Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Baby-Sitters Club Portrait Books: Mary Anne's Book

Like all the other BSC members, Mary Anne has to write a biography for class. She recalls her first memory and how it was about her dad coming home from work one day. She also talks about going to nursery school and how Richard sat with her all morning. When he left, she started crying until Kristy came over and made her sit with her and Claudia. I'm assuming that started their whole friendship.

Mary Anne then remembers first grade and how they did a tea party for Mother's Day. Their teacher told them that if they didn't have a mother, they could bring someone else. When Mary Anne announces that she'll bring her dad, a bunch of kids laugh at her. Kristy even threatens to punch Alan.

Since she already told her dad, she worried about what to do. Eventually though, she decided that he would forget about it and invited Mimi instead. Too bad that Richard really did remember. He shows up just after Mimi, and poor Mary Anne has to tell her teacher what happened. The teacher told her that her dad was both her dad and her mom and that it was perfectly fine for him to be there. Richard later talked to her about how he knows things are hard for her but that she has a lot of people who care about her.

We then jump ahead a year. Kristy's mom signed her up for a YMCA class but was so late that only ballet was left. Even though Mary Anne doesn't want to do it, she doesn't speak up and Richard enrolls her. It's easier for him because the other parents will take them and pick them up so he doesn't need a sitter. The only thing she does like is getting to wear a tutu. Too bad that they don't actually wear those in class.

Mary Anne hates dancing in front of others and wants to quit but is too afraid to tell her dad. When she learns about a public recital, she feels anxious and scared all the time. She even pukes right before. Everyone tells her things will be fine, but Kristy runs and gets Richard. When he asks if it's just nerves, she tells him that she hates dancing and starts crying because she doesn't want to disappoint him. Richard tells her that it's fine, that he never wants to see her unhappy, and takes her home.

It's then fourth grade and the first time Mary Anne is in a class without the other two. They think her dad should go in and demand they switch her to their class, but Mary Anne really likes her new teacher. She also likes April, the new girl, and finds her glasses fascinating. April keeps letting her wear them, and Mary Anne thinks she should get glasses too.

Even though she can't really see herself, she thinks she would look great. While wearing reading glasses at the store, she even has enough confidence to talk with a stranger without wetting herself. When they have eye testing in school, she purposefully flunks. Though she thinks she'll get glasses from the school, she still has to see a doctor.

This finally gives her the chance to see how she looks in glasses, and guess what? She hates them! Since she flunked the test on purpose, she decides to just try her best this time. The doctor finds that she has a problem and really does need glasses for reading. When she gets home, Kristy, Claudia, and April welcome her with funny glasses they made from cardboard. They also tell her how great she looks.

The last story is about how Mary Anne went to Iowa to visit her grandmother Verna. Verna picks her up and keeps talking about how her grandfather would have loved to see her again. She brings him up all the time and makes rude comments about Richard. Verna seems to think that Mary Anne will remember everything about those few months she spent there as a baby.

Verna also makes her do a lot of cooking and baking as well as hang out with her old friends. Every time she tries to talk about her mom, Verna changes the subject. Mary Anne eventually explodes and runs off while claiming she wants to go home. When she comes back, she finds Verna crying over a scrapbook. They talk things through and make up. They even make a quilt together, which wins first prize at the fair. Mary Anne gets an A on her biography.

*Mary Anne cries while thinking about her mom. Sharon comes home, sees her crying, and immediately goes into freak out mode because she thinks something terrible happened in California. I'm pretty sure if I saw Mary Anne crying, I would think it was a Tuesday.

*She conveniently has a photo of her first memory of her dad, which makes me think that she just remembers from the picture and doesn't actually remember the day.

*Their ballet class was a little...intense? It's like an hour of dance, a snack, a short video, and then more dancing. That seems like a lot for little kids.

*The glasses thing is weird. I remember her needing glasses in some of the early books for reading, but then it just goes away. She must have magic vision like Jessica Wakefield.

*Verna is definitely a bitch. She's constantly making snide comments about how they never should have let Richard take Mary Anne and how if she gets hurt, he'll never let her come back. I probably would have snapped too.

*April is the newest popular girl in school and everyone loves her. It sounds bad, but I can't see her hanging out with Mary Anne.

*Richard apparently took her out for dinner every week as a toddler. He later tells her that he did it as a way to teach her manners and how to be polite. That's a nice idea and all, but I've seen some holy terror toddlers out in restaurants.

*Mary Anne mentions that Claudia gave her one of Mimi's scarves and how it still smelled like her. I fully admit that made me tear up a little.

*Mary Anne goes on a date in Iowa with the son of one of Verna's friends. I wonder if she told Logan? It's funny given how much she freaks out about being around other guys in other books.

*One of her sitters was a college student who loved it when she played with her friends because she could get her schoolwork done. It's hard to imagine Richard hiring someone who wouldn't watch her like a hawk!

*Mary Anne was fascinated by Janine as a kid because she was the only one she knew who would walk and read a book at the same time until she saw Beauty and the Beast.


  1. I didn't like Verna in first book she appeared and this one just confirmed my opinion. She tried to take Richard's daughter from him then has the nerve to blame him. She was a bitch.

    Agree about Sharon coming home to find Mary Anne crying that really would be normal everyday thing.

    1. Verna is...not such a good grandma in a lot of these books. It's weird that she then becomes this huge person in MA's life and is suddenly cheery and happy all the time.

      The Sharon thing kind of annoyed me. MA cries over everything, all the time. It's more likely that she saw a kitten fall down than got horrible news from California :)