Thursday, March 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

Nothing to Declare 


Back in 2014, I decided I was going to re-read Ann M. Martin's beloved series about four 12 year old girls in Connecticut who babysat the neighbourhood children. Those of us of a certain vintage who love books seem to have started out with the BSC - I've no idea why I didn't continue the series at the time, but from now on I'll endeavour to bring you a new recap every week.

The first post is here:

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #1: Kirsty's Big Idea

On to the second one!

Every book is written from the POV of the character mentioned in the title, so this one is focused mainly on snack-smuggler/fashionista Claudia Kishi.

As always, there's a personal issue and a wider issue at play. The personal is that Claudia feels a bit down about her school work. She's allowed to babysit only if she does well in school, and must be supervised by a family member when she's doing homework so that she doesn't slack off. She finds it all very boring, and it's a sore point between her and her genius sister Janine.

The wider issue is that there's a prank caller on the loose - someone is making prank calls to homes that are later robbed. This happens a few times when the girls are babysitting, and they become increasingly freaked out, but - gasp - it's okay, it's just two boys who have crushes on Claudia and Kristy who have been ringing them and hanging up. Because......they're twelve year old boys and find this hilarious. Kristy and Claudia then have a really problematic discussion about boys that I'm sure 12-year-old me just lapped up:

K: Well, it's just that Alan finally proved something my mother's been telling me for years. Only I didn't believe her until now.
C: What's that?
K: That boys tease you because they like you.

Claudia's fashion, as always, is on point - with the only notable outfit in this book being:

"Purple pants that stop just below my knees, held up with suspenders. White tights with clocks on them, a purple plaid shirt, matching hat, high-top sneakers and earrings with lobsters on them."

Special mentions to go to the school dance (the Halloween Hop), Kristy threatening the little children she's watching ("One false move and I'll punch your lights out") and this kid, who I really hope shows up in future books:

"Ordinarily, I might have tried to sneak in line with her, but she was standing right next to this kid, Alexander Kurtzman, who carries a briefcase and wears a jacket and tie, and lives to obey rules. One of his favourites is 'no frontsies, no backsies' so there was really no point in trying to butt in."

Same, Alexander. Same.

Licorice Whips hidden in her desk.
We have these too, they're licorice laces here I think.

A bag of Root Beer Barrels under her mattress.
Root Beer Barrels are barrel-shaped hard candies flavoured like root beer, which is a non-alcoholic soft drink. I've never seen it here, but I assume it's similar to ginger ale. This may be a good time to tell you about the cans of Shandy my Nana let me buy in the early 1990s, Club made them - they came in a brown can and had something like 0.1% alcohol in them, I used to feel terribly grown up altogether.

A gigantic chocolate bar in her notebook.
Yes, IN her notebook.

Saltwater Taffy in her pencil jar. 
I only know what that is because of Phoebe Buffay's reaction to it, but I just found out this second that a piece of taffy is called a chew here. So think chewits, starburst, chewy toffee, etc.


  1. I am LIVING for this Sharon. Only thing is, I'm gonna need it more regularly than once a week (ooo err). I always loved imagining what a room full of hidden sweets would be like when I read these...and I'm pretty sure Claudia was my first style icon.

    1. Thank you Sinead! Ah stop I remember having a friend over circa 95/96 and we both loved the BSC, I hid chocolate or something in a drawer and she said "Oh it's just like Claudia's room" and I have NEVER been as proud since (kids/wedding/all that adulty stuff aside) - her room was absolute goals!


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