a big deal because I think several months pass in this book from the time she sees the announcement to the time it happens.

*Other floats include a Wizard of Oz, Merry Go Round and Star Wars themes. The Star Wars one has a kid dressed as Chewbacca, which seems mean.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goosebumps #50: Calling All Creeps! (R.L. Stine)

Ricky gets picked on by everybody in his school. He joins the school newspaper, but that doesn’t stop the teasing. One day, a guy chases him into the library and he spills soda all over editor Tasha’s keyboard. She screams at him and kicks him off the newspaper. She calls him the next day and asks him to cover the charity car wash.

When Ricky gets to the school, Tasha gives him her dad’s very expensive new computer. Can you see where this is going? She warns him that if he messes up again, he won’t get a second chance. Naturally, the four same bullies chase him all over the car wash, drench the camera, and trip him so he falls on it and breaks it.

To get back at Tasha for kicking him off the newspaper, he sneaks into the office late one night. He puts a note on the front page, saying that if you’re a creep, then you should call Tasha after midnight with her number listed. He wants to see what happened, but he keeps getting distracted all day and never sees a copy of the paper.

His friend Iris calls at midnight that same night, trying to tell him something. Her dad starts yelling at her, so she hangs up the phone. Immediately, Ricky gets three new phone calls from people saying that they are creeps, before his dad yells at him over the late night calls. He finds out that Tasha found his note and changed it to his number before the paper went out.

Ricky tries meeting Iris that day, but the bullies grab him and drag him into the woods. They announce that they are creeps and ask him why he never identified himself as their commander. They change into huge monsters and show him a bag of seeds that will change everyone else into monsters. He tries telling other people what happened, but no one believes him.

The bullies meet the next day, intent on hiding the seeds in the school cafeteria. They force Ricky to sneak inside and he spills the seeds on the floor. They give him another bag and he dumps them in the macaroni and cheese. Fortunately, no one eats the mac and cheese because it is so disgusting. The bullies corner him outside and Iris jumps out, pretending to also be a creep.

Iris is human, but they follow the monsters’ plan because they don’t know what else to do. They bake chocolate chip cookies and hide the seeds inside. They take the cookies to the school bake sale and Ricky warns everyone about eating them. One of the monsters drags him off and remind him that anyone who eats the seeds will become his slave. Ricky decides that having slaves is much better than getting picked on all the time, so he runs off, passing out free cookies…

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sweet Valley High #6: Dangerous Love

Todd Wilkins did the unthinkable…he got cool. Okay, so he just bought a motorcycle, but that’s still one of the coolest things he ever did, in any Sweet Valley universe. Unfortunately Liz can’t ride with him and she hasn’t got around to telling him that. At first she just thought he was all talk, but then he got the money together and she chickened out.

Jessica reminds her that their way-cool cousin Roxy did in a head-on collision exactly one day after buying the motorcycle that no one wanted him to buy. She also thinks Liz should move on and start dating other people. Liz prefers pretending like she has a cold and making up other excuses for not getting on the bike.

Todd finally confronts her about it and she tells him about Roxy. Todd can’t believe that she would think he might pick a motorcycle over her and decides they should just make the most of the time they have together. He shows how trustworthy he is and how much he loves her by immediately giving a ride to anything in a skirt.

Enid’s sweet sixteen is coming up, which I find hysterical. I’m pretty sure only the early books mention that she skipped a grade and is technically a year younger than everyone else. Jessica desperately wants a date with her cousin Brian and cons Liz into asking for her. Enid shoots her down (denied!) because Jess is a huge slut and a bitch. those are her reasons too!

She points out that Jess just had a date with another guy and when Liz tries saying that it wasn’t serious, Enid says she shouldn’t dick around her cousin either. Don’t worry though because in a few pages Enid calls and changes her mind. She decides that she should forgive and forget, bo-ring!

The Dairi Burger is having its grand reopening in this book, which I think they forgot to mention in the Sweet Valley bible. In every other series (including SVT), the Dairi Burger is the hottest place to hang out. In this book, it’s a dive place that no one really likes, so the owners give it a facelift.

Jess’s new boytoy Danny accidentally hits Crunch McAllister’s van and he pins the guy against his car. Todd flies in on his motorcycle, Crunch nearly wets himself and Todd lets him take it for a ride, saving Danny. Liz sees green when the owner thinks Mandy, the girl Todd rode up with, is his girlfriend. She even gets jealous when he offers Enid a ride.

Max Dellon kindly offers Liz a ride a few days later and puts the moves on her. It’s actually kind of funny because he tells her that a closed car can be more fun than an open motorcycle. I totally see him wiggling his eyebrows as he says it. He chases her down, Todd sees the exchange and blows his top over her getting so close to another guy.

The night of Enid’s big party finally dawns and Todd isn’t there. He had to go to a party for his grandpa, but promises to get there as soon as he can. The group all plans on leaving the fancy party for the local dance club and Todd still isn’t there. Enid’s mom offers Liz a ride, so she waits around. Jessica was supposed to give her a ride, but is shacked up with Brian, Enid’s cousin. Todd shows up and tells Liz that he made a deal to sell his bike to Crunch. She feels so bad that she decides to take one ride with him. He refuses, but she pushes the issue.

Jessica stops making out for five seconds because she finally remembers her sister, 30 minutes after she was supposed to pick her up. Brian, who is a sophomore in college by the way, does not want to stop tapping a hot 16-year-old ass, so he puts her off. They go back to kissing, but she stops him again and tells him they should check on her sister.

On the way back, they come across an accident and she recognizes Todd’s bike. Worrying about how to tell Liz what happened, she jumps out of the car and sees them loading Liz in an ambulance. As she jumps inside, she vaguely hears Crunch talking about buying the bike. Everyone rushes to the hospital and the Wakefields blame Todd for everything, even throwing him out of the waiting room.

Mr. Collins arrives because god forbid his star reporter take a dump without him present and stands by Todd’s side. Ned jumps all over him again and Jess bursts into tears because it’s all her fault and frankly, well it kind of is her fault. Is there even one instance in any Sweet Valley book where she puts Liz in front of a guy? Once Jess takes responsibility, everyone climbs all over themselves making her feel better.

The doctor suggests they talk to Liz and try to get her to wake up. The book ends with Jessica and Todd begging her to wake up. I wonder if anyone thought she might actually die…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Goosebumps #22: Ghost Beach

Jerry and his little sister Terri (how cruel are their parents!) are spending a few weeks with their dad’s cousins Agatha and Brad. The night before they leave, Jerry has a nightmare involving the two of them exploring a cemetery and a hand coming up from the ground. Terri makes fun of him and they head off for their trip.

Terri convinces him to go out and explore the cemetery. They accidentally stumble upon a hidden cave, but three local kids show up and introduce themselves. Louisa, Sam and Nate are siblings that live nearby. They warn them about a ghost that lives in the cave and they laugh it off. They do ask their family, who tell them that the cave is just dangerous.

The next day, Jerry and Terri go out picking flowers and he finds a skeleton. Terri freaks out until he realizes that it belonged to a dog. The other kids tell them that the ghost kills dogs because only dogs can recognize ghosts. Their cousins tell them later that the other kids are neighbors.

Terri loves pressing wildflowers, bird watching and rubbing tombstones, so she drags him back to the cemetery. They discover that everyone in the cemetery has their same last name: Sadler. Terri also finds three headstones belonging to three kids that did in the 1600s: Louisa, Sam and Nate. They run home and tell their cousins.

Agatha laughs it off, telling them that the Sadler family came there from England during the 1600s and settled the area. A lot of people in town are named after their ancestors. She also tells them that if they look hard enough that they will find tombstones with their names on them. Brad laughs and says that he isn’t ready for the cemetery yet. Apparently the original kids were the children of one Sadler relation. The settlers all died during a harsh winter, including the kids.

They keep playing with the kids and sneaking off at night to peek at the cave. They see flickering lights, which the kids say is proof of the ghost. Agatha and Brad tell them that it’s a natural effect that just looks like light. They also see what looks like an old man walking around inside the cave.

Somehow the other kids convince them that they need to kill the ghost. They venture back into the cave and come face-to-face with the ghost. He grabs Terri’s arm and drags her deeper into the cave. When they tell him that they think he’s the ghost, he just laughs. He introduces himself as Harrison Sadler and tells them that he is a distant relative from England. He researched their family and came for a visit, but instead encountered the ghost kids. He tells them that Louisa, Sam and Nate are the ghosts. They run off and he yells after that they should visit the southeast corner of the cemetery.

Terri says that area is where they found the old tombstones and ventures back over. This time, they find two new graves with their names inscribed on the tombs. They rush off and run right into the other kids. Basically Sam convinces them that they need to go back and kill the ghost once and for all.

They go back to the cave and Harrison jumps out. He fights with the kids and Jerry doesn’t know who is real and who is a ghost. Suddenly, a dog comes out of nowhere and attacks the kids. The dog pushes the kids back, until they go through some sacred rocks or something and disappear, or “die.” Just before she disappears, Louisa whines that all she wanted was to have a life and that she died too soon.

Jerry and Terri run back to the house, where Agatha and Brad are sitting up and worrying about them. They tell their cousins the whole story of what happened and they get back blank faces. Agatha warns them that she told them to stay away from the cave. A dog shows up at the back door and Terri tries petting it, but it backs off growling. It shoots past her, pins Agatha against the counter and keeps growling. As the book ends, she asks Brad what they are going to do, now that the kids know their secret.

Sweet Valley High #11: Too Good to be True

I’m pretty surprised that I never got around to recapping this one, given that I’ve had a copy for years. In fact, I think this is one of the only Sweet Valley High books that I found from when I was a kid.

Ned gets a call from an old pal living in NYC. He suggests that they trade kids for two weeks. One of the twins gets to go to NYC, while the other stays and shows his daughter Suzanne Devlin around. Both twins want to go, so Ned flips and coin and Liz wins. Jessica pitches a hissy fit because she wants to go, and she never, ever gets to leave Sweet Valley. She pulls out all the stops, even suggesting that Lila wants a shot at Todd and Liz agrees to switch places.

Suzanne “Suzy” Devlin is a blessing. She compliments everyone, does the dishes, cooks for them, and is the nicest person ever. Todd even teases Liz that she might want to swap out her twin. Suzy confesses that her dad sends her away to a bunch of boarding schools and that she hasn’t had a stable childhood. Liz feels bad for her, not realizing that Suzy is playing her like a fiddle.

Of course everyone in town wants to know the new girl. Winston falls head over heels in love with her, serenading her at all hours of the night and writing “I love you” in toilet paper on the lawn. Liz takes her to a big picnic and even Bruce wants a shot at her. Suzy goes swimming and almost drowns, but Mr. Collins saves her and brings her back. Liz thinks it’s a little odd because (a) she is making eyes at him and (b) she swam for hours in the pool without a problem.

Liz goes to put on her lavaliere one night and can’t find it anywhere. Suzy helps her look, but it’s no use. As they walk away, she smiles and fingers the necklace in her pocket. They go to the beach and swing by Collins’s house to drop something off. Suzy flirts with him, dribbles water all over her shirt, and notices that he can’t help looking. When Todd gets Lakers’ tickets, Suzy offers to take Liz’s sitting job at Roger’s house.

Roger isn’t happy, but agrees to leave her with Teddy because he has no other choice. She pretends to be the nicest person in the world, but when he leaves, she ignores him. She goes through all of his stuff and can’t even find a Playboy. Teddy falls asleep crying in front of the TV and she pretends to fall asleep on the couch. When Roger gets home, she comes on to him hardcore and he throws her out.

Suzy goes home fake crying and tells Liz that he attacked her. Liz doesn’t believe it, but tells her parents. Ned goes to the principal and the school board. They suspend him until they launch a full investigation. Everyone sides with Suzy and decides to pool their money and get her an awesome going away gift.

Suzy bounces back pretty fast and goes to Lila’s big party. Liz sneaks upstairs to hide her gift, but finds her necklace in Suzy’s suitcase. She has Todd drive her to see Mr. Collins and he admits that he didn’t touch her, though of course he didn’t bother saying anything to the school board. Why confess to someone who can save your job when you can confess to a Wakefield?

Suzanne sees Liz wearing her necklace and pretends like it got stuck to one of her shirts. Liz goes off on her, so Suzy sneaks off and tells everyone that Liz hit her head on the pool and is acting like she did in Dear Sister. Liz confronts her again and she denies everything. Winston trips and spills punch all over her dress, and she flips out. Everyone sees how she really acts and walks away from her.

Meanwhile in that foreign land known as NYC, Jessica is not happy. Mr. Devlin is never around and Mrs. Devlin treats her like a pet. No one falls in love with her and she spends most of her time cooped up in their penthouse. She meets Pete, Suzy’s boyfriend, and because this must not be a Sweet Valley book, he doesn’t fall head over heels in love with her.

Pete drops off some tickets and after she throws herself at him, he asks her out. She spends hours getting ready and the only thing he notices is that she wore Suzy’s dress. He ignores her most of the night and drops her off early. He takes her to a party with some of their friends and she meets a 16 year old girl dating a 20 something with his own apartment. She has too much to drink and he leaves her with the doorman.

They go out yet again and she pulls out all the stops. She practically gives him a blow job in the horse drawn carriage! She crawls all over him, constantly touches him, and can’t figure out why he isn’t interested. He brings her home, pours himself a drink, and then attacks her. Jess has to fight him off, wondering why he thought that was something she wanted. Eye roll. Seriously, in this day and age, she would either be a pregnant dropout or no one would touch her because they thought she had every disease possible.

Jess comes home, remembering how the Devlins came home and caught them. Pete ran off, Jess turned on the waterworks, and they promised that Suzy would never see him again. Suzy hopped a flight back without ever speaking to Liz again. The twins reunite and Liz gets a kick out of the Pete story. She doesn’t explain why she wants to see her “good friend’s” boyfriend with her sister and Jess doesn’t tell her the true story. The book ends with Steven moping because Tricia keeps ignoring him and he thinks she is hiding something from him.

*Jessica dreams of a guy in Tiffany’s giving her a million dollar necklace because it matches her eyes and fantasizes about dancing with Mick Jagger. If that doesn’t date these books…

*Speaking of dated, George teases Enid that his dream girl Bo Derek stopped by his house and begged him for a date, but he had to turn her down.

*Suzy wears a white off the shoulder Halston dress. As if we didn’t know that she had money!

*Jessica’s “best dress” is a white dotted Swiss number. Is she 16 or 6?

*Jessica is shocked that he notices her wearing Suzy’s dress. Um, it’s his girlfriend so of course he notices that.