Sunday, November 13, 2005

That’s why prejudice isn’t rational; or, BSC #56: Keep Out, Claudia!

The kids on the cover of this book are really frightening. I even thought so as a kid…They’re all blond and mean looking, and I guess they’re supposed to be all Aryan and doll-like, but I swear they’re in the original Village of the Damned.

So, in this book, the BSC meets the Lowells. Mary Anne has the first job, and she thinks the three kids are angelic and doll-like. But when Claudia gets the next job, Mrs. Lowell makes her feel uncomfortable, and the kids are nightmares. The next time she calls the BSC, she specifically asks for anyone BUT Claudia. Well, of course Claudia starts to doubt her sitting abilities (as they all do whenever any little thing doesn’t go as expected). But when Jessi shows up to sit, Mrs. Lowell quickly says that she forgot to call, but there have been a change of plans…Well, it’s official: something’s wrong. Kristy decides to get to the bottom of things. Finally, they all figure out that the Lowells are racist. Then, when Mrs. Lowell calls again, asking for the “blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby-sitter she’s heard about.” So, Kristy goes into this elaborate (and immature) thing in which she gives Mrs. Lowell a list of things to hate about the BSC, which convinces Mrs. Lowelll that she doesn’t actually need a sitter. Note: I totally didn’t get the way this was handled. Why not just say that the BSC doesn’t work that way; all sitters have an equal chance at getting all the jobs.

Subplot: The BSC helps a bunch of kids form a band to do showtunes. Yes, I said showtunes. At first, they’re going to do songs from Annie. But then THE CHILDREN decide to do songs from Fiddler on the Roof. I don’t get it. The music in that particular show isn’t very interesting for kids, I would imagine. Annie, I get. I would even understand, like, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. But Fiddler on the Roof? That’s like My Fair Lady or Phantom of the Opera for kid-appeal. Good songs and shows, but I sincerely doubt some fifteen under-10s would dig.

Oh, and at the beginning, Claudia and Janine get along really well-ish. When did that happen?


Rachel said...

I love this blog! I was actually reading this book last night (I've been on a BSC kick lately) and it totally killed me. I love Kristy's speech to Mrs. Lowell ("And I just happen to have a Vietnamese sister...") and I seriously cracked when the kids started playing "Anatevka." First of all, it's like the last song in the play (when they leave Anatevka), and it's totally depressing, yet they played it first. What a way to get the crowd going! And the thought of anyone playing "Anatevka" on a kazoo just...I don't even know.

goovie said...

the fact that they open with "anatevka" is still the funniest thing in the world to me. way to get the crowd going, all you crazy children of the world.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I randomly came across it, but I, too, have been revisiting my sordid BSC past this year (and laughing at gems like "I bet she's named Shaniqua" and "I'm 11 years old and my parents won't let me get a nose job--they are SO strict").

One thing I loved about this book--the diversity of the utterly whitebread Stoneybrook. After all, the Rodowskys are Polish-American and Jamie Newton is part Native American.

Anonymous said...

I know this is old, but I had to comment. For some reason, I just loved this one. I have no idea why. The one thing that sticks out the most, besides the JrNazis laughing at the non-white (Asian, maybe? It's been a while; I don't remember!) kids on TV, was the sentence on the front. Something like, "Who wouldn't want Claudia as a babysitter?" Or something similar. Anyway, I remember reading that and thinking, "Who WOULD? She's obviously insane!" I never cared much for ol' Claud. Way too crazy for my tastes. And I HATED her notebook entries. At one point, little jr grammar police me would go through and correct all her spelling mistakes. That lasted maybe 3 books at the most. I always felt like my head was gonna explode.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe someone didn't want Claudia to babysit just because she's Japanese. I mean, all Japanese are smart and responsible. Everyone knows that! (J/K)

linainverse5 said...

that mrs.lowell is such a rascist bitch
that im like mary anne
i only feel sorry for her this much
*pinches finger*
did i mention claudia is so clueless in this book
gheesh bitch
just because you didnt experience racism in those books
doesnt mean that jessi and the others did
i felt sorry for jessi on that book
i mean all she was trying to do was babysitget to know the kids
but for mrs.lowell to all of a sudden say that
is enough to make me want to yank that bitch's head off
and punch the shit out of her
i like mary Anne and dawn's statement about the racism thing
as well as nannie and janine's
and kristy's remark to mrs lowell
made me want to like kristy again
(even though i dont like her that much)
so yeah
nice book
but totally sad though

Anonymous said...

Sure. In the 1990s, people could actually be blatanly racist and get away with it. . .