{Rereading The Baby-Sitters Club: Books 26-40 & Super Specials 3-5}

Instead of overloading my page with BSC-related posts, I figured I’d do my catch up book post with the latest fifteen books, and clump them together a tad to make things easier. So this post is going to cover books 26-40 as well as Super Specials 3, 4, & 5. A lot of material to cover so let’s jump right in.

In book twenty-six, Claudia and the Sad Good-bye, Martin once again brings us into a heavier area for our baby-sitters. Claudia must deal with the death of her grandmother Mimi. While this is hard for all the baby-sitters, as they all knew and loved Mimi, it is understandably the hardest for Claudia who was closest to her.

Overall, I remember thinking this happened so much later in the series, but I also remember how sad it was when Mimi died.

In Jessi and the Superbrat (Book 27), I’m not 100% sure who the superbrag it, making this a bit of a misnomer.

Jessi starts baby-sitting for Derek Masters, a young t.v. star. Masters turns out to be a relatively normal young boy who is frustrated that people keep asking him about the t.v. show is on. He is not at all difficult to baby-sit for, which made me wonder where the whole superbrag thing came it… but it seems to be based on an alter-ego Derek creates for himself at school.

In book twenty-eight, Welcome Back, Stacey!, it is time for the return of Stacey! But uh-oh! Her parents are getting divorced. Stacey is understandable confused, as she needs to choose between living with her father or moving back to Stoneybrook with her mother. Ultimately Connecticut wins out, and Stacey comes back to the BSC and her school and friends.

She ends up moving into an old house behind the Pikes, which comes up again in a later book…

The adventure of Stacey’s new house continues in book twenty-nine, Mallory and the Mystery Diary. The main plot of the book revolves around the BSC trying to solve an old Stoneybrook mystery. Mallory finds an old diary in an old trunk in Stacey’s attic and reads all about the former resident of the house. In true BSC fashion everything gets resolved pretty quickly and cleanly, and what would likely be considered in real life “too easy.” But what can you do? It’s a kids book.

Little sidebar here to say that I AM still tracking timelines, but these books were read over a month ago and so the exact details are a tad fuzzier than the upcoming books. Thus far, the BSC is still in their second round of 8th grade.

It’s time for another Super Special! In third double-sized installment, Baby-sitters’ Winter Vacation, the gang heads to Vermont for a ski week. A MANDATORY ski week. What kind of school has a mandatory middle school ski week? Fictional ones where 8th grade has no end, I suppose.

While the BSC is on their trip, they meet a group of elementary school students who arrive with a bang – a school bus accident. You see, Vermont (or all of New England, really), is anticipating a major storm, and yet the trip does not get cancelled.

As a teacher, I have to much to say about the responsibilities of chaperones and adults on this ski trip. First of all, the elementary school goes on this trip with just two teachers. No parent volunteers. And the BSC ends up baby-sitting for these kids while their two chaperones have to go to the hospital following the bus accident. It is perhaps one of the most implausible BSC storylines to ever exist. However, all the other makings of a good BSC book are there: Kristy is in full competition mode, Claudia and Stacey are boy crazy and Mary Anne broods over missing Logan (who somehow got out of the mandatory ski trip).

So this book takes us to sometime in winter in the BSC timeline, second round of 8th grade.

Books thirty and thirty-one are a two-parter. In Mary Anne and the Great Romance and Dawn and the Wicked Step-Sister, the love story between Sharon Schafer and Richard Spier finally results in the two of them getting married. Dawn and Mary Anne are ecstatic to help plan the wedding and to finally become stepsisters! However, it also bring about a lot of changes for Mary Anne, who doesn’t handle them particularly well.

In the second half of the installment, Dawn must deal with her new roommate, and she soon learns that she and Mary Anne might have been better off as friends. They clash at home, and the two families struggle to come together. Finally, in the end, they realize that they can co-exist as long as they an all compromise a little bit.

Little sidebar: Mary Anne is really, really emotionally irrational A LOT. I know she is somewhat written this way, as she is an easy crier. But she’s also pretty freaking stubborn when it comes to not getting her way. (No one really brings that up, but you really see it when you read this many BSC books in quick succession.)

In book thirty-two, Kristy and the Secret of Susan, readers get to see the compassionate, softer side of Kristy as she stands up for Susan Felder, a young girl with severe autism. She can’t believe Susan’s parents send her away to a special school and believes she needs to be at home. And while she doesn’t want this battle in the end, she helps Susan (as well as some new kids on the block) make some friends along the way.

In Claudia and the Great Search (book thirty-three), we have a MASSIVE mid-understanding. Or really Claudia jumping to a conclusion with absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

After spending some time with Emily Michelle, Kristy’s adopted little sister, Claudia gets the idea that she must be adopted as well since she is so different from her family. She spends much of the book trying to figure this out and does everything… except ask her parents.

This is one of those stories that could be completely cancelled out if the main character had just done the logical thing to begin with. Claudia believing herself to be adopted has absolutely no basis in reality and turns out to be wholly untrue. If she had gone to her parents right away… well, problem solved! But then we wouldn’t have a book now, would we?

In book thirty-four, Mary Anne and Too Many Boys, Mary Anne and Stacey return to Sea City with the Pikes.

You know what this means, right? It’s summer vacation! Year 2 of 8th grade is over. However, things just get weirder moving forward as the timeline gets all over the place.

However, I digress. Plotline-wise, the book focuses on Mary Anne’s boy problem this time around instead of Stacey’s.

Mary Anne is worried that her relationship with Logan might be affected when she sees Alex working as a mother’s helper again. Their romance is not exactly rekindled, but Mary Anne still worries that she’s been unfaithful to Logan by even entertaining the idea. What can I say? Mary Anne’s a worrier.

We’re back in Stoneybrook – and school for year three of 8th grade – in Stacey and the Mystery of Stoneybrook. An old house is being town down and Stacey and Charlotte need to investigate the claim that it is haunted. They even go so far as to hunt down the original owner and speak to him.

This book was a simple mystery, perhaps leading us into the BSC mystery books which start after book forty-six.

It’s now early September (presumably, based on the weather needed for the plot line of this super special) in Baby-sitters’ Island Adventure. In this installment, Claudia and Dawn arrange a sailboat race to a small island off the coast of Stoneybrook… and they bring a number of their baby-sitting charges, as well as Dawn’s brother Jeff, with them!

Tragedy strikes when a storm hits, and the girls need to get the kids to the nearest island.

The problem? The island they’re on wasn’t their original destination. The wind from the storm blew them off course and onto another piece of land. Dawn, Claudia and Jeff need to deal with the three children in their care (Haley Braddock, Becca Ramsey… and four year old Jamie Newton, who spikes a fever).

First off, who allows their four year old son to go off on a sailboat race with two thirteen year olds and no adult? However, I don’t suppose the plot line here is any more implausible than the winter vacation one. This was at least a leisure activity for Claudia and Dawn, perhaps a class they were taking after school. Other than the weirdly irresponsible parents for sending their kids out onto the boat without an adult, this could actually happen.

Now timeline-wise, my guess is September as school is in session but it’s warm enough to go sailing still… and because of something that’s going to happen a few books from now!

In Jessi’s Baby-sitter, we are officially introduced to Aunt Cecelia. She first appears in the last super special but she comes back to watch Jessi and her siblings when Mrs. Ramsey starts working again.

To sum up: Aunt Cecelia is awful and Jessi can’t stand her. But rather than discuss the problem with her parents, she and Becca make is worse by playing pranks on their aunt.

Personally? Aunt Cecelia IS super unreasonable. Even as an adult I think this.

However, once again, the problem gets worse than it needs to because of a simple lack of communication. Not only do Jessi and Becca not communicate with their parents, but neither does Aunt Cecelia, who seems to constantly believe the girls are doing something they are not supposed to. But by the end of the book, all is right with the world again, and Jessi lives happily with her aunt.

It’s Dawn’s turn to be boy-crazy in Dawn and the Older Boy. Dawn is instantly smitten with Travis, a friend of Charlie Thomas. He’s older, but seems to like her… or does he?

Travis is the worst. He hangs out with Dawn for the sole purpose of trying to get her to change everything about her. He brings her suggestions about how to do her hair and how to dress… and also has no intentions of dating her, as he has a girlfriend!

In book thirty-eight, Kristy’s Mystery Admirer, it’s now Kristy with a little crush! However, her crush is much more appropriate than Dawn’s as it’s on Bart, the thirteen year old coach of Bart’s Bashers.

Turns out, Bart returns the feelings and becomes Kristy’s admirer from afar. He sends her a few sweet letters, but soon the letters turn weirdly dark and they soon figure out that someone else has started sending them.

So I am fully on board with Kristy and Bart. Their relationship is adorable, and it’s equally adorable when they go to the Halloween Hop together (making this book take place in October). I also enjoy how innocent and confusing their relationship is, as these things should be when you’re only thirteen years old.

In Poor Mallory!, Mr. Pike loses his job and things are iffy for the family for a little while. Mallory’s non-BSC friends start to treat her like a disease (but the baby-sitters are all extra supportive and give her extra jobs).

Mallory starts working at the Delaneys house and helps the kids learn a lesson in finding out who their friends are when people see, to just be coming over to use their pool.

Here’s where my timeline theory falls apart a little bit… if the last book was during Halloween, when does this one take place? It’s warm enough to be outside in the pool. I guess it’s just one of those things I have to ignore! I suppose I can only use concrete examples of time for my tracking.

In the fifth super special, California Girls!, the BSC wins $10,000 in the lottery and use their winnings to visit Dawn’s father in California. Thought the two weeks they are there, they get into all sorts of various trouble.

This was always one of my favorites growing up. I loved reading about their California adventures. I can’t say that it sparked any lifelong goals to visit California but I have in my adulthood – twice! – and enjoyed it (although I’ve never really been to the beach).

This was, other than the lottery winning part (which is not THAT far-fetched), a more believable story. Even Stacey getting into the crazy car accident with a group of irresponsible kids she starts hanging out with makes complete sense. In this book, the girls split up a lot and explore on their own fairly often, but they only start to feel like themselves again when they start doing things as a group!

Timeline? Who knows? They have two weeks off of school and this could either be for Winter Break or Spring Break. However, as they don’t celebrate any major holidays, my money’s on spring.

Finally, we’re at book forty, Claudia and the Middle School Mystery. In this book, Claudia aces a math test, but then gets accused of cheating. She spends the rest of the book trying to prove that it wasn’t her who cheated, and she gets some help from a surprising source: Janine.

I’ve enjoyed Claudia stories so much more since the show came out. It think this has to do with the actress who plays her. I just keep picturing her as Claudia and it makes the character come alive a bit more.

Timeline–wise, we’re still at school, post California trip. Best guess? March or April-ish.

Phew, that was a lot of books to get through. Moving forward I’ll be sticking to my five books at a time format, as this was a struggle to go through and remember everything fifteen books back, and I can’t imagine it reads super-smoothly. But it’s done, and we’re moving on to the next five books (six with a super special)!

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