There’s a part of me that will never forgive Ann M. Martin for making me love a senior dog. If I know a dog isn’t going to survive a book, I refuse to read it and I blame Louie for that.
I ugly cried through the novel this week and now it’s the graphic novel’s turn. I don’t know whether it’s worse to imagine Louie’s final days or see them laid out before you panel after panel.
This is my first Chan Chau BSC graphic novel and they’ve done a really good job of adapting this story but, with all due respect, I don’t think I will ever read Louie’s story again.
Rather than getting the tissues out, here are the main differences I noticed between the book and graphic novel.
Book: Kristy’s alarm goes off at 6:45am. Graphic novel: Kristy’s alarm goes off at 6:30am.
Book: Kristy says “Poor old Louie” twice, when she feels his cold paws and when David Michael asks her to call Louie to her. Graphic novel: Kristy only says “Poor old Louie” when David Michael asks her to call Louie to her.
Book: Shannon Kilbourne has thick, curly blonde hair. Graphic novel: Shannon Kilbourne has straight, dark brown hair.
Book: After saying the neighbourhood kids look like snob clones, Kristy board the school bus. She calls out, “Good-bye, snobs”, to which Shannon replies, “‘Bye, jerk-face”. Kristy pokes her tongue out at Shannon. Graphic novel: After saying the neighbourhood kids look like snob clones, Kristy board the school bus. Kristy pokes her tongue out at Shannon. Shannon responds in kind.
Book: Kristy talks to Mimi downstairs in the kitchen. Because of Mimi’s stroke, her speech isn’t perfect. Graphic novel: Kristy calls down the Mimi, who is sitting downstairs having tea (probably special tea), as she goes upstairs to the BSC meeting. Mimi’s speech appears unaffected by her stroke.
Book: Charlie, Kristy and David Michael take Louie to his first vet appointment. Graphic novel: The three kids and their mother take Louie to his first vet appointment.
Book: Priscilla, the purebred cat, cost $400. Graphic novel: Priscilla, the purebred cat, cost $4000.
Book: Mary Anne babysits Myriah and Gabbie Perkins. Jamie Newton storms off and goes back home after upsetting Gabbie. Graphic novel: Logan is at the Perkins’ home as well. Jamie Newton stays for the tea party.
Book: All of the furniture in the Delaney’s family room is white. Graphic novel: Only the fireplace is white.
Book: Dawn babysits her younger brother, Jeff. It doesn’t go well. She cries about the situation during the next BSC meeting. Graphic novel: Jeff isn’t mentioned at all.
Book: The fish fountain cost $2000. Graphic novel: The fish fountain cost $20000. Basically, we’re adding a 0 to every price.
Book: Mallory helps Claudia babysit her siblings. Graphic novel: Jessi is there, too.
Book: Karen and Andrew are there when Louie gets sicker. Graphic novel: Karen and Andrew (and Boo-Boo) nap with David Michael and Louie. This is really sweet and doesn’t involve the trauma of seeing Louie get much worse. Louie also doesn’t end up going down the basement stairs.
Book: Watson stays in the car during Louie’s final vet appointment. Graphic novel: Watson stays in the reception area with Kristy and David Michael during Louie’s final vet appointment.
Book: Brother Louie is played on a tape deck. Graphic novel: There’s a CD of Brother Louie.
Book: A cross marks the place where Louie’s belongings are buried. Graphic novel: A gravestone marks the place where Louie’s belongings are buried.
Book: Mary Anne makes the exorcise joke about Ben Brewer. Graphic novel: Jessi makes the exorcise joke about Ben Brewer.
There’s a lot of sad in this story, so I need to leave you with a smile. Andrew is such a good football in this adaptation.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Kristy’s mum got remarried and their family moved to the ritzy neighbourhood across town. The other members of the Baby-sitters Club think it’s a good opportunity to get some new business, but the kids who live nearby aren’t very friendly. They criticise Kristy’s clothes and make fun of the BSC. And, worst of all, they laugh at Louie, Kristy’s pet collie, who’s getting old and not feeling well. These kids are total snobs! But if anyone can put them in their place, it’s the Baby-sitters Club!
Kristy, in her third BSC book, is here to break my heart. Although, to be fair, I should be blaming Ann M. Martin for ruining my illusion that my childhood dog would live forever.
We babysit Jackie, Archie and Shea Rodowsky, Linnie, Hannie and Sadi Papadakis (with Myrtle the turtle and Noodle the poodle), Myriah and Gabbie Perkins, and Amanda and Max Delaney (snobs: kid edition).
Dawn babysits her younger brother, Jeff, who is having problems, one of which may be the fact that their mother is still dating a man named Trip.
Claudia babysits the Pike kids with some help from Mallory, five of whom have chicken pox. Nicky and Vanessa get bent out of shape over the Bizzer sign. They also have cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, which sounds like a somewhat disturbing combination.
Stacey gets Amanda and Max Delaney to clean up their room in a very non Mary Poppins way.
Claudia fails a spelling test. No surprises there.
Tigger has worms. Poor Tigger.
Stacey has an upcoming doctor’s appointment.
“Boy, what a lousy, stinky, rotten day”
Stacey references The Taming of the Shrew. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney was also mentioned when I was pretending I wasn’t ugly crying about a fictional dog.
Kristy has to miss a BSC meeting but I can’t even poke fun at her about it because it was about Louie.
Karen talks about Morbidda Destiny and Ben Brewer.
Andrew is a football.
Shannon goes from being one of the neighbourhood snobs to the BSC’s second associate member.
This book gets sadder every time I read it.
Stoneybrook Central Time: Kristy, her mother and brothers moved in to Watson’s mansion several months ago. Dawn’s brother, Jeff, is now ten years old.
Up next: Claudia makes a new friend, which seems to morph the Baby-Sitters Club into the Baby-Sitters Cult.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Kristy’s mum got married again last summer and now Kristy and her family in a new neighbourhood. The kids aren’t very friendly. In fact, they’re… well, snobs. They criticise Kristy’s clothes. They make fun of the Baby-sitters Club. And worst of all, they laugh at Louie, Kristy’s pet collie, who’s going blind. Nobody does that and gets away with it!
Kristy’s fighting mad – and she’s not going to put up with it much longer. If anybody can beat a Snob Attack, it’s the Baby-sitters Club. And that’s just what they’re going to do.
Cam Geary’s lookalike has started attending Stoneybrook Middle School and Mary Anne is all about the swoon.
I love this adaptation, especially seeing Mary Anne’s face when Claudia calls her out for having a crush on Logan.
For some reason, my reviews of the BSC graphic novels started with me playing spot the difference between them and the book, and now I can’t stop. So, here’s some of the differences I noticed and random things I feel compelled to comment on.
The cover image is gorgeous. Mary Anne’s outfit has a bunch of differences.
Book: White skirt with sketchy pink and blue pictures. Graphic novel: Orange skirt with white pictures. Book: Pink shirt and baggy pink sweater. Graphic novel: White shirt. Book: White slippers with pink and blue edging. Graphic novel: Pink shoes. Book: Smushed orange flower pinned to her outfit. I loved the smushed flower! Graphic novel: Flower tied to her wrist.
Graphic novel: We learn that it’s possible what Kristy learned about decorum in the first book hasn’t stuck.
Book: Because everything is right in the universe, Mallory is not a BSC member yet. Graphic novel: Mallory is still a BSC member before her time. Yes, I’ll probably mention this every single time until she’s supposed to be.
Book: Mary Anne gets all melty about Cam Geary being on the cover of Sixteen magazine and talks about how the previous issue had an article about him. Graphic novel: Mary Anne gets all melty about Cam Geary being on the cover of Sixteen magazine and says she’s not usually into it but … 😍, Cam Geary.
Graphic novel: One of the reasons Mary Anne is in love with Cam Geary is because he knits. Very appropriate. I don’t remember this being mentioned in the book.
Book: Mary Anne and Dawn make it to Claudia’s room after only calling out hello to Janine. Graphic novel: Janine tries to tell Dawn about California’s almond exports on her way to the first BSC meeting of the story.
Book: During the first meeting, Claudia and Stacey are sitting on the bed, while Dawn and Mary Anne sit on the floor. Graphic novel: Claudia is on the bed and Stacey is on the floor. Dawn joins Claudia on the bed. Also, Mallory is there (see above grumble).
Book: Cam Geary is dating Corrie Lalique. An awkward, not entirely okay discussion ensues about the size of her breasts. Graphic novel: Cam Geary is dating Corrie Lalique. Corrie is not defined by her breasts. Yay!
Book: Mary Anne’s gym class play field hockey. Graphic novel: Mary Anne attempts to run in gym class.
Book: Mary Anne always gets home from BSC meetings before her father finishes work. It’s her responsibility to start dinner. Graphic novel: Mr Spier is home, casually reading a book, when Mary Anne returns from a BSC meeting. Mary Anne and he talk about his love life. That does not happen in the book.
Graphic novel: Mallory is there during the emergency meeting and suggests that Jessi Ramsey could be another junior officer. A trial for Jessi while Stacey is babysitting Charlotte is organised. Jessi shouldn’t be in Stoneybrook yet.
Book: Logan sits next to Mary Anne during the emergency BSC meeting. Graphic novel: Logan sits next to Dawn during the emergency BSC meeting.
I loved watching Mary Anne spruce herself up for the BSC meeting that Logan attends, even though the outfit she eventually chooses is different than the one she wears in the book. Book: Bright vest over a white short sleeved blouse. Graphic novel: Green shirt with cats on it and a light green cardigan. Jessi is there and that’s when we’re introduced to her. Jessi says her family haven’t found a house yet but in the book, I’m almost positive her family has already moved in before we meet her.
Book: Stacey had to introduce Mary Anne because she can’t speak in front of Logan yet. Graphic novel: Mary Anne actually finds the words to introduce herself and her role in the BSC.
Book: Awkward bra snapping story. Graphic novel: There’s no awkward bra snapping story.
Book: Jackie Rodowsky is known for his red hair. Graphic novel: Jackie Rodowsky has brown hair.
Book: Mary Anne thinks of her own picture she drew of a house but doesn’t say anything. Graphic novel: Mary Anne makes a quip when Logan says he has a picture just like that one that he drew. Mary Anne should be too overcome to say anything, let alone anything smart, at this point.
Book: Logan’s scar is on his lip. Graphic novel: Logan’s scar is near his lip.
Book: Logan and Mary Anne remember what they said about how much trouble can one kid be in front of Jackie. Graphic novel: Logan and Mary Anne remember what they said about how much trouble can one kid be after they finish the babysitting job.
Book: Stacey reads Happy Birthday to You by Dr Seuss to Charlotte. Paddington Takes to the Air and Tik-Tok of Oz are also mentioned. Graphic novel: Jessi reads Harriet’s Happy Birthday by P.G. Bunsworth to Charlotte. No other books are mentioned.
Graphic novel: There’s no mention of the underwear or sportwear departments when the girls go shopping for Mary Anne’s dance outfit.
Graphic novel: The dance begins at 7:30pm and ends at 9:30pm. Mary Anne worries that she won’t be able to find enough things to talk about with Logan for three hours. Maybe swooning affects your ability to do math?
Graphic novel: Claudia does Mary Anne’s makeup for the dance. What would Mr Spier have to say about that?
Book: Mary Anne sits in the bleachers after the shoe incident. Graphic novel: Mary Anne hides in the toilets after the shoe incident before moving to the bleachers.
Graphic novel: We meet Becca Ramsey in chapter 12 and learn the Ramseys are currently staying in a hotel. Not awesome, but they do have a buffet with pizza bites. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.
Book: Jessi’s books are in storage. Graphic novel: Jessi and Mallory bond over the Off Your High Horse book series.
Book: Stacey says she’ll call Logan to let him know about the change of time for the party. Graphic novel: Stacey says she’s already called Logan to let him know about the change of time for the party.
Book: Mary Anne arrives late to the party. Graphic novel: Mary Anne arrives at the party on time, thanks to advice from her father.
Book: Stacey does the whole mood lighting thing before the rec room goes dark. Graphic novel: There’s no mood lighting.
Graphic novel: Logan asks Mary Anne if it’s okay for him to call her his girlfriend. Book: This did not happen in the book. Why did this not happen in the book?! This is awesome!
Book: Logan doesn’t want to join the BSC because of the whole embarassing being a boy at a girl club thing. Graphic novel: Logan’s reason for not wanting to join the BSC is because he forgot he is supposed to babysit his siblings during club times on Monday and Wednesday. I’m glad the original reason was changed but this seems like a pretty lame excuse.
Book: Tigger’s siblings are two red tabbies and “one splotchy, patchy calico”. Graphic novel: Tigger’s siblings look just like him so there’s no specific reason why he’s the right one.
Graphic novel: Logan goes back to Mary Anne’s house with her and Tigger, and hangs out with her in her bedroom! Not something Mr Spier would have approved of.
Book: Mary Anne and Stacey sort things out over the phone. Graphic novel: Mary Anne and Stacey sort things out in person.
Book: The BSC members bring Mary Anne the leftovers of the cake and there’s enough for four small slices. Graphic novel: The BSC members bring over an entire cake. Much better! Also, Logan, Mallory and Jessi are there.
Book: Mary Anne gets a Smash tape from Kristy, socks from Stacey, a shirt from Dawn and jewellery from Claudia. Graphic novel: the Smash tape becomes yarn and Mallory and Jessi give her books.
Book: Logan becomes an associate member over the phone. Graphic novel: Logan and Jessi become members at Mary Anne’s house.
Graphic novel: The Chewy Perkins incident doesn’t happen.
Book: Kristy mentions that Louie is getting old, foreshadowing the trauma that is to come. Graphic novel: Louie isn’t mentioned.
I’m not emotionally ready for the next book.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
It’s the first day of a new school year, and while Mary Anne doesn’t know what to expect from the eighth grade, she’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. One thing she definitely doesn’t expect is to meet Logan Bruno, who just moved to Stoneybrook!
Logan has a dreamy southern accent, he’s awfully cute… and he might be interested in joining the BSC. But the baby-sitters aren’t sure if Logan would make a good club member, so they send him on a job with Mary Anne as a test. Logan and Mary Anne hit it off, but Mary Anne isn’t sure of where their friendship could go. Life in the Baby-sitters Club has never been this complicated – or this fun!
Before you get all swoony over Logan Bruno from Louisville, Kentucky (complete with southern accent), make sure you’ve read Kristy’s Big Day, Claudia and Mean Janine, Boy-Crazy Stacey and The Ghost at Dawn’s House as there are spoilers for all of these in the intro.
Mary Anne, the romantic of the BSC, was already pretty swoony about Cam Geary so you can imagine the effect encountering his lookalike at school has on her. It’s essentially love at first drool.
Mary Anne isn’t the only one swooning over Logan, though. All of the BSC members do and if you look at the original cover illustration, it looks like Jackie Rodowsky is a bit swoony as well.
This isn’t the first time Mary Anne’s hormones have kicked in. Remember Sea City? But Logan isn’t a summer fling, even though it would have been all sorts of lovely if he’d been her first kiss.
We babysit Jenny Prezzioso, David Michael Thomas, Karen and Andrew Brewer, Charlotte Johanssen, Buddy, Suzi and Marni Barrett, the Pikes, the Marshalls, Myriah and Gabbie (plus Chewy the dog) Perkins, Jamie (“hi-hi!”) and Lucy Newton, the two Ohdner girls (no, we haven’t met them before), Jackie Rodowsky (the Rodowsky’s are also newbie BSC clients) and four Morgan boys.
Dawn wears a “pretty snappy outfit – hot-pink shorts with a big, breezy island-print shirt over a white tank top.”
Mary Anne comes up with her very own great idea but Kristy comes up with the name “associate member” for Logan. I’d forgotten that he’d said he had some guy friends who might want to babysit for the BSC as well. I don’t remember that ever eventuating.
Claudia serves refreshments junk food. She also almost commits the apparently unpardonable sin of saying “bra strap in front of a boy.”
Stacey does a Porky Pig impressions. That’s all folks.
Mary Anne gets her first bra on the first day of eighth grade. Now Kristy is the only braless BSC member.
Kristy has to take a bus to school instead of walking with ex-next door neighbour, Mary Anne, like every other first day of school. Incidentally, the first day of school is a Thursday.
When I first read this book, I didn’t realise that Chewbacca Perkins was named after someone…
The BSC members hold an emergency meeting (naturally) but this one is called by Claudia. They even cancel a meeting; getting Mary Anne ready for the dance is more important, even for Kristy, who is the one to suggest cancelling the meeting.
“I say we cancel today’s club meeting and go over to Mary Anne’s instead.”
Then Stacey calls a special BSC meeting at Mary Anne’s house on a Sunday. Has Kristy lost all control?
The school cafeteria food includes “a dirty sock that’s been left out in the rain and then hidden in a dark closet for three weeks” and “steamed rubber in Turtle Wax”.
Mary Anne’s classes are English, math, gym, social studies, science, French and she has homeroom, lunch and study hall.
I looked forward to using a folder with looseleaf paper, just like Mary Anne, when I first read this book. At the time it felt like a more mature way of doing school than the exercise books I was used to.
If I was Mary Anne, my favourite birthday present (besides Tigger) would have been the wind-up dinosaur that shoots sparks out of its mouth. Good one, Alan Gray, you pest.
By the numbers: Mary Anne’s locker combination is 132, her homeroom number is 216, the club members each pay $1 per week in club dues, Logan’s phone number (in case you want to call him and swoon) is KL51018, Mary Anne has a 10 minute phone call limit and Stacey has a 5 minute phone call limit when she’s calling Laine in New York (she’s found a loophole, though).
Stoneybrook Central Time: At the beginning of this book, it’s been over two months since the end of seventh grade and it’s the final day of summer vacation. Stacey and her family have lived in Stoneybrook for a year now. Mary Anne, the youngest current BSC member, won’t turn 13 for a few weeks.
Up next: Kristy gets to know some snobs and Ann M. Martin traumatises me for life.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
It used to be that Mary Anne had to wear her hair in braids and ask her dad before did anything. But not anymore. Mary Anne has been growing up … and the Baby-sitters Club members aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed.
Logan Bruno likes Mary Anne! He has a dreamy southern accent, he’s awfully cute – and he wants to join the Baby-sitters Club.
The Baby-sitters aren’t sure Logan will make a good club member. And Mary Anne thinks she’s too shy for Logan. Life in the Baby-sitters Club has never been this complicated – or this fun!
The babysitters have been apart for two whole weeks! During that time, Mary Anne and Stacey found boys at Sea City, Claudia and her family took my Mimi to a resort and Dawn visited her father in California. Kristy? Well, she stayed home, but home is now a mansion so she can’t really complain.
In this book, Dawn plays Nancy Drew, investigating a hunch that her new old house, which was built in 1795, has a previously undisclosed special feature: a secret passage. You know, like The Hidden Staircase, the Nancy Drew book that gave her the idea in the first place.
It’s like a large, creepy dollhouse.
Dawn invites the whole BSC over to help her search. They don’t find anything but they do scream a lot. Incidentally, at one point Dawn lets out a scream I don’t think I’ve heard in real life.
After going to a great deal of effort failing to find the secret passage, Dawn does. By sitting down. I love it when laziness is rewarded.
Claudia, whose life basically consists of art, sugar and forbidden Nancy Drew books, was one of the last BSC members to learn about the secret passage at Dawn’s house. I should not be this disappointed for her but here we are. If I’d written this book, Claudia would have led the investigation, Nancy Drewing her way to success.
Dawn babysits Buddy, Suzi and Marnie Barrett. Mary Anne babysits Myriah and Gabbie “Toshe me up” Perkins. Dawn babysits the Pike kids (all of them, with some help from Mallory) and then they babysit the triplets and Nicky. Kristy babysits Karen, Andrew and David Michael. Claudia babysits Jamie “hi-hi!” and Lucy (who was an “angle” – love Claudia typos) Newton. Stacey babysits Nicky, Vanessa, Claire and Margo Pike – and does housework! She can do my housework as well if she’d like.
Books in a book: Dawn reads Ghosts and Spooks, Chills and Thrills: Stories NOT to Be Read After Dark, which she reads after dark (obviously), freaking herself out. She also reads about a Stoneybrook legend in A History of Stoneybrooke. Apparently the e at the end dropped off over the years. Of course, this legend freaks her out even more.
Dawn and Jeff freak out about having to block off a wall so the ghost can’t get in the room. So much freaking out in this book. Also, don’t they know that walls aren’t a problem for ghosts?
Dawn’s mother dates a man named Trip. I have yet to meet a man named Trip.
Claudia magics chocolate from a hollow book. Which is the exact moment I decided I needed to buy a hollow book. Why haven’t I done that yet?
Gabby has a Cabbage Patch Doll. At the time I was reading these books I’d never heard of most of the junk food Claudia found in her room so it was a relief to come across something familiar.
Mary Anne’s crush on Cam Geary is mentioned a couple of times. Hello, foreshadowing.
There’s no emergency BSC meeting in this book but there is a slumber party at Dawn’s house. Kristy wants to watch Ghostbusters, Claudia wants to watch Star Wars, Stacey wants to watch Mary Poppins, Mary Anne wants to watch Sixteen Candles and Dawn wants to watch The Parent Trap. I want to watch Jaws.
Consistent with the responses of the BSC members, this book freaked me out as a kid. The idea of living in a haunted house terrified me, made worse by the fact that my neighbour decided to tell me that their home had a resident ghost around this time.
This book inspired me to borrow a bunch of books featuring ghost stories from the library that remained unread because my imagination was big and my courage was small.
I loved the idea of a secret passage. I looked for one at my home, despite it being less than fifteen years old at the time. I decided right then and there that one day I would live in a home with multiple secret passages. It would also have a secret reading room behind a bookcase, but I digress.
Because my childhood BSC books didn’t come with me into adulthood, I’ve repurchased them. The previous owner of this new old book completed the Notebook Pages. My favourite response was when the 8 year old reader said the BSC member they’re most like is Stacey because they’re “fashion sensitive”.
I want to give Nicky Pike a hug.
About the cover: The secret passage can be accessed through either a trapdoor in the barn or a wall in Dawn’s bedroom. Are Dawn and Jeff heading up to the attic together in this image, something they don’t do in the book? Or did someone in marketing forget to tell the artist how to find the secret passage?
Stoneybrook Central Time: At the beginning of the book, it’s the third week of August, two weeks until eighth grade begins. The babysitters are back after their various adventures of the past two weeks. You’ve already read about Mary Anne and Stacey’s time in Sea City. At the end of the book, school will be starting again in a few days.
Up next: Mary Anne meets Cam Geary in the flesh. Sort of.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Dawn has always thought there was a secret passage hidden in her house. But she never thought there was a ghost… until now. All kinds of creepy things go on whenever Dawn’s at home. There are even spooky noises behind her bedroom wall!
Dawn is sure there’s a ghost in her house. And so are the other Baby-sitters. But they’re so busy with their baby-sitting jobs that they hardly have time for a ghost hunt. Will Dawn and her friends ever solve the mystery, or will Dawn have to share her house… with a ghost?
Welcome to one of my childhood favourite BSC books, which is adorable as a graphic novel.
There are a lot of minor changes in this graphic novel. Most don’t make any difference and there are some improvements on the original, but since I’ve already said pretty much everything I need to about the story in my review of the book, here are some of the changes I noticed.
Stacey’s hair is quite short. It doesn’t line up with the descriptions in the books, but it looks cute and I think I prefer it this way.
Book: Mallory hasn’t been initiated into the BSC yet. She is not at the party at Kristy’s new mansion. Graphic novel: Mallory is a BSC Junior Officer. She is at the party at Kristy’s new mansion. I’m never going to be okay with Mallory joining the BSC before her time.
Book: Stacey’s mother offers her apple slices to take with her to Kristy’s new mansion. Graphic novel: Stacey’s father offers her pretzel sticks to take with her to Kristy’s new mansion.
Book: Stacey’s father is in the garden when she’s leaving for the mansion. Graphic novel: Stacey’s father is inside sitting on an office chair when she’s leaving for the mansion.
Book: Mimi is in the car when Mr Kishi drives Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey to Kristy’s house. Given Mimi’s recent stroke, this makes sense to me. Graphic novel: Mimi is not in the car when Mr Kishi drives Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey to Kristy’s house. Is anyone at the Kishi’s house making sure my Mimi is okay?
Book: It’s Kristy’s idea for the BSC members to write to each other while they’re separated for two whole weeks. Graphic novel: It’s Mary Anne’s idea for the BSC members to write to each other while they’re separated for two whole weeks. While Mary Anne is the sentimental type, I kinda like the idea of this being homework from Kristy.
Book: Stacey’s bikini is yellow and skimpy. Graphic novel: Stacey’s bikini has flowers on it and no yellow.
Book: Stacey’s mother gives her stamps for postcards. Graphic novel: Stacey already has stamps for postcards when her mother asks about them.
Book: On the way to Sea City, the Pikes stop for ice cream at Howard Johnson’s. Graphic novel: On the way to Sea City, the Pikes stop for ice cream at Happy’s Ice Cream.
Book: Nicky makes a VOMIT COMET sign in response to the triplet’s BARFMOBILE sign. Graphic novel: Nicky doesn’t make his sign. This sign delighted me as a kid. I wish it had stayed.
Book: Scott has blonde hair. Graphic novel: Scott has brown hair.
Book: Hunky lifeguard Scott is 18 years old. Graphic novel: Hunky lifeguard Scott is 15 years old. That’s much better!
Book: The Enchanted Tree at Burger Garden has chocolate bars. If you find one with a golden wrapper you win a prize. Graphic novel: The Enchanted Tree at Burger Garden has mystery eggs. If you’re lucky you’ll find a coupon inside one.
Book: Claire brings Mary Anne butter for her sunburn. Graphic novel: Claire brings Mary Anne peanut butter when she’s sunburnt because it’s yummy. Good thinking, Claire.
Book: The Pikes go to Fred’s Putt-Putt Course. Graphic novel: The Pikes go to Marty’s Mini Golf.
Book: Stacey and Mary Anne arrive at Hercules’ Hot Dogs before Alex and Toby. Graphic novel: Alex and Toby are waiting outside Hercules Hot Dogs when Stacey and Mary Anne arrive.
Book: Stacey has a hamburger at Hercules’ Hot Dogs. Graphic novel: Stacey has a vegie dog at Hercules Hot Dogs.
Burger Garden was awesome! I need to go there.
Claire is just as skilled at miniature golf as she is in the book.
Scott doesn’t act all creepy with Stacey, which is a huge relief.
I will always love Sea City. I went there so many times with Mary Anne and Stacey when I was a kid that it began to feel like my very own holiday destination.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous house right on the beach, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!
Mary Anne thinks that Stacey should leave Scott alone and focus on the Pike kids, but Stacey’s in love. Looking for reasons to hang around his lifeguard stand takes up all of her time, which means Mary Anne has to do the job of two baby-sitters. Mary Anne doesn’t like it one bit! How can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested without ruining their friendship and breaking Stacey’s heart?
Stacey and Mary Anne are spending two weeks together as mother’s helpers, babysitting for the Pike kids. But that’s not all. They’re all going to be on vacation in Sea City, New Jersey.
“We’re back, we’re here, we’ve come once more, to our gingerbread house by the white seashore!”
The Pike kids are:
Mallory – 11, future BSC member
Jordan – 10
Byron – 10, loves to eat, has some fears
Adam – 10
Vanessa – 9, poet who speaks in rhyme all the time
Nicky – 8
Margo – 7
Claire – 5, calls her mother ‘Moozie’ and her father ‘Daggles’, adds ‘silly-billy-goo-goo’ to the end of everyone’s names.
Back in Stoneybrook, Kristy babysits David Michael, Karen and Andrew. Dawn has been babysitting in California and Claudia has babysat some kids at the mountain resort in New Hampshire, including Skip.
The house the Pikes rent at Sea City has three levels and is right on the beach. The lifeguard stand is in front of it. That’s where Stacey is going to spend the majority of her time.
Mr Pike makes sure he knows what Stacey can and can’t eat when he’s cooking breakfast the first day in Sea City, which is great. What wasn’t so great was that he did it on the sly, lowering his voice so his kids didn’t hear him. This just reinforced to me as a kid how unimaginably scary diabetes was. Adult me can’t understand why the Pike kids couldn’t know about Stacey’s diabetes.
Mary Anne, who until a few books ago had to wear her hair in braids and wasn’t allowed to wear pants to school, has her first bikini! She also ends up looking like a “tomato with hair”.
Mary Anne meets a boy mother’s helper, Alex. Stacey meets Toby, Alex’s cousin.
Stacey, 13, is in luv with Scott, 18, the lifeguard with the wavy blonde hair. He lets girls do favours for him, like buying him sodas, getting him lunch and picking up things that fall off the lifeguard stand. Wow, what a prize that guy is.
It was Stacey’s pink shirt with the big, bright green and yellow birds that I was thinking of when I bought a pair of bird earrings when I was on holidays with my parents as a kid. Yes, I still have them.
The hunky, chauvinistic lifeguard’s full name is Scott Foley. That’s the name of the actor who played Noel Crane on Felicity.
Millionaire Watson has three cars: an old black Ford, a red sports car and a fancy new car. Kristy’s mother has a green station wagon.
Claudia threw a pot. I originally took that literally.
Kristy learned you should never let kids wash a car without supervision.
Mary Anne learned that boys aren’t scary.
Stacey learned that boys aren’t supposed to use you. Well, I hope she learned it anyway.
Books in a book:
Mallory reads The Secret Garden, one of my all time favourite books.
Mary Anne reads A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Further proof that Stacey’s parents have more than enough money: We already know that they lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park in New York and that the building had a doorman. Now we learn that their apartment had four bedrooms. That’s gotta be worth a fortune!
This was one of my favourite BSC books as a kid. Naturally, one of my many reads took place at the beach. I kept not so subtly glancing up from my book to see if there was a cute lifeguard in the vicinity. This would have been pretty impressive if it happened, especially considering the fact that we were on an unpatrolled beach…
When I wasn’t attempting to find non-existent lifeguards, I was daydreaming about summer romances. I decided that I, too, was going to have one. Spoiler: it was not as advertised.
I was absolutely obsessed with Sea City. I wanted to go everywhere Mary Anne and Stacey did: Trampoline Land, Fred’s Putt-Putt Course, Ice-Cream Palace, Candy Heaven, touristy shops, Burger Garden, Candy Kitchen (they have fudge), If the Suit Fits (they sell bikinis), Hercules’ Hot Dogs and the boardwalk with the arcade.
As a kid, having an 18 year old boyfriend when you’re 13 felt like peak dating. Adult me can’t get over how creepy that is.
Kid me mostly sided with Stacey in this book, even though Mary Anne was my favourite babysitter. Adult me stands 100% with Mary Anne. How dare Stacey leave her to take care of so many kids alone?! Sure, the Pike kids are unnaturally well behaved most of the time but there’s an entire team of them.
Word of the book: kerflooey, which is how Stacey’s blood sugar levels can go if she’s not careful.
Stoneybrook Central Time: It’s the beginning of August when we start this book and the summer holidays between seventh and eighth grade. On the first Tuesday back at school it will have been a year since Kristy had her great idea.
Up next: Dawn goes ghostbusting.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore.
Things are great in Sea City. There’s a gorgeous old house, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!
Mary Anne knows that Scott the lifeguard is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in love. She fixes Scott’s lunch, fetches his sodas, and spends all her time with him… instead of with the Pike kids.
Suddenly Mary Anne’s doing the work of two baby-sitters, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that Scott just isn’t interested – without breaking Stacey’s heart?
When we join Justin on his wacky Wednesday, he’s stranded with his arch-nemesis, Marvin. Marvin adds the arch to nemesis quite well. He’s always perfectly put together even when the situation calls for being covered in mud and he doesn’t fight fair. It’s not beneath him to pull out the dreaded, “I know you are, but what am I?” and he’s a “finders keepers” type of person.
Unfortunately, he’s also Justin’s only company right now, except for the bunch of fins coming closer and closer to their precarious inflatable raft. Wait, did I just say fins? Don’t tell me our intrepid accidental adventurers are on the menu!
I’m quite partial to the biggest audience possible witnessing Justin’s most embarrassing moments so this wasn’t my favourite day of the week so far, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the ride.
There are some Indiana Jones adjacent moments, a chatty parrot and some ghastly, ghostly pirates to contend with. Arr!
While Nan doesn’t have much page time today, her crocheting lessons came in handy in an unexpected way.
Keep an eye out for Justin’s mermaid impression and a sneak peek of Captain Fluffykins. That cat’s pure evil, I tell you.
I absolutely loved the rubber ducky paddle boat, probably in part because it reminded me of the Penguin’s mode of transportation.
I need to commission Mia to draw something for me. Here’s her unicorn-shark hybrid:
Today’s deleted scenes feature goats, cows, ducklings and pandas. While I was quite partial to top hat duckling and flower kid, the cow in a onesie won my heart.
The original Wednesday plan was postponed to Thursday because of our almost stepbrothers’ impromptu detour. However, if I know this series like I think I do, the 11:56pm door knock seems to indicate that Thursday’s plans will be thwarted. I’m looking forward to finding out how thorny Thursday turns out to be.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Have YOU ever had a BAD WEEK?
Justin Chase sure has, and THIS is it!
Monday really socked, Tuesday blew up, but now it’s … WEDNESDAY!
His cat is still mysteriously missing. He’s an unintentional internet sensation. And right now sharks are circling as he’s stranded in a heart-stopping, skin-crawling, jaw-dropping, seriously shocking S.O.S situation with his unbelievably annoying arch-enemy!
Grandma’s new invention can bring book characters to life, which sounds amazing, unless you’re thinking of bringing Annie Wilkes to life. Or you intend to use it to make another crossover possible in two series that can really shine when they tell their own stories but whose characters have no business being in the same universe.
In this next instalment of Anh Do’s crossovers with his other series, Ninja Kid crosses over with Pow Pow Pig. Conveniently, Pow Pow Pig is the favourite series of Nelson’s class and they’re putting on a play based on it.
Anyway, so Nelson and Kenny use Grandma’s invention and not only release Pow Pow Pig and the rest of Z team but also a man-insect called Muzzkito. Apparently Z team battle Muzzkito in Nelson’s favourite Pow Pow Pig book, which must have been released in his world before this one because this is the first I’ve heard of him.
And with that, my favourite Anh Do series has been ruined. At this point I don’t know why I’m still reading his books. They started out so well and I loved them so much. Now they just frustrate me, so I think it’s time to bid them farewell.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Nelson and Kenny are rehearsing for the school play. But thanks to Grandma’s new invention, they accidentally bring all the characters to life! Can they zap everyone back in their book before the whole town is overrun by a giant buzzing mosquito army?!
Next week is a big one for Weir and his friends. Hoping to improve on his previous disasters, Weir is busy prepping for his school photo. The afternoon of the school photos, Weir and pretty much everyone in his class are trying out for a TV ad for Tommy’s Famous Ice-Cream.
Weir isn’t the only one primping and practicing. Mullet has offered to give everyone new haircuts for the occasion and, true to his name, he specialises in one style. I’m not entirely sure how he does it but kids whose hair was originally short suddenly have mullets, the back of which is significantly longer than before Mullet worked his magic.
Meanwhile, Weir, Bella, Henry and Wendy are trying to find ways to make their auditions stand out.
Most of Anh’s recent books could double as advertisements for his other series, with crossovers that don’t always make sense. I was relieved that the characters who showed up in this book were from this series.
Cheesy Weird! felt more like the earlier books in the series, with plenty of dad jokes, things that don’t always go according to plan and friendship goals. While I’m ambivalent about a number of Anh’s series at the moment, this now isn’t one of them. I’m looking forward to seeing what Weir and his friends get up to next.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Once Upon a Blurb
Not only is it school photo day, but there are try-outs for an ice-cream ad!
Can Weir and his friends score the starring roles? Or will their TV dreams melt away?! It won’t be easy … but it will be funny!