Baby Sitters Club #63-Claudia’s Friend

This is yet another BSC book that I never read as a child. And when I read the back of this book and learned that Shea Rodowsky had a prominent part in this book, I was not looking too forward to reading it- after all Jackie is the one who is the ” walking disaster” and gets all of the attention in the Rodowsky household- who gives a rat’s arse about Shea or Archie? Well, let’s begin shall we?

Claudia learns that she is dangerously close to failing English for this grading period. Mrs. Hall says that there is an upcoming test mostly dealing with vocabulary and spelling- yes SPELLING- and Claud can’t even spell most of her friends’ names- and Claudia has to pass this test or she will fail. Mrs. Hall suggests that Claudia spend some time in the resource room, and Claud rejects that idea mighty quick- yeah, the resource room was a rather embarassing place to be in junior high- I should know- I was one of the ” resource room” kids!  After school, Claudia and her friends talk about the upcoming spring dance at the community center. Mary Anne is going to ask Logan ( as boyfriend and girlfriend, wouldn’t they just go together without one formally asking the other?) Kristy is going to ask Bart, Mallory hopes Ben Hobart, Stoneybrook’s answer to Russell Crowe, asks her, and Jessi wants some boy named Curtis Shaller  to ask her to the dance- what the eff happened to Quint???? Stacey is really hoping Sam Thomas asks her to the dance because Stacey has a huge crush on Sam ( Sam Thomas- Stoneybrook’s answer to Steven Wakefield), and who the hell is going to ask Claudia- or who will she ask? Poor Claud has never had good luck with the menfolk, it seems, and I don’t get why- she was the best dressed and the prettiest damn it!  And I have no clue who Dawn is going to go with, either, but I don’t give a shit about Dawn to be honest.

Chapter 2- the dreaded ” let’s describe all of the members and the club because no one is going to know about us otherwise” chapter.  But then the phone rings, and Kristy says that Mrs. Rodowsky just called, and Shea is having problems in school. Shea has dyslexia, and I am sorry but I am not going to explain dyslexia as extensively as this book did- I am sure most of you know it’s a learning disability whereby you may see  a b, but your mind reads it as d, and so you may write dad and not bad or whatever.  Mrs.Rodowsky tells Kristy that even though Shea is getting help in school, he also needs help with his homework after school, and Mrs. Rodowsky and his teachers all agree that Shea is just not trusting adults right now because he’s had to take so many tests to find out why he was doing badly in school, and so he should get homework help from kids closer to his age- like the Baby Sitters’ Club, of course! Boy, Mrs. Rodowsky always finds a way to get out of doing things that involve helping her kids- she had Jessi help Jackie with the science fair, and now the well read tutoring experts the BSC can all help Shea with homework! Claudia then tells her friends how she is in danger of failing English, and Stacey suggests that the other club members can tutor Claudia so that she can pass the test. Claudia says she will ask her parents after dinner if it’d be OK to let the other girls tutor her.

Claudia’s parents ( and let me say I think the Kishis are one of the best sets of parents in Stoneybrook) say that the other BSC’ers can tutor Claudia, but one of them will still check Claudia’s homework every night. Claudia agrees.

Next, Claudia has her first tutoring session with Stacey. Stacey first insists that they cannot study in Claudia’s room so they go into the kitchen and Stacey covers all of the clocks so they won’t distract Claudia.  Stacey has made flash cards for Claudia to study her words.  Claudia then decorates the flash cards once Stacey leaves.  Stacey reminds Claudia that the tutoring must be taken seriously or Claud may have to leave the BSC.

Mary Anne goes to sit for the Rodowsky boys. Mary Anne and Shea start by making a list of all of the subjects in which Shea has homework.  Shea has to write a letter to his favorite athlete for an English assignment, and Shea picks Jackie Robinson.  Shea makes a lot of mistakes in the error, and calls himself dumb. I do feel sort of bad for the kid. Mary Anne tries telling Shea that he is not dumb,  he just learns differently, but Shea keeps beating himself up.  But Shea agrees to fix the letter, and they eventually make it perfect. Meanwhile, Jackie and Archie keep peeking into the room and whispering.  Pay attention to that part of the recap-Archie and Jackie’s whispering DOES mean something…  And as Mary Anne leaves, Shea is sitting in his room looking very discouraged.

So at the next BSC meeting, Mary Anne tells the others about Shea’s struggles and how he keeps saying he is dumb, but he is not he has above average intelligence per Mrs. Rodowsky.  Yes, Ann M, you are teaching us a special lesson that kids with learning disabilities are smart.  Claudia is thinking about her parents and teachers tested her for learning disabilities but she doesn’t have any- she is just unmotivated and hates school.  Stacey then says that she and Claudia have to plan their next tutoring session, and Stacey has declared that she will be Claudia’s only tutor because it will be less confusing. Claudia seems super thrilled.  Janine then comes into Claudia’s bedroom and says there is an envelope that says BSC on it so she assumed it’s for the girls. The letter inside the envelope says YOU ARE VERY NICE.  Mary Anne thinks it’s a message from Logan, and Mal thinks it’s a message from Ben. Claudia is hoping it’s Austin Bentley and the letter is for her, because  Austin is one of the cutest boys in school.  Then Kristy remembers how Cokie Mason  ( the BSC’s arch enemy) and Grace, Cokie’s friend, wrote Kristy letters from a fake secret admirer, and Dawn doesn’t think they’d do the same thing twice, but Kristy isn’t sure.  A mystery has to be solved…

Claudia goes to sit for Jackie, Shea and Archie and it’s not a tutoring session but Mrs R tells Claudia to be as encouraging as possible.  Shea is teaching Jackie and Archie the fundamentals of baseball, and it turns out that Shea is a great athlete.  Jackie and Archie then say they have a project to work on and go off to work on the project. Claudia then suggests to Shea that they can do some of his homework together, which to me makes NO sense because Claudia doesn’t even want to do her own schoolwork, why the hell would she want to help Shea with  his?  All Claudia manages to do is get Shea wicked frustrated, and he starts yelling again about how he is a dummy.  Good one, Claudia.

At the next Baby Sitters’ Club meeting, the ladies receive another note that says YOU ARE THE BEST.  The letters are from a typewriter, and Stacey wonders if Janine could be writing them but Claudia dismisses that idea. The girls again think that one of them has a secret admirer who is dying to ask her to the dance. After the meeting, Stacey and Claudia study in Janine’s room so that Claud is not distracted.  Stacey gives Claud a composition book and tells Claudia she can start working on a journal so that she can practice the words they have learned and write them in complete sentences.  Claudia thinks Stacey is becoming humorless and a total ” pill” so she takes out another sketchbook for her own eyes and writes about how annoying  she feels Stacey is being, and then writes about Shea Rodowsky in the journal that Stacey will read over and correct if necessary. Claudia works very hard on that journal so that Stacey can’t spot any mistakes and annoy her.

Kristy has a Krusher’s practice, and spots Bart and is trying to see if Bart wrote those notes- well, he didn’t. This chapter was stupid- I find the Krushers mind numbingly boring, plus Kristy was sitting for the Korman kids, who I couldn’t care less about. And OK I get it Skylar, the one year old, is scared of cats, that she calls ” tats.” Enough already!

Stacey decides she will come over and do a little extra tutoring with Claudia.  Claudia hands over the journal that she thinks is perfect to Stacey,  and Stacey starts circling mistakes in red and Claudia is pissed! Thankfully the BSC meeting is starting before Claud can rip Stacey’s eyes out.  The ladies find another note, and it says ” you are the greatest”. Stacey thinks that Sam is writing the notes and Claudia is all ” of course you do Stacey because you think you are the greatest!” and she doesn’t mean this nicely. So Stacey is all ” excuse me for wanting to help you with English. Excuse me for wanting to be your friend!”  and Claud then tells Stacey she’s ” excused” and to leave! WHOA…  So after the meeting, Claudia pulls out a journal and lets Stacey have it…

So Claud goes to sit for the Rodowskys again, and again Shea is calling himself dumb.  This is getting old and repetitive, I am sorry.  Claudia tells Shea how she may fail English, and Claudia says that others say Claud should do well in school, but Claudia just doesn’t like school.  Claudia then says she’s great in art, and Shea says he’s a great athlete.  So Claudia goes to help Shea with spelling, and Shea then teaches Claudia some spelling rules using Claud’s Seventeen magazine. So Claudia and Shea help each other, and it’s so warm and fuzzy.

Stacey goes to sit at Kristy’s house because Kristy is going to watch Bart play basketball, and every other adult or teen is busy as well. The babysitting job is boring, and basically Stacey is on the phone with Mary Anne and Mal talking about how Mary Anne is going to the dance with Logan, and Mal with Ben. Jessi is going with this Curtis kid,  and Sam asked Stacey.  Blah blah blah.

Claudia feels great as she goes to Shea’s, because Ma Rodowsky specifically asked for Claud to come over to tutor Shea- take that, Stacey!  Shea and Claudia decorate some cards and a graph, and it makes math easier for Shea, and meanwhile Shea helps Claud with her vocab some more.  After Shea and Claud’s successful tutoring session, there’s yet another BSC meeting, and the new note tells the members of the BSC to meet whoever the note writer is at the Rosebud Cafe on Saturday wearing nice clothes. Perfume is sprayed all over the note, so this leads Kristy to believe this MUST be the work of Cokie and Grace- now keep in mind that earlier on,  Mary Anne and Claud both notice that Archie and Jackie are being ” secretive” and have a “special project” going on- so obviously I now totally know who is behind these notes- but I guess the BSC didn’t read the club notebook too closely to think that Grace and Cokie wrote these notes.   Stace then says she has to borrow Claud’s journal to correct so Claudia hastily hands her a journal… gee where is this going?

Kristy tells the other BSC members to dress as horrid as possible to meet ” Cokie and Grace” at the Rosebud Cafe. Claudia wears a big lime green shirt with a bleach stain on it and ripped jeans- sounds like an outfit I’d wear in 7th grade on weekends…;) The BSC members also bring water guns, and of course when Claud sees the others they all look awful.  Then a familiar voice calls from the back of the room at the cafe- the Rodowsky boys- and Matt and Haley Braddock,  and the Arnold twins… yep it’s the children the BSC sit for! They are holding a huge banner that says BSC on it, and  the kids decide that they wanted to treat the baby sitters to any food they wanted at the cafe. The members try to de-uglyfy themselves before ordering their food.  The kids also made portraits of each individual member- awwww….  and Shea wrote Claudia a special note signed ” your friend”- OK seriously readers this  is one of the most boring BSC books I have ever read, I am sorry!

Stacey comes over to Claudia’s house, and they make up.  And the day of the test comes and Claudia gets a 97- and Claudia feels it’s all thanks to Shea and Stacey! Yeah Claud. Yeah book is almost over.

Austin Bentley did ask Claudia to the dance at the Community Center- woooooo!  Dawn is going with Pete Black ( Boy, Pete has dated at least three BSC members, right- slut!) and even Shannon Kilbourne is going with a boy from her school since this dance is for the town. And before the dance, there is a spring party so of course the delightful children are also at the community center.  Claudia asks Shea to dance,  ( awww) and Shea says he is not dumb and he’s cool with the tutors helping him. Hey, I am glad that Claudia gave Shea some self esteem.  So then Shea goes to join his pals, the little ones leave eventually, and in the end the ladies are all dancing with their special men, and the world is perfect. THE END

More BSC snark is a comin- and better books than this one WILL be re-capped, I swear! Next is one of my favorite BSC books of ALL TIME- ” The Truth About Stacey!” I am sooo excited to recap this one! And so you all can read along if you wish, the next recap will be a diversion from the BSC books, Sweet Valley High’s ” Hard Choices,” After that will be ” Mary Anne Misses Logan,” followed by ” Dawn on the Coast.” Next is another early BSC book ” Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls” followed by some fun with the Sweet Valley Twins- ” Boys Against Girls” and ” The Big Party Weekend!”  Also, before the end of the year, I hope to recap ” Kristy’s Big Day”- yes the book where Watson and Elizabeth get hitched, and another favorite BSC book of mine- and it was my best friend in third grade Jenny’s FAVORITE book of all time!  And I am hoping to bang out 2 more recaps by the end of the week- until there- have fun reading as many YA books as possible!


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