Little Sister #28- Karen’s Tea Party

Oh what a terrible, awful, shiteous piece of writing.  The only reason I didn’t throw this book down in anger and stop reading it is that the plot was reminscient of that great episode of ” The Cosby Show”  when Rudy liked that boy in her class, Clarence, and the teacher was teaching all of the kids manners, and the boys were being little jerk-offs and Clarence was mean to Rudy blah blah blah and at the dance Kenny ended up dancing w/ that old white lady teacher!  Oh how I wish I could have watched that ep of the Cosby Show instead of reading this book. Well, here’s the recap.

Of course, this book starts at the ” big house.”  For some reason Nannie entrusts Karen to make the rice for dinnertime.  I just don’t get why seven year olds are allowed to use the oven I really don’t.  Oh well.  First Karen had to bring four cups of water to a boil. Karen has learned that when the water is boiling it makes big bubbles. Karen doesn’t have ” time” for that- the fuck? so Karen just decides to take the rice, a shaker full of salt and a stick of butter and ADDS that all to the water- EWWWWW.  Then Karen ” let the rice swim around for a bit in the water” because she doesn’t know what ” simmer for 20 minutes” and then when it says to ” let the rice stand” she just said ” you stand there rice.” I mean why couldn’t Kristy at least be there to supervise to be sure Karen didn’t totally F up?  Of course the rice gets ruined and Karen blames it on the recipe having ” secret codes” like ” tsps”.  Then Karen screams she will write a letter to the rice company to complain. What a BRAT!

Karen decides that while writing the letter to the rice company, she will tell them about the big house and the little house. Why the hell would the rice company care about that?

Well instead of what the Brewers were going to have for dinner, Nannie made spaghetti.  Karen finds it funny to say ” pass the passketti”.  Then Karen is all slurping at the table, Andrew blows bubbles into his milk, and David Michael starts making gross noises with  his armpit at the table.  Karen then starts burping loudly, and so does Sam.  Watson then yells at Sam saying that since he’s in high school he should be expected to have good manners. OK but Karen and David Michael are seven years old they should be old enough to know that burping and loud armpit noises aren’t polite.  Then Elizabeth finds this old book called ” The Goops” about a group of kids who are gross. David Michael says he doesn’t like talk about manners. I guess because his mom didn’t bother to teach him any? Ugh I don’t know.

Karen, David Michael, and Sam are burping loudly again during lunch on Saturday. Watson then says he has a special announcement to make.  Watson says he has enrolled Karen and David Michael in Mr. Peabody’s School of Dance and Charm, where the kids will learn ballroom dancing and manners. I mean, what you thought WATSON would teach his own daughter manners? P-shaw!  David Michael says he will not go, but Watson says he and David Michael’s mom talked it over, the decision was made, and it’s final.

At the beginning of Chapter 5, Karen is singing ” oh I want to be a lovely, lovely lady. That is what I truly want to be” to the tune of her favorite commercial jingle ( the Oscar Meyer weiner commercial in case you weren’t aware.)  Elizabeth and Kristy are taking Karen dress shopping for her charm school class that starts that Monday. What does Kristy know about dress shopping?  The dress in the window is gigundoly beautiful per Karen- it has pink and blue flowers all over it and Karen loves it.  The saleslady, Mrs. Oliver, says she will try to see if the dress comes in Karen’s size.  Mrs. Oliver then brings plenty of dresses but none are the dress Karen really wants, because it’s not in her size. Karen, since she must have that dress, says the one in the display window looks like it would fit, so the saleslady gets it for Karen and yes it does fit and Karen gets her gorgeous dress.  Karen also gets a fancy hair clip with white pearls and a pair of gloves.

Karen wants to have a tea party and she wants to invite Nancy and make chocolate chip cookies. Karen’s mom says that will be fine.  Karen wants to make the cookies all by herself- oh no. Karen’s mom agrees though she tells Karen she has to turn the oven on for her.  Karen mixes the ingredients as the directions state, but THEN Karen has to add liquid brown sugar to the mix to make it especially sweet. UGH!  Of course, the mix comes out all soupy because Karen is a moron.  So Karen tells her mom to turn the oven off, and they will have crackers at the tea party instead.  Karen wears her new dress, and makes Andrew put on a suit and tie for her tea party.  Nancy arrives wearing a pretty blue dress, and brings a jar of jelly which Karen says will go great with the crackers.  Andrew calls the crackers ” quackers” and then starts a fit of burping that makes Nancy laugh so hard she falls backward in her chair.  Karen says that when she goes to Mr. Peabody’s school she will teach Nancy and Andrew good manners.

 Karen finds out that her ” pretend husband” ( ugh) Ricky Torres will be in the charm school as well.  Hannie and Linny Papadakis are also in the charm school, and so is Scott Hsu, Hannie’s pretend hubby. Natalie Springer, Hank Reubens, and Bobby Gianelli are also in the class, and so is Pamela Harding a girl Karen doesn’t like. ( I recently read a book where Pamela is first introduced that I will soon recap).  Mr. Peabody introduces the class to his wife and son Martin, who will help to teach the children manners.  First, the class learns how a boy asks a girl to dance.  The boy says ” May I have this dance? ” and the girl then says ” yes you may” ( wow in my club days, a boy will just start grinding himself against your ass and if you grind against him it means you want to dance. If you walk away the answer is no. Hey I never went to charm school).  While dancing, you compliment your partner by saying ” my you are a good dancer” and the girl would say ” thank you.”  The kids learn the lindy. ( I feel like I am in a bad episode of Dancing with the Stars).  A few of the boys are dancing but most look as if they are glued to the wall.  The girls enjoy learning the lindy. It does look like a fun dance.  It is then time for the boys to ask the girls to dance.  Ricky pretty much mumbles” may I have this dance” really fast and Karen says ” Charmed I’m sure”- of course a simple ” yes you may” won’t work for Karen.  Ricky is just staring as his feet while he and Karen dance and isn’t really into it. Yeah shocking that a seven year old boy wouldn’t be into dancing with a girl.

Karen, Hannie, Natalie and even Nancy ( Karen is teaching her) are practicing the lindy in the back of their classroom. The boys walk over and are all ” toe, heel. Big deal”  Then Ricky points at Karen’s foot, Karen goes to look down and steps on Hannie’s foot. The boys all find this hilarious. Karen asks the boys if any of them have learned any manners and in response the boys make loud, terrible animal noises. Karen and the other girls are exasperated with these boys.

Next charm school class- Mr. Peabody is going to teach the kids about the art of conversation. You can start a convo by saying ” Hello it’s nice to see you” or by giving someone a compliment. Talking about the weather is a great way to make conversation as well.  The class is now ready to learn the waltz.  The kids learn, and then when it’s time to ask a girl to dance Ricky goes to Karen and asks ” can I have these pants?” ( I am so juvenile I find it funny). And Karen hears Scott tell Hannie ” I am glad you are wearing gloves, Hannie. then I won’t catch girl cooties.”

Karen has Nancy over so that she can teach Nancy and Andrew good manners.  Karen tells Nancy and Andrew they have to make polite conversation and then Andrew asks Nancy to dance. Andrew asks Nancy ” may I have this dance” perfectly but then Karen tells Andrew to put his arm around Nancy’s waist and he runs off saying he’s not going to touch a girl!!! Karen tells Nancy boys are gigundo pains. 

At the next charm school class, the girls are sitting and ready, but the boys are nowhere to be found.  The girls are taught how to sit like ladies.  Then the music stops as Martin and Mrs. Peabody are teaching a new dance.  The boys were hiding in the coatroom because they did not want to be in class.  They were playing cards, and Hank was shuffling the cards too loud and Mr. Peabody hears them and so he finds the boys.  Ricky is hoping he will be kicked out of class.

Ricky grouses in school the next day that he still has to go to class and he got in trouble with his parents and his allowance was cut off for a week. Karen says he deserves to get in trouble because he is not willing to learn proper manners.  Karen gets a great idea- she decides that she will have a tea party at  her house and she will invite ALL GIRLS and NONE of the boys.  Karen will have the party at the big house and use flowery dishes.

Karen wants to cook AGAIN after school. This time, Karen and Nancy want to make butterstotch pudding.  Karen insists on adding cinnamon and raisins to the pudding!  Nancy says they should just follow the recipe and Karen’s mom goes to say something but Karen is like ” No I want to cook BY MYSELF”.  Heaps of cinnamon get poured all over the pudding. Pudding mix and raisins spill everywhere.  Karen’s mom doesn’t say anything and just passes them towels. If I were Karen’s mom I’d be a little more upset than that.  Karen then makes invites for the tea party and asks Watson for permission to have it at his house ( not in that order- she asks Watson first then makes the invites).

 At school all of the girls brag loudly about their girls only tea party in front of the boys, and Ricky and Bobby say they wouldn’t want to go to a tea party anyway.  At Mr. Peabody’s Ricky again asks Karen ” may I have these pants?” and Bobby steps on Hannie’s foot twice.

Karen asks Nannie if she can make brownies for the tea party, and luckily Nannie has sense and says that she will help Karen because brownies can be complicated.  Nannie tells Karen that cooking does not have to be fast, it has to be done right and she also teaches Karen what a tsp is. Nannie says it’s important to follow all directions.  Karen then tells Nannie about her tea party and Nannie feels she may have hurt the boys’ feelings by not allowing them ( but OK the fuck? What seven year old boys want to attend tea parties?) to attend and Karen says the boys are being mean and Karen doesn’t care. Karen’s brownies come out great by the way due to Nannie’s tutelage.

Karen puts on her new dress for the tea party and fixes her hair in a side ponytail as she saw Kristy do once to get ready for a dance. I thought only Claudia did a side ponytail! But oh GAWD I loved me some side ponytails as a kid!  The menu is chamomile tea that Nannie made, store bought cookies, Karen’s brownies, and cinnamon toast.

Karen’s tea party is going great and all of the girls are displaying lovely manners. We learn that Melody Korman went to Mr. Peabody’s last year.  Kristy is trying to tell someone at the front door that she doesn’t think they should come in, but those rude BOYS run in anyway and say they are crashing Karen’s tea party!  The boys are all wearing ratty clothes.  David Michael leads the boys into the dining room and Kristy says Karen really has no choice but to let the boys stay.  Then Ricky tells Karen the brownies are good and Karen is all happy to hear a compliment.  The boys are then behaving much better than Karen expected and displaying good manners.  Karen then tells Ricky thanks for being a good guest and is glad everyone had fun and used good manners.

At charm school, the kids learn the cha cha cha and Ricky asked Karen ” may I have this dance” and not these pants. Karen feels like a lovely lady because she is wearing her gloves and dress and dancing with her pretend husband.  The kids then have to guess how many tiles are on the dance floor and of course Karen and Ricky guess the answer closest to how many tiles there are, and they get to lead the waltz.  Karen says the waltz is ” the way she always imagined dancing would be.” Gag me.

Books Coming Up:

Elizabeth Gail and Trouble from the Past

Sweet Valley Kids- Jessica and Elizabeth Run Away

Sweet Valley High Super Edition- Perfect Summer

SVU Thriller- Love and Murder

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5 Responses to “Little Sister #28- Karen’s Tea Party”

  1. I think in Ann M. Martin world, not being invited to a tea party is…like, THE worst insult. Who wouldn’t want to drink tea and wear hideous hats and dress their cats up?!

    • girltalkread Says:

      Ann M Martin probably still holds tea parties with her cats, various stuffed animals ( I can picture Boyd’s Bears), and her best friend from Smith College.

  2. Um, is it terrible that I would so totally tea party with Ann M Martin? I think it would be a good time. And perhaps she could teach me how to knit.

    And Jan, your Little Sister recaps are my favorite of any you do! 🙂

    • girltalkread Says:

      I have heard that a couple of times- don’t you worry more Little Sister is to come- I bought about 20 or so Little Sister books off E Bay and I had 4 prior to that- my sister may even have a few in the attic still ( she read them as a kid, I was too old for them when they came out!) So glad you enjoy them Kathryn!

  3. I didn’t think I had read this book but it all came ROARING back to me. Basically, no parent in Stoneybrook ever wants to teach their children anything. It’s a wonder that the BSC didn’t run a charm school of some kind.

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