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BSC#7- Claudia and Mean Janine

BSC#7- Claudia and Mean Janine.


Claudia’s grandmother has a stroke, and Claudia finds herself babysitting for Mimi instead of joining the other girls in running a playgroup for the local kids.


Claudia’s jumper is something special. Oversized (it looks like she could fit in there twice), splotchy patterned, bright and hideous colouring…such 80’s glamour. I can just about feel the acrylic. And giant earrings. Don’t forget them. The frightening thing about the earrings is that I could go to the mall and buy a similar pair today.

Janine’s outfit is dreadful. Look, we get that she’s a genius and supposedly has no interest in clothes, but she must have SOME interest, since that outfit is so outdated and ugly that you would probably have to seek out a specialty shop to buy it at. She also has a Lego man haircut!

I think that kid is supposed to be Jamie Newton. He’s dressed rather formally for a four year old playing at home.


-I dislike the way the character of Janine is written. She can’t even hold a conversation, “I was simply trying to uphold my end of a meaningful conversation with my sibling”…no one talks like that. I have been friends with a genius, and currently live with another genius and they don’t talk like that. Even I don’t talk like that when I’m trying to sound ridiculously pretentious!

- Kristy the idea machine is the mastermind behind the BSC playgroup. I have to concede that it’s not a bad idea, since they’ll get paid to babysit and can really just hang out together.

- Mallory Pike wants to come to the playgroup but feels like she’s too old. (At 10? Too old for a playgroup? Surely you jest!) The babysitters let her come along and help out (or be their minion) for free.

- Janine offers to play the Trivia Game with Claudia and Mimi. WHY???? Where is the fun? She wins on her second turn, which has to make it the most boring game in history. What’s wrong with a game of Snakes and Ladders?

- The game ends in a shambles of Claudia making accusations of cheating and Janine slamming the board shut and stomping off in a huff. Real mature girls!

- Claudia and Janine kind of make up, then hear Mimi fall. She’s taken to hospital in an ambulance, and it’s discovered she had a stroke.

- First day of playgroup=outfits! Stacey was wearing ‘a pair of knee length lime green shorts, matching green high topped sneakers, and a large white t shirt with a gigantic taxicab on the front’. Because white is so practical for running a playgroup! MaryAnne and Kristy were both wearing ‘blue jean shorts, running shoes, and T shirts.’ Sounds a bit more sensible really. Dawn had on ‘a surprisingly New York kind of outfit (she usually goes for California casual)…striped pants with suspenders over a red shirt.’ I just expect her to grab her suspenders and burst into a song and dance routine. And I love the way they think ‘california casual’ is an actual fashion genre. (If fashion can be said to have a genre?)

- They visit Mimi and Claudia gets her to use her eye blinking to communicate with them. She should become a rehabilitation therapist when she gets older. If she could learn to spell.

- Ann M does write the character of post-stroke Mimi very well. This book was the first time I’d really heard of people having a stroke, and it’s a pretty accurate portrayal.

- Karen Brewer causes havoc at the playgroup by telling everyone that Andrew’s going to turn into a monster because of a spell. The children of Stoneybrook do seem somewhat gullible.

- Claudia is PAID to look after Mimi in the mornings. Heartless bitch.

-Outfit! Claudia was invited to Lucy Newton’s christening, and she wore ‘a big, loose white shirt with black splotches over it, and white pants that came to just below my knee. My shoes (and I might point out I’d had a fight with Mom over permission to buy them) were dainty gold sandals that laced partway up my legs. Then I put on my pink flamingo earrings and a pink bracelet that said CLAUDIA in heart shaped beads. Finally I braided my hair into four long braids, tied a ribbon round the top of each,  and fastened the ends with butterfly clips.’ For real. I don’t think the sandals were worth fighting over, and what the hell is that hairstyle all about?

- Claudia and Janine have a heart to heart talk and appear to reach some understanding. Don’t they do this in every Claudia book though? Mimi reassures Claudia that she didn’t cause her stroke (although her crazy fashion sense probably sends everyone’s blood pressure rising).


This was never my favourite book. It’s kind of boring, especially coming after the high of Kristy’s Big Day, and before the brilliance that is Boy-crazy Stacey, a review of which will be coming soon!   



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