The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day – Ann M. Martin

Only three books after Kristy had her great idea, it’s time for The BSC and the Great Dummy Spit, A.K.A., Welcome to the Party, Dawn! Kristy, Claudia, Stacey and Mary Anne have a doozy of a fight during a BSC meeting after Kristy breaks one of the most important BSC rules: When you answer a call for a babysitting job you must offer the job to everyone else, not simply take it yourself. Or else!

Having just reread the first three books, I found it quite interesting that it’s Kristy accidentally breaking this rule that’s the precursor for all of the drama that follows. Claudia and Stacey have both been guilty of exactly the same infraction (Mary Anne wouldn’t dare break a rule at this point so we won’t point any fingers at her). The other BSC members have been various shades of peeved because of these BSC blunders but nothing like the argument that follows Kristy’s mistake.

But, hey, let’s look at the bright side. At least we now know what the BSC really think of each other:

  • Kristy is the “biggest, bossiest know-it-all in the world”
  • Claudia is a “stuck-up job-hog”
  • Stacey is a “conceited snob”
  • Mary Anne is a shy little baby.

Actually, given the amount of conflict in this book, it surprises adult me that this was the book that sucked me in. Sure, it was the first one I read so it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart, but I’m the type of person who avoids conflict as much as possible. On the surface it doesn’t seem like the type of book kid me would have loved but I know I did. I’ve read it so many times!

I think what sealed the deal for me was Mary Anne herself. I saw shy, sensitive me in her and the fact that she stood up to people in this book, despite this, made her kind of heroic in my eyes. She had the courage that I wanted and the backbone I hoped was growing in me. And we both love The Parent Trap (the original Hayley Mills version), except I can’t remember now if I fell in love with it before I met Mary Anne or because of her.

Besides all of the time we spend watching our favourite babysitters pretty much hating each others’ guts, we are also introduced to our California girl. Mary Anne meets Dawn on her second day at Stoneybrook Middle School. The start of their friendship is somewhat dodgy, though, with Mary Anne lying to her off the bat.

While the four current BSC members are shooting daggers across the cafeteria at each other with every glance, Mary Anne (in her infinite wisdom) decides that rather than telling Dawn the truth about their bust up, she’ll say her friends are absent from school that day. And the day after. And the day after …

In this book it’s alleged that we babysit for David Michael Thomas, Karen and Andrew Brewer, Jamie (Hi-hi!) and Lucy Newton, Charlotte Johansenn, Nina and Eleanor Marshall, all eight Pike kids at once (😱) and a new girl, Jenny Prezzioso. However, we don’t get to attend most of these jobs with the girls because apparently they’re all too mad to even talk about them.

So, the random bits and pieces that stood out to me during this reread:

Mary Anne is in battle mode for much of the book, also engaging in some traditionally un-Mary Anne-like behaviour with Dawn and her super strict father. This is the man whose rules include not allowing his twelve year old daughter to wear pants to school because, um, reasons?

Kristy misses a BSC meeting. Did you ever think you’d live to see the day?

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Dawn has a VCR at her house, which was a pretty big deal in the 80’s. For those of you who are too young to know what a VCR is, they’re how we watched movies at home in the olden days, before DVD’s, Blu-rays or streaming were invented. If you rented a movie, you absolutely had to rewind the video cassette before returning it to the video store, lest you incur the wrath of the teenager working there.

My Mimi commits a cardinal sin: she calls Mary Anne “my Mary Anne”. Claudia is decidedly unimpressed.

NO FAIR. So there.

Tales from Stoneybrook Central Time: Lucy Newton, who was born during book #3, isn’t two months old yet but at least it proves that Stoneybrook Central Time isn’t slowing down a great deal yet. I wonder how many years these girls remain roughly the same age for.

Further proof that time is in fact still moving forward: The BSC members are invited to Jamie (Hi-hi!) Newton’s fourth birthday party.

Movie in a book: Mary Anne and Dawn watch The Parent Trap. Come to think of it, Mary Anne and Dawn pull a bit of a Parent Trap move on their parents.

Books in a book:

  • Mary Anne reads A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Vanessa Pike reads The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • The younger Pike kids put on a Peter Rabbit play.
  • Nicky and Vanessa Pike are reading Pippi Longstocking.
  • Mary Anne has Blueberries For Sal, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and Caps For Sale in her Kid-Kit.

About the cover: Jenny’s hair ribbons are supposed to be white, not blue. She is also supposed to be asleep when Mary Anne takes her temperature. Close enough, though. I love the original covers!

Next BSC read: Our newest member, Dawn, makes her mark. I loved Dawn’s new-old home when I was growing up. I hope it’s as creepy and quirky as I remember.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Mary Anne has never been a leader of the Baby-sitters Club. She’s left that up to Kristy … or Claudia … or Stacey. But now there’s a big fight among the four friends, and Mary Anne doesn’t have them to depend on anymore.

It’s bad enough when she’s left alone at the lunch table at school. But when she has to babysit a sick child without any help from her friends, Mary Anne knows it’s time to take charge.

The Baby-sitters Club is going to fall apart unless somebody does something – fast. Maybe it’s time for Mary Anne to step in and save the day!

One thought on “The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day – Ann M. Martin

  1. Pingback: Book Haul – January 2021 – Schizanthus Nerd

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