Mallory Pike is finally ready to join the BSC. She wants to dress cool like all the other girls do, but she only has a limited wardrobe. She can't stop thinking about it all day, but she does get distracted by new student Jessica Ramsey. It seems like Mallory never had a best friend before, and she wonders if this girl might be her new friend. The only downside is that some of the other students make fun of her because she's black.
Mallory gets to brag at the meeting about how she sat for a bunch of her siblings. Buddy and Nicky were playing outside, Buddy hit the ball, and Nicky broke his finger trying to hit it back. Her parents left her in charge while they took him to the emergency room. The BSC blame her and decide to make her go on a test job and come back the next day for a real test.
While heading to her test, she runs into Jessica, who tells her that she can call her Jessi. She meets Squirt and Becca, and Jessi gives her a tour of her house. They agree to swap books and hang out, but she has to run to her test. The test is actually incredibly hard and unfair. They ask her the difference between creeping and crawling, when a baby cuts its first tooth, which teeth a baby cuts first, about tourniquets, and she has to draw a picture of the digestive system.
Mallory sits at the Perkins house with Claudia and everything goes wrong. She knocks over milk, lets Chewy in the house when she wasn't supposed to, and Claudia acts like she's a horrible person. When she asks Gabby about being a new big sister, she starts crying, which ticks off Claudia even more. Mallory does get the girls playing and laughing again though.
At the next meeting, Claudia gets super uppity about the sitting job. Kristy also points out that she failed the test, and Mallory points out that it wasn't fair. They have a huge fight, and Mallory says that she'll quit. Kristy says she can't quit because she isn't a member but fires her anyway.
Mallory ends up running into Jessi at school the next day, and they decide to form their own club. They model the BSC, make up fliers, and pass them out around town. They also decide to call the club Kids Incorporated. They get jobs from their own families but none from anyone else.
Dawn discovers their club while sitting for the Barretts. Suzi wants to bring Claire with them to the brook, but she makes up excuses and watches them work. She then finds one of their fliers and tells Kristy. Kristy calls and warns them they won't get any jobs and feels a little freaked out. The BSC realizes that they need help and invite her to a meeting, but she'll only come if Jessi can too.
The meeting goes really well until Jessi worries about what other people will think because she's black. She tells them about the woman who wouldn't let her daughter play with Becca and the stares she gets around town. Kristy says that she wouldn't sit for anyone like that and the other girls agree. They each have to go on one test job to get in the club.
Mallory sits for Jamie and Lucy, and Claudia has to run home to help Mimi. While trying to help the repairman, she sees Jamie fall from his swing. She manages to calm him down even though other kids are there playing too. Claudia sees it all happen and lets her know that she'll probably be their newest member.
*Mallory wears a red jumper with her name on it, a white blouse, and white tights with red hearts for her first meeting. Kristy says in the notebook that she doesn't need to get dressed up for meetings, which makes me wonder if she's ever seen how Claudia dresses.
*The next day, Mallory just wears jeans and a sweatshirt that says, "I'd rather be writing my novel."
*Jessi tells a joke about a penguin that I actually told my friends and we all cracked up laughing. We are all in our late twenties or early thirties LOL.
*Mallory tells them that Claire cut her first teeth at eight months, but they don't care because the answer they know is seven months, and Kristy gets snippy with her. I really want to punch her in the face.
*Mr. Perkins tells the girls that he "might" take them to Dunkin' Donuts. Mallory asks what they want for a snack, and Myriah says cookies. That ticks off Claudia, who lectures her on how one sweet thing is enough for the day. (A) He didn't say for sure that he would take them there so she's just getting their hopes up, and (B) he didn't say not to give them any sweets.
*Claudia calls it the divestive system at least twice, and she confuses soy formula with soy sauce. And they're worried about letting Mallory sit?
*You have to love Jessi, who points out that calling your babysitting club the baby-sitters club is like calling your restaurant The Restaurant.
*Don't try telling me that the ghostwriter didn't know about Kids Incorporated. I know that I watched that show long before I started reading BSC books.
*Charlotte is really cute in this book. She peeks through the hedges until Mallory sees her, asks to play with Becca, and gives Jessi banana bread for her family.
*The racism theme really slaps you in the face in this book. Literally everyone in town except the BSC, their families, and Charlotte's family immediately hates Jessi and her family because they're black.