Friday, April 4, 2014

BSC Super Special #3: Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation Part 1

By Ann M. Martin. Published December 1989.

Ok, so here’s the deal. Apparently, Stoneybrook Middle School has a mandatory trip every year (even though we didn’t hear about it when they were in seventh grade) to Leicester Lodge in Vermont. I don’t understand why it’s mandatory, there’s nothing educational about it, but whatever. However, if you have a good reason, like going to Aruba, you’re excused. That’s exactly what Logan is doing, so Mary Anne is keeping a journal for him. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled. Mary Anne also volunteered to be trip historian.

The trip is practically cost free; the parents just have to contribute to the Winter Carnival Fund. If they don’t make enough, the nice, rich couple that owns the lodge pays for the rest. They do this for schools all year long. The reality in this book is astounding.

There is going to be a Winter War during the trip, made up of two teams, Red and Blue. Kristy is the Blue Team captain, and she’s also in charge of the whole war. That seems suspicious, but ok. There’s a lot in the book I’ll just try to roll with.

Some of the other girls have special roles, too. Claudia is a judge for the snow sculpture contest, and Jessi is in charge of the talent show. They all get extra credit for these jobs.

So there’s a worry that the trip will get canceled because of a snowstorm, but they decide to go anyway. It doesn’t start snowing until they’re almost to the lodge. Their bus still almost hits a deer, but it’s all good.

The lodge is apparently like The Shining hotel. Good times. Except a wing of this place has been converted into dorms. Each one holds fifty-six people. That sounds like a nightmare. Mal and Jessi get super bummed because they’re split up by grades, so they aren’t with the rest of the club. But they older girls give them a tour of the lodge to make them feel better.

While they’re doing this, two people practically fall through the front doors. They’re the two teachers from an elementary school coming to the lodge. Their bus overturned about two miles away, and the kids are still there with the bus driver, who has a broken leg. The teachers have a broken arm and cracked ribs.

The owners of the lodge, the Georges, offer to drive their bus to the scene, and a couple of SMS teachers volunteer to go along. And then Kristy offers up the BSC’s services, of course. Because nothing kid-related can happen without the Baby-Sitters Club.

When they reach the accident, each girl takes a couple of kids and calms them down. All of them seem fine physically, just shaken up. They get them back safely to the lodge and have a late dinner, and then the adults discuss what to do with the kids. Their teachers will be out of commission for any activities, but the Georges are hesitant to send them home. The kids are all winners of a read-a-thon, and come from families without much money. So of course, Kristy volunteers the BSC again. If the teachers can watch the kids while they’re indoors, they can join the BSC on their activities, and the club will even room with the kids. The adults take them up on their offer. Ms. Halliday, the SMS seventh-grade girls gym teacher, offers to help them with outdoor activities.

Mar Anne finds herself alone on the first day, and decides to get to work on her history project. There are lots of books on the lodge in the library, and quite a few of them mention a ghost. She gets herself all in a tizzy, and she starts harassing the staff about it. Then she sits down to begin writing, but ends up writing a sappy letter to Logan instead. She’s worried he’s meeting other girls in Aruba. Mary Anne is pretty unhinged in this book.

Jessi realizes she could hurt herself skiing or ice-skating, and then she wouldn’t be able to dance. So she pretty much wusses out, and volunteers to watch Pinky, one of the kids, the only one to end up hurt. She sprained her ankle, so she has to stay inside. Pinky is a huge brat, and Jessi wonders if she’s prejudice. She tries playing games with Pinky, but Pinky accuses her of cheating. So Jessi gets her a book, and begins working on the talent show.

Stacey and Ms. Halliday take the fifteen other kids skiing. Ms. Halliday says she’s fine, and lets Stacey go off skiing on her own. She and a hot guy, Pierre, end up crashing into each other. But he’s hot, so it’s all good.

Mallory is just ridiculous. First, she starts freaking out because it’s announced there’s going to be dance on Friday night. And then she tries her Harriet the Spy shit again. But she really just makes stuff up. She decides the cook is trying to poison everyone, and Ms. Halliday is crying because she’s in love with the vice-principal. There’s no evidence for this. She also spies on Stacey and Pierre kissing. Mal is a creeper.

Dawn has a shitty day. She competes in the ice-skating competition, and pretty much fails. She falls in the speed skating race, drops the baton and falls in the relay, and then isn’t chosen in the obstacle course. She decides she should practice skiing, but falls trying to get on the ski lift. So she gives up, and goes inside to complain to Mary Anne. But Mary Anne really couldn’t give two shits, she’s so preoccupied missing Logan. So they have a fight, and Dawn decides she’s not bunking with or talking to Mary Anne anymore.

Mary Anne harasses some staff members some more, but nobody will talk about the ghost. Finally she speaks with Mr. George, and he tells her the history behind the story, but he doesn’t believe in it himself. Mary Anne finds a spot to write this up, when Ms. Halliday sits down beside her. Mary Anne is terrified of her, because she’s horrible at gym class. But they talk, and find they’re both sad. Mary Anne is missing Logan, and Ms. Halliday is missing her fiancĂ© back in Stoneybrook. Ms. Halliday says she gets the impression that Mary Anne thinks she doesn’t like her. Mary Anne says she thinks she hates her because she’s so bad at gym. Ms. Halliday says it’s actually quite the opposite; she admires Mary Anne because she never gave up. Aww.

Check back Monday for Part 2!

o   Why is Ms. Halliday only the seventh-grade gym teacher? Do they have separate teachers for each sex and grade? That would mean six gym teachers.  That seems like a lot.

o   Stacey says in her notebook entry that Pierre’s voice is starting to change, which is “so cool”. I’m sure that’s totally what Logan wants to read about.


  1. Did the BSC ever go on a trip where they didn't end up babysitting? And some of them are working on school projects at the same time here. (I know, it's just a book: if they spent their vacation inside doing nothing, there would be no plot.)

    Is this the book where their classmates torment a girl named Ethel on the bus? It was that "Alice, where are you going?" song, with the lyrics changed: "Ethel, with legs like tree trunks/And a neck like a baboon..." Yeah, nice group of kids.

    1. Yes, that is coming up on their way home. It's pretty terrible.