Friday, September 7, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #4: Kristy and the Missing Child


While sitting for the Kuhn family, Patsy tells Kristy that she saw their daddy’s car the other day. The other kids roll their eyes and say that she’s imagining things because their dad lives in Texas now. Jake pouts a little because his dad wanted to take him to Europe and his mom said no, and his dad now can’t come to his birthday party.

Kristy holds a practice for the Krushers that Patsy and Laurel skip because of a dentist appointment. Bart and his team show up, and they play a few innings. Bart walks them home and Jake starts off on his own, saying his mom told him that he could. It starts raining, so they rush home and hang out for awhile.

Caroline Kuhn calls to ask if they’ve seen Jake because he’s missing. After calling the Barrett house, she decides that her evil ex-husband must have kidnapped him. Kristy calls an emergency meeting of the BSC to talk about the situation, and the cops show up because she was the last one who saw him.

The meeting accomplishes nothing, and Mrs. Brewer picks up Kristy and Shannon before stopping by the Kuhn house. Shannon waits in the car because she doesn’t really know the family, and no one seems to care about Kristy. They treat her like a kid and won’t talk about anything important when she’s around.

The BSC decides to gather the local kids and search for Jake. Matt mentions a few places where they played in the past, including drainage tunnels. They search for a few hours and find nothing. Mrs. Kuhn sends the girls to the Pike house, and later, Stacey and her mom take the girls.

Mrs. Kuhn finds letters from Mr. Kuhn that mention his “lady friend”. The cops track her down, but she has no clue where they are. They also discover that Mr. Kuhn is in some random part of Mexico that has no telephones, so they can’t get in touch with him and he has no idea that his son is missing.

The BSC organize another search party and hit the streets. Matt takes them to an abandoned hideout, but they only find some high school boys who join the search. As a last resort, they search a construction site and Kristy hears a noise. They follow the sound and find that Jake fell through a hole in the floor and has been there all along. Jake gets rescued and everyone is happy.

The B-plot (kind of) is about Mary Anne. She’s in danger of failing Home Ec because she can’t handle anything in the class. She keeps messing up the stitches on a skirt and fails several times at making Jell-O. Pete even makes up a fake missile launcher for her hard Jell-O. She finally gets the idea to make harder Jell-O and cut out pieces with cookie cutters. She gets an A in the class, but learns that she didn’t invent the idea.

At the very end, SMS hosts an Award Night event. They make a big deal out of it, but it’s all things like Best Dressed and Class Clown. Mary Anne wins Most Improved Home Ec student, and then they make a special award and give it to Kristy for finding Jake.

*This is at least the second time that Kristy mentions not ever traveling outside the state. That seems a little weird to me, but my parents traveled a lot, so I had already been to 30+ states by junior high.

*I love the references in BSC books! In this one, Jake’s having a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party.

*It kind of surprised me that Logan and Shannon both came to the emergency meeting, especially since Shannon admitted to not knowing Jake.

*It’s nice to see these kids actually treated like kids. Mrs. Kuhn pretty much pushes Kristy into a corner so she can talk with the adults.

*Stacey treats the girls to a “popcorn picnic” where they make popcorn and top it with different spices. Patsy accidentally drops almost an entire jar of garlic on hers. It’s a cute idea, but it makes me sad that it’s something Stacey and her mom usually do together. Maureen needs to get a life.

*Why does Kristy get a special award? There were dozens of people with her, and Bart is the one who ran to call the police.

*Did your school do anything like this Award Night? We had stuff like this, but it was just an insert in the yearbook.

*Kristy wears her usual outfit to the show, but Stacey wears a shirtdress and tie-dyed leggings, while Claudia wears a black jumpsuit and wide red belt.

*Seriously, how does Mary Anne miss the whole jigglers thing? The recipe is right on the back of the package.

*I don’t buy her having so many problems in Home Ec anyway. It’s convenient that she sometimes knows nothing about sewing, and other times she knows everything.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club #63: Claudia’s (Freind) Friend


Claudia is in serious trouble because she’s in danger of failing English class again. When she tells the BSC, they decide that the perfect solution is to tutor her themselves instead of, you know, getting her some actual help. Stacey volunteers to take the first session, and turns into an uber bitch. She holds the session in the kitchen, blocks all the clocks, and acts like that teacher everyone hates.

Stacey decides that it would be too confusing for Claudia to have more than one tutor, so she takes all the jobs. Every time Claudia wants to have any fun, Stacey shoots her down with another session or practice test. She finally gives her a notebook and tells her to use it as a journal. Claudia looks up the spelling of every word, but Stacey still attacks the journal with a red pen.

At the same time, Mrs. Rodowsky calls the club because Shea was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and she wants to hire a few tutors. Mary Anne takes one job and helps Shea write a letter to someone he admirers, but she keeps correcting him and he gets so frustrated that he wants to quit. Claudia helps him too and the same thing happens again.

During another sitting job, Claudia admits that she has problems with school. Shea and her bond and she helps him with an assignment. He has so much fun that Mrs. Rodowsky hires her for more tutoring sessions. Shea eventually helps Claudia study for her big spelling test, and she learns more with him than she did with Stacey.

During one BSC meeting, someone leaves an anonymous note on the front door. Since there’s yet another big dance coming up, they think that someone has a crush on a member. The notes keep coming, and each girl thinks that the note is for her. Claudia blows up at Stacey when she thinks the notes are from Sam. The two stop talking, but Stacey still takes her journal home to correct.

The only problem is that Claudia started keeping a second journal that let her bitch about Stacey and that’s the one she takes. The last note they get asks the entire club to meet for ice cream. Kristy decides that it must be Cokie’s group, so they wear their worst clothes and bring prank stuff to the shop, but it’s actually just a bunch of their charges.

Shea leaves Claudia a note thanking her for all her help and she gets a little teary eyed. She feels so bad that she calls Stacey later that night. They meet, talk about what happened, Stacey admits that she was a bitchy teacher, Claudia admits that she was a bad student, and they make up. She gets her test back and scores a B with an A on the spelling section.

*The whole journal thing really irked me. Stacey gives her a lined composition book and Claudia uses a sketchbook as her secret diary. How the hell could Stacey grab a sketchbook and think it’s the one she’s been reading all along?

*This is the book where Claudia mentions getting tested for dyslexia and not having any learning disabilities. I call bull shit, especially since she mixes up stuff like how and who.

*What’s up with that outfit she’s wearing on the cover? She describes it as her mess-proof outfit, but it looks like something Mark Walberg wore back in the day.

*Nonnie actually gets an outfit description! She wears a pink silk dress with a twisted pink and silver sash, silver earrings, and silver slippers.

*Claudia wears blue and white polka dotted socks, a blue and white striped shirt, and blue shorts.

*Stacey wears black Doc Marten’s, black jeans, and a yellow shirt with big black buttons down the front.

*At the Rosebud Café, Dawn gets a big bowl of frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and Stacey gets stuck with a diet soda. Could she not eat fresh fruit?

*Claudia wears holey jeans that she ripped across the knee and a shirt with a bleach stain on it to the café. Everyone else wears crazy clothes too, but when they discover their charges, they make themselves look fine in like 2 minutes.

*Claudia’s parents always get a bad rep as hardasses, but they are really lenient with her. When she tells them that she’s about to fail, they totally agree to let her friends help instead of sending her to the resource room.

*Sam asks Stacey to the dance, even though Kristy said he didn’t know about it. Also, I read one of the later books where they both liked each other but barely talked again.