Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BSC Portrait Book: Claudia's Book

Like the other girls, Claudia has to write her autobiography for school. After talking to Stacey on the phone about math and thinking about her latest art project, she sits down and talks with Janine. Her sister remembers the day they brought Claudia home from the hospital and how she looked, which surprises Claudia. She then sits down and actually starts writing.

Her first real memory is seeing a construction crew pour fresh concrete on the sidewalk. She, Kristy, and Mary Anne drew in the wet concrete and thought it was super cool until Mimi caught them. After giving them a short lecture on how wrong it was, she makes a call and gets the crew back to pour new concrete. Mimi then lets them put their hand prints in the concrete. Way to teach them a lesson.

The girls are then in school. Since her birthday comes during the summer, her mom gives her invitations to hand out on the last day of school. Claudia is super into circuses and throws a circus themed party with a lion tamer cake and all that jazz but no one shows up. They figure that some kids were too excited about the last day of school to show their parents invitations and that others never got one. Claudia runs to her room and cries a whole lot, but they all surprise her with a party anyway. The whole Thomas family and Mary Anne's dad show up. They all bring her gifts, which are actually things from their own homes that they wrapped. She says it was her favorite birthday ever.

Later on all the kids are super excited about the Tooth Fairy and how she leaves them money. Mary Anne just hopes she gets enough to buy a new Barbie outfit. Claudia somehow gets it in her mind that the Tooth Fairy actually steals teeth right out of the mouths of kids and that she's some evil monster. She decides that she will never, ever lose any of her teeth.

At the same time, her teacher launches a project on dental hygiene. Her group makes a big replica of a walrus tusk and even figures out how to make it look slightly brown because you know that she's an expert at all things art. On the way home from school, she trips and hits her mouth, which loosens her tooth. Though she tries to ignore it, her parents find out and schedule an appointment with a dentist.

The dentist looks at her for about three seconds and finds out that she has an adult tooth coming in behind it and the baby tooth needs to come out. They schedule another appointment, and Claudia decides that if the dentist keeps the tooth, she won't have to worry about the Tooth Fairy coming to her house. Unfortunately, the dentist gives her back her tooth. She spends all night worrying until her mom comes in and makes her realize her mom is the Tooth Fairy. She then has a sudden realization that her parents are also Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the whole nine yards but decides not to ruin it for her friends.

Cut to a few years later and her doing really bad in her classes. Her parents sit her down and tell her that her teacher recommended she take some tests for learning disabilities or possibly attend a specialized school. They decide that sending her to some fancy pants school in Stanford, but she waits until the last possibly second before telling her friends and she even tries to fail the tests to get into the school.

One girl tries to become friends with her and talk to her, but Claudia acts really mean and snarky until she goes away. She mopes and whines the whole time, stops eating junk food, and acts like a big brat. After her parents make it clear that she isn't leaving the school, she stops doing art and stops paying attention in class. Her parents finally decide to let her go back to Stoneybrook anyway.

Claudia also gets upset while at that school because SES is planning a special day where each class does a project on a book character. Kristy and Mary Anne keep talking about how much fun it is and she hates it. She eventually stops calling them or going over to their houses and whines that they never call her. Kristy does, but once they hang out again, she pitches a fit because them talking about the project makes her sad.

The last story takes place at some hotel and random beach. Sam and Charlie are playing in a bunch of baseball games, and Mrs. Thomas lets Kristy bring along a friend and she takes Claudia. They get left in charge of David Michael for the day and have fun playing on the beach and hanging out together. The next time they sit for him, he disappears and they later find him playing with some kids. It's seriously like five pages of them flipping out before finding him safe.

While at the games, David Michael gets bored and Claudia offers to walk him around the field. She watches him a second time during the championship. Claudia thinks back on it and how it was basically her first sitting job and thinks about how she was so impressed with Kristy taking charge when her little brother went missing. Her teacher gives her an A+ for content but a B- grade overall because of all her spelling and grammar mistakes.

*Claudia comes across as a little bitchy when talking with Janine. Janine says that she was eating alphabet soup and found all the letters except for a few, which makes Claudia roll her eyes at how dorky her sister is. I actually like her a little more than Claudia most of the time.

*Her birthday outfit was black tights, a tee shirts with a lion on it, high black boots, and a red jacket with gold buckles on it. I really hope the ghostwriter meant leggings and not tights because no 5-6 year old should run around wearing only tights and a tee shirt.

*The Thomas family gives her Sam and Charlie's old train set, which she says she later gave to David Michael for his birthday. It was actually kind of cute.

*So Claudia goes to her family dentist who then refers her to another dentist to actually pull the tooth. What the hell, isn't that what a dentist does? When I was a kid and had an adult tooth pushing out a baby tooth, we went to our family dentist and he took it out that same day. They send Claudia to some "special" dentist the day after her appointment with the family dentist.

*I love that the ghostwriter sticks with the whole Claudia is oh so mature thing that she figures out the Tooth Fairy/Santa/etc. thing before anyone else in her class. God forbid she ever just act like a kid.

*Claudia literally says that she'll stop talking to her friends when she goes to her new school to see how long it takes for them to notice. Kristy calls her on the third day, which she acts like proves her point but come on, it wasn't even three whole days.

*The whole alternative school storyline really pissed me off. Claudia was doing so bad at SES that she was in danger of failing/being held back. The new school has super small classes and focuses on individualized learning, so teachers can really help her. She spends a few weeks pouting and acting like a huge baby, so they give up and send her back to a school that can't help her at all. I wonder how much money they lost on her tuition.

*It seems like the big reason they let her go back is because she says she doesn't want to do art anymore or be an artist. Yeah, you're right. Kids always grow up to do exactly what they wanted to do when they were eight.

*There's another mention in this book about how she doesn't have a learning disability. I'm sorry but the way they write her and show her in school, she has all the signs of a learning disability. Instead they just play it off as she's way too artistic to be smart or do good in school.

*Claudia plans a collage for her special school of a model's head, random clothes, and a perfume sample. She says she was so unhappy that the finished project just looked like random things thrown on paper. Um, isn't that what a collage is?