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.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Baby-Sitters Club #68: Jessi and the Bad Baby-Sitter

Do you remember when Dawn went to California and swore she would be back for good? Well, that comes right before this one. With her gone, the club is short a member and has no alternate officer. They rely on Shannon and Logan more than ever and still need more help.

Luckily for them, Jessi has a new friend named Wendy. Wendy comes over and helps her watch her siblings, they hang out in school, and they seem to like each other. Kristy says to bring her to their next meeting. Since she apparently didn't get the memo about being late, she's super slow to get ready, but they still get there in time. It's so busy that no one really explains the rules of the club. Kristy decides to let her sit with Jessi to see how she does before giving her the job.

Sitting for the Barrett family goes pretty well. They have to relieve Claudia so she can rush to another job, and Wendy makes them get there 10 minutes late. She's good with kids though and becomes an official member. Unfortunately, Wendy doesn't really like all the BSC rules. She shows up late once because she took a job from a client without telling the BSC and shows up late again because she was playing video games with friends.

Wendy also comes late to sitting jobs. When they sit for the Pikes, Wendy doesn't show up, and Jessi has to call Mary Anne for help. Wendy admits that she was late because she once again took a job without telling the club. During the next meeting, she gets into things with Kristy and quits. Wendy takes the time to tell her that she gets told to do enough of the time without adding someone like Kristy to the mix.

Kristy flips out about how Wendy is completely irresponsible and how she can't believe Jessi would be friends with someone like that. Jessi feels bad because she thinks Wendy won't like her anymore. They eventually talk on the phone and decide that they can be friends, even if Wendy isn't in the club.

In other news, Buddy comes up with an idea to make a video play for Dawn to remind her how much they all love her. They decide to put on Snow White and the Seven Zorbs with Captain Planet saving the day. Buddy takes on Captain Planet, the Arnold twins play Snow White, Suzi plays the witch, and a bunch of other charges help out.

Dawn conveniently comes up with an idea to make a video for them too. She goes around with a camera, films some of the kids they met, and has everyone say hello. The videos cross in the mail, with both sides loving their copies. Oh, and Mallory is super tired all of the time, has no energy, and winds up skipping a bunch of jobs because she's so tired...

*Mallory's doctor says she's probably just anemic or fighting a virus. Bull shit. I had mono around the same age (12 or 13?), and when I went in with my symptoms, the doctor immediately took a blood sample and told me what she thought I had. Mallory just goes home with a prescription and says the blood tests will be in later.

*Claudia outfit #1: oversize white shirt, black vest covered in beads, black flats covered in matching beds, neon green leggings, an earring made of the same beads in one ear, and a green hoop earring in the other.

*Claudia outfit #2: hot pink stirrup pants, fuzzy pink sweater, and neon green pads and helmet.

*The girls all go skating, with Claudia wearing the above outfit. Stacey goes with jeans, a leather jacket, and a black helmet with silver steaks. Kristy wears rollerblades, but most of the other girls wear old-fashioned skates.

*Stacey gives them $30 to buy props for the video. Jessi and Mary Anne divide the money in half and buy way too much stuff for just $15 each. Jessi gets a bank shaped like a red apple, a blow up palm tree, green crepe paper, ears for all the “zorbs,” and other stuff for $15.

*Suzie recently watched a cartoon and keeps quoting, “think again buckaroo” all the time. I totally started saying that.

*When they go the store to buy supplies, Mallory begs off because she's too tired. Jessi and Mary Anne freak out because they can't control all those kids. It's really just Margo, Vanessa, Suzie, Nicky, and Buddy though. Is it really that hard?

*In a C-plot, Jessi sees Margo steal a troll ring from the store. When she confronts her, it turns out that Margo also took some gum and other trinkets. She and Mallory encourage her to tell her mom. Mrs. Pike then takes her back to the store, she gives what she can back, and pays for the rest.

*Shannon comes up with a solution in the end. She'll take over as alternate officer until Dawn comes back and will then step down. She makes a comment about all the stuff her family has planned, which causes Kristy to freak out because they might need her. Shannon just laughs and tells her they can deal with that later.

*I thought I never read this book, but I totally remember the whole play thing.

*All the girls are super excited about Dawn's video, but it kind of ticked me off. The BSC and their charges spend all this money and time on a script, props, and filming. Dawn comes up with the idea in a day and spends like 30 minutes filming.

*Wendy really hates the idea of giving up her regular clients to the club. She does have a good point though. One kid she sits for her is a baby who hates strangers. How would Kristy deal with that?

*At the beginning, Jessi asks if anyone wants hot chocolate and microwaves three mugs of chocolate milk. That is not hot chocolate!!!

*While sitting for her siblings, Mallory falls asleep while reading The Three Bears. Jessi finds Claire playing by herself, and Claire says Mallory fell asleep but she doesn't blame her because she thinks it's a very boring story. I kind of love this kid.

*Vanessa uses her mom's electric rollers to curl her hair for a pizza party. One set gets stuck, and Jessi has to cut them out. She then shows Vanessa how to braid the short side of her head to make it look better, which she does again later in the book. I literally cannot picture how this would look.