Also, the guy who painted this cover totes gave Claud a mustache. Hee.
Also, as per usual, Janine looks about 45 on the cover, not 16. I realize that she's supposed to dress wicked old, but she doesn't even look like a teenager dressed old! Why? Can you tell me?
Plus, why is Claudia going to a sock hop?
Woot. Another example of the BSCers knowing more than parents about said parents' children.
Yeah, the plot of this one is that Claud gets a regular sitting job for Rosie Wilder (the titular "Genius of Elm Street"). (Also, notice how many times the genesis of a plot is a new regular sitting job? Odd...) And nobody likes Rosie, cause she's difficult. And sitting for her is comprised of giving her snacks and "helping" her with her homework in between lessons and rehearsals and practices. Yeah, Rosie's a super-kid. She's done commercials and she tap dances and she plays piano and violin and sings and gets super good grades and wins all kinds of contests. Essentially, her parents were trend-setters. Yeah, but she also has a secret talent that only Claud can understand. Yep, she likes to draw. But she hides it from her parents. Oh, and the kids at school hate her (big shocker there), and she goes on this kids' talent show called...[cough] Uncle Dandy's Star Machine. And auditions and blah. I got tired just reading about all the shit this kid's got going one, and I'm hardly without multiple projects at once that I should be working on but haven't gotten to yet or whatever. Finally, Rosie throws a tantrum, and Claudia facilitates some communication between Little Miss Perfect and her 'rents, cause she understands the situation in a way the Wilder parents just don't.
Subplot-ish: Claudia decides to create a series of paintings of junk food. And decides to put a show on in her garage. Yeah. See, it's not really a subplot, but it's the closest thing in this book.
So much to mock, so little time:
- Oooh, foreshadowing! Someone's been studying their EngLit...Yeah, the book starts with a very detailed description of a commercial featuring a little girl, spilled chocolate milk, and carpet cleaning gremlins. And it's ROSIE WILDER! But, of course, Claud hasn't met her yet...
- Claud's watching a documentary on Andy Warhol. Cause she's an artist! Oh, and she meant to tape it, but she accidentally set the VCR for a.m. instead of p.m. D'oh! And she feels dumb.
- Janine doesn't get art. Big surprise.
- "The first time I heard Janine mention 'calculus' I thought she was talking about a Roman emperor." Really, Claud? Somehow, I don't think so.
- Lucky, lucky us! We get a contrast and compare between Claud's outfit and Janine's! Woo-hoo! "That afternoon, for instance, I was wearing a man's paisley vest I'd found at a yard sale, over a striped button-down shirt with tuxedo-stripe black Spandex stirrup pants, held up with pink-flecked black suspenders. My hair was pulled straight back with a paisley comb, and I was wearing electric-pink ankle boots. The boots really set off the formality of the rest of the outfit, sort of like the punchline of a joke." And "Her hair is always in a page boy, and she'd be perfectly happy wearing a white Oxford blouse and a gray pleated skirt every day. Janine's main accessory is a book cradled in her right arm." Hell, yeah! (I totally didn't know what a pageboy was when I was growing up. A sad, sad time before Google Image search.)
- Claud's junk food series is inspired by Warhol's stuff. Genius?
- How is this outfit of Mary Anne's at all stylish? "...A loose-fitting open shirt over a teal turtleneck with off-white chinos and white sneakers."
- Hee! Mrs. Wilder is all kinds of affectations! She speaks like Madonna does now, and it is hilarious.
- Who knew that Mrs. Wilder was California Casual? She is, after all, wearing a blue Laura Ashley dress.
- Ah, made up super-kid books: Preparing Your Preschooler for Success; Gifted Children: A Parents' Guide; That's My Kid! An Approach to Show-Biz Careers from One Month to Eighteen Years. Prescience is unintentionally funny.
- Oh, I forgot ballet. Rosie does it all.
- Fave fake soap name? "The Brash and the Beautiful." Total rip off, yo.
- Apparently, it's so embarrassing to read a scene from a soap opera. Or at least for the super-sophisticate Stacey.
- "I can't just walk into a gallery and ask someone to give me an exhibit!" Actually, Claud, you kinda have to. And I'm sure Stoneybrook's got a coffee shop or something that shows local artists...C'mon now. Or ask at the Community Center where you take all these "art classes" that only seem to exist as plot devices.
- "Well, now you know the secret of the Baby-sitters Club. We may be excellent baby-sitters, but that doesn't mean we're good at everything. Like making invitations." Fucking shocker. They can't do everything perfectly. Cause, you know, they're only 13. (And 11.) Or something.
- The name of Claud's show (oh, and Rosie has a few drawings in it, too)? Claudia Lynn Kishi's 'Disposable Comestibles,' a Pop-Art Multi-Media Extravaganza. Neither Janine nor Dawn get the joke: "Here was this huge, complicated name that would give people the idea that they were seeing something really serious, and then the subject of the show would turn out to be junk food." It's called irony, Claudia. Learn it, live it, love it.
- Alan Gray shows up to cause trouble at the show. Cause he's a 13-year-old guy. I guess. Or cause boys have cooties. Or something.
Yep. I wish I still had the bookmarks referenced on the cover. I'd totally rock those in my copy of "Please Kill Me" or "King Dork." Yeah.
Bonus for nerdy librarian types! From the OCLC authority file:
150 Babysitters Club (Imaginary organization)
450 BSC (Imaginary organization)
670 Martin, A.M. Mary Anne breaks the rules, c1994: ǂb cover (The Babysitters Club series, no. 79) p. 2 (Babysitters Club or BSC)
670 LC database, 14 Apr. 1997 ǂb (The Babysitters Club: 2 hits)
675 Pringle, D. Imaginary people, 1987; ǂa Carpenter, H. The Oxford comp. to child. lit., 1984; ǂa Twentieth-cent. child. writers, 3rd ed.