Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Baby-Sitters Club #55: Jessi's Gold Medal

Jessi is an amazing dancer in case you didn't know, which means that she's good at anything even remotely related to dancing. SMS just announced that the students will spend their gym class at the community center taking swim classes. This works out nicely for Jessi because she just asked her parents for a swimming pool but they can't afford it.

Mallory hates the idea, especially since there are boys in the gym class. She can swim pretty good, but she has nothing on Jessi. Jessi notices another woman standing with her gym teacher and watching her. It turns out that she's the coach of the local synchronized swim team and she knows that Jessi has dance training by the way she swims. She asks her to come and check out their team.

Stoneybrook is getting ready for yet another annual event that comes out of nowhere. This one is some random type of Olympic event. Jessi goes to the team's practice and earns a spot on the team right away. Despite saying 700 times that it's a team competition, the coach assigns her this chick Elise as a partner. Elise is on the SMS swim team, and she practiced with this team for a few weeks. The coach then tells them that each two-person team will compete against each other, and she naturally picks Jessi to choreograph their routine.

While practicing, Jessi starts thinking about her charges. Becca is super excited about the Olympics but disappointed that it won't come to Stoneybrook. She suggests hosting an event just like the big one for the kids in town. Nearly everyone wants to take part except for Charlotte and ironically enough, Becca.

Andrew tries a bunch of different events and keeps failing, which puts him in a bad mood. The BSC decides to give every kid a ribbon so they will feel better about participating. Stacey keeps pushing Charlotte into taking part, which makes her feel bad because she thinks Stacey doesn't like her. Since Mary Anne is the only BSC member not participating in the Olympics thing, she calls Charlotte and talks to her.

Mallory doesn't seem too excited either. She keeps sighing and whining a lot about how she sucks at sports. While practicing with the triplets, she trips during a sack race and sprains her ankle. She ends up on crutches for a few weeks, and she finally gets rid of the crutches in time for the mini-Olympics and admits that she was going to pretend like she hurt herself anyway. The kids event goes off without a hitch except that Andrew loses at a bunch of events, but he gets excited when he gets a ribbon.

Kristy and Alan make a bet on who can win a race with the loser serving as the personal assistant of the winner. The bet spreads through the school, and the principal asks them to do a public race in the middle of the event. Alan ends up finishing a few feet behind her, and she makes his life a living hell. He has to set up the kids events, bring her cold drinks and cookies, and has to clean up puke.

Jessi and Elise end up winning first place (i.e. gold medal) in the synchronized swimming event. She invites Elise back to her house for a picnic and they become “good” friends. Jessi tells the BSC that she loves swimming, but she's just way too busy and hates that she's too tired for ballet so she quits.

*How the heck can her parents not afford a swimming pool? Then again, they probably throw away a ton of money on her dance classes every week.

*She comes home from dance class, which takes place right after school, and her parents immediately ask her to watch Squirt and Becca so they can make dinner even though Cecilia is there.

*I'm not sure how this whole swimming thing in class works. Everyone shows up, the teachers make them do a few strokes (despite saying that they know not everyone can swim), and then assign them a group based on their skill level. What if you are a kid who can't swim and has no desire to learn how to swim?

*Would being a ballet dancer naturally mean that you're perfect at synchronized swimming? Yeah, I didn't think so.

*So, the synchronized swim team exists all the time, but people can quit whenever they want. After practicing for over a month, both Jessi and Elise decide to drop the team at the end of the book.

*It would be nice to see one of these girls pick up a hobby that they stick with in later books. If I suddenly discovered that I was amazing at swimming, I would probably keep swimming.

*Once again, Jessi is only on the team for about a month and is good enough to win a gold medal.

*Charlotte tells Mary Anne that she could still participate and do something like sell hot dogs, so MA totally works the concession stand. I really want to picture Charlotte saying it all sarcastic like though.

*Claudia enters a race where she has to run backwards and still doesn't win. Stacey enters a swimming competition and Dawn does the javelin, but neither one win. Kristy not only wins her race against Alan, but she comes in second in a longer race with like eight people because she's a natural athlete.

*Jessi mentions that she has to watch what she eats for ballet, but in the book with the girl who has an eating disorder, she mentions eating whatever she wants.

*She also tells us that she has long dancer's legs and is a natural dancer, which makes me want to smack her. I really hope she hits puberty and turns into Snookie.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #12: Here Come the Bridesmaids!

I was almost sure that I never read this one because I didn't remember Mrs. Barrett getting married. When I read about Carol having Mickey Mouse pictures in her bathroom though, I knew that I read it at least once.

Carol and Jack are getting married on the same day as Mrs. Barrett and Mr. Dewitt. Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy are heading to California, while everyone else stays in Connecticut. Dawn decides to compile everyone's stories into one book to remember the events.

Dawn is a bridesmaid and she thinks Mary Anne is too, so she buys her a dress. She worries about failing her midterms and getting stuck in California, but she passes with the help of Carol. She also worries about Carol as a step-mom, but she eventually accepts it. The We Love Kids Club throws her a going away party, and she gets excited about heading back “home” to Connecticut.

Stacey is a bridesmaid in Mrs. Barrett's wedding. She helps them partially move into their new home, or at least takes care of the kids while they work on the house. Since she's oh-so-mature, she also gets along great with the older women in the wedding.

Jessi takes over the role of Santa at the department store where Stacey's mom works. She worries that people won't want to see a little black girl dressed as Santa, but everyone loves her. She has so much fun that she agrees to do it again next year. Sadly Jessi, there never will be a next year.

Logan gets one random chapter where he helps Mr. DeWitt move an old piano into their new house. He complains that no one plays it, but Franklin wants it because someone left it in his old house. At the end of the book, he learns that he has to help his parents move the piano into their house because they bought it after a teacher said Hunter was a musical prodigy.

Shannon gets one chapter too. She sits with Mallory for all of the kids during the ceremony. Ryan starts throwing a massive hissy fit, so she has to take him out of the wedding and into the basement. She misses the whole wedding.

Mallory and Ben decide to take the kids caroling. Claudia calls because Mrs. Barrett needs a second sitter for the wedding and it's the same day. Ben wants her to cancel, they have a fight, and stop talking. She later calls him and they make up after deciding to just pick another day to go caroling.

Mary Anne flips out when she learns that she's a bridesmaid. She literally cries at the idea of standing in front of people. She and Dawn fight over it, and then Jack and Carol announce that only Jeff and Dawn are in the wedding. They have yet another fight, but they make up before the wedding.

Kristy does a lot of sighing and whining about the California club. They hold a meeting while she's there, and Sunny tells her that she's throwing Dawn a going away party before they leave. She sticks around to help them plan every detail.

Suzi gets a few chapters because she's worried that Santa Claus won't find her in their new house. She writes him a letter, but then she decides that he won't have time to read it before Christmas. She finally comes up with an idea to leave a trail of chocolate chip cookies from her old house to their new house.

Claudia gets hired to help out with the wedding. She takes notes to the caterer and florist, and she does everyone's hair and makeup before the wedding. Jack pays her exactly half the cost of a plane ticket so she can afford to make the trip.

Jeff is worried that Mrs. Bruen will lose her job because Carol is neat, but they actually give her more hours. He also thinks that Carol's stuff won't match their house. The night of the wedding, the movers call to say that someone stole the truck, but Carol is cool with it.

*Jeff says that even he is too old for the Mickey Mouse pictures. I have a Hello Kitty bathmat, trash can, and shower curtain in my bathroom, so he would totally hate it.

*Why would these girls even fly to California for the wedding? They met Jack once and barely spent any time with him. Plus, why would Mary Anne and Dawn think she would be a bridesmaid? Mary Anne doesn't get along very well with Jack, as evidenced by the later super special.

*Mary Anne puts on the wrong dress on the wedding day and thinks that it's swimming on her (she thinks she shrunk). That doesn't really make sense though. Dawn just bought two dresses in their sizes, it's not like they had the dresses altered or anything.

*I love that Carol gets a small wedding on the beach and wears a dark flowered dress despite it being her first wedding. Mrs. Barrett, who has three kids and marries a man with three kids, has a HUGE church wedding and wears a traditional white dress.

*This is yet another book where one of the sitters (Mallory) makes a huge pot of hot chocolate while sitting and invites the whole neighborhood over.

*The WLKC tells Dawn that she can wear her bridesmaid dress to a lot of places. I beg to differ. My sister-in-law picked out a similar dress for me for their wedding (except in teal!), and it's been in my closet since the night of the wedding.

*Carol and Jack are kind of asses. They make Claudia do stuff like take an entire new order to the caterer less than one week before the wedding. Mr. Kishi is also annoyed because he tells her that a plane ticket is too expensive and then worries that Jack will think he can't afford it.

*Would you put a thirteen-year-old girl in charge of picking out your wedding flowers? Yeah, me either.

*I'm not sure Carol and Jack should get married. Dawn points out that they had a big fight and broke up not too long ago. When they get back together, they decide to just get married without taking any time to work on their problems. Plus, they have a big fight a week before the wedding over what to do with her furniture. Isn't that something they should have discussed before? My boyfriend and I talked about that before we moved in together.

*They give Dawn a ticket to come back to California whenever she wants, which is a little dangerous given that she already ran away from home once.

*Claudia is responsible for taking the wedding photos. That sounds dangerous, especially since she decides to take photos from “interesting angles” like the point of view of the dinner.

*I really hate how Kristy acts like she is the supreme leader of all clubs. She says that their group is “kind of” a baby-sitting club and acts like they can't do anything without her.

*Dawn bitches that the cake at her party had too much sugar in it: the cake that little Sophie made. If you don't like it, don't eat it...bitch.

*Dawn says that a ninth grader flirted with one of her friends while they all stood around trying not to look dorky. That's funny given that in the California Diaries books, they are all cool enough to hang out with older kids all of the time.

*Stacey says that she is a like a member of the Barrett family, but I always pictured that as Dawn's role.

*Mary Anne is ready to leave for the airport at 4:15 and Richard tells her to settle down because her flight doesn't leave until 7. Wouldn't he want to leave early? They have to pick up Claudia and Kristy, drive to the airport, find a parking spot, etc. That seems like cutting it close to me.