Hello everyone and welcome to the first Nostalgic Read of 2022! Today we head back to Stoneybrook and the continuing adventures of Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Dawn, Mallory and Jessi . . . the Baby-Sitters Club!
About the Book
Title: Little Miss Stoneybrook . . . and Dawn
Author: Ann M. Martin
Series: The Baby-Sitters Club #15
First Published: August 1, 1988
Blurb: Dawn’s a little jealous when there’s a formal ceremony to welcome Jessi and Mallory into the Baby-sitters Club. Don’t people know that Dawn’s a special baby-sitter, too?
Then it’s Dawn’s turn to shine. Mrs. Pike wants her to help prepare Margo and Claire for the Little Miss Stoneybrook contest. So what if Margo’s only talent is peeling a banana with her feet? Dawn’s going to help her charges win that contest any way she can. The only trouble is… Kristy, Mary Anne, and Claudia are helping Karen, Myriah, and Charlotte enter the contest, too. And nobody’s sure where the competition is fiercer: at the pageant – or in the Baby-sitters Club!
We start off with the newest members of the club, Mallory and Jessi, at the weekly meeting. Kristy wants to officially induct them, which rubs Dawn the wrong way since there wasn’t any ceremony or anything when she joined. Granted, Kristy had been super jealous of Dawn at the time since Dawn was getting to be friends with Mary Anne, but still. It also doesn’t help that a parent calls the club and specially requests Claudia for a job, which makes all the girls feel a bit on edge, as though they aren’t good enough or something. Which is silly. They get over it quickly and the meeting and induction go on as planned. What doesn’t go as planned is Dawn’s evening after the meeting. Her younger brother, Jeff, has been having problems at school ever since they moved to Connecticut from California and he desperately wants to move back home to be with his dad. After pleading his case, their mother agrees that it might be the right decision. Dawn is incredibly hurt by this and feels like her family is falling apart.
The perfect distraction comes by way of the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant. When the BSC sees the advertisement in the local newspaper, they scoff at it, saying that pageants are sexist. Then Mrs. Pike (Mallory’s mom) calls and specially requests Dawn to help two of her daughters (Claire and Margo) enter and prepare for the pageant. Then, a few days later, Kristy’s little stepsister Karen finds out about the pageant and wants to enter. Now we have a competition, Dawn and the Pike girls versus Kristy and Karen.
And then Mary Anne ends up with another one of their kids, Myriah Perkins, who wants to enter. While the Pike girls may be hopeless with their talents (although I can’t peel a banana with my toes, so Margo’s got me there), Myriah has taken dance lessons and gymnastic lessons. Mary Anne thinks she’s got herself a winner. Claudia, feeling a bit left out, ends up sort of talking Charlotte Johannsen to enter (Charlotte liked the idea, but felt really unsure).
The baby-sitters have now taken this pageant not just as a competition for their various charges, but as a competition between themselves to see who is the best baby-sitter. Although Mallory and Jessi are staying out of it, that doesn’t stop it from driving Mallory crazy listening to her little sisters practicing over and over again. and arguing about which one will win the competition. The baby-sitters are also arguing, as the competition starts to get the best of them.
During all of this, it has been decided that Jeff will go back to California to be with his dad, starting with a six month trial. Dawn is devastated and throws everything she has into helping Claire and Margo with their pageant prep. With Jeff’s excitement of leaving, Dawn feels like he doesn’t care about her or their mom, that he won’t miss them at all. He only feels relieved to be going home. Dawn’s mom tries to reassure Dawn that he will miss them, but Dawn doesn’t believe her.
The day of the pageant arrives and it is pure chaos, from the Pike girls’ bedroom to the sheer bedlam backstage at the venue. The one thing that helps is that, once the pageant starts, the baby-sitters all band together to cheer on their girls – all of them. They realize that just because their charges don’t win or don’t do well in the pageant, it has nothing to do with their skills as sitters. When Myriah is named first runner-up, they are all thrilled and cheer for her (none of the other girls do particularly well, although Margo’s banana peeling goes off without a hitch). After the show, the Pike girls are really disappointed that they didn’t win, but their parents are very proud of them. Being in the pageant took courage and hard work and both of the girls gave it their all.
Later, after the hubbub of the pageant dies down, Dawn gets a phone call from Jeff. He is doing well in California, enjoying spending time with his dad, falling back in with his old friends at school. He also tells Dawn that he really misses her. She talks to her dad for a bit and their mom talks to Jeff as well. She mentions after the call that Jeff sounded like his old, happy self again, not the angry sullen kid he had been in Connecticut. So even though it was hard, sending him back to California was the right choice.
Categories: nostalgic reads