Jessi's Wish: The Baby-Sitters Club #48 by Ann M Martin
2 out of 5 stars
Ugh, this is a "Very Special Episode" book. :P Jessi's sister, Becca, comes home from school upset one day because her volunteering group, Kids Can Do Anything, might break up. One of the teacher volunteers is leaving for an extended amount of time and the other teacher can't find anyone else to help out. Jessi thinks this is rotten, because Becca really loves the group, so she decides to volunteer for the group. And then she brings it up at the next BSC meeting and suggests that all the members spend some time volunteering. Surprisingly, Kristy agrees with this, even though it isn't earning her any money. And amazingly, there are no emergency baby-sitting jobs that come up. So they all have time to volunteer for like a month.
We don't get a lot of story about the other sitters' gigs, unfortunately, because some of them could be pretty interesting. And wow, are there a lot of volunteering opportunities in the area for 11-14 year old girls! Kristy helps out at a day-care center that David Michael used to go to (which contradicts their original story, I believe?); Dawn helps some physically disabled kids; Stacey counsels kids who are newly diagnosed with diabetes; Claudia helps with an art class (way to get out of your comfort zone, Claud); Mary Anne is helping (baby-sitting) a boy who is mentally disabled; and Mallory volunteers at a recreational program at a park. We get to see a little bit of everyone's story except Mary Anne and Mal, which is kind of odd.
But the main focus is on Jessi, of course, and her time at the Kids Club. The kids have recently gathered and donated toys to the local children's hospital and they receive letters from the patients, thanking them and such. One of the letters is from a girl named Danielle, who used to go to their school and has leukemia. (Here comes the "Very Special Episode" part.) Danielle is getting better and will be released from the hospital soon and probably joining the Kids Club again. Most of the kids are a little stunned that one of their own is sick and don't really know how to process it at first. When she shows back up at school, the kids are all a little shy around her for awhile but Becca & Charlotte actually befriend her and the 3 girls start hanging out together outside of school and become good friends.
At an informal BSC meeting in Dawn & Mary Anne's barn, Jessi tells them all about Danielle and how she only has 2 wishes: to go to Disney World and to graduate from elementary school. Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye. *sniff* Let's take it down a notch on the drama train for a minute, okay? Here's a funny little passage from Miss City Girl, Stacey McGill followed by a totally made-up, totally dibbly, What Claudia Would Be Wearing This Summer. :)
[Stacey] climbed into the loft and stretched out flat on her back. "This is the life," she said with a sigh. "I think I was meant to be a country girl."
"You mean, life without Bloomingdale's?" asked Claud.
"Oh. No. What was I thinking? I'm not a country girl at all. My mistake."
Okay, back to the serious. Mary Anne tells Jessi about a program called "Your Wish is My Command" (essentially Make-a-Wish Foundation...I guess they couldn't use it, which is odd since there's a blurb in the back of the book about it) that helps sick kids get their wishes. Jessi calls them up and asks all sorts of questions and tells them all about Danielle and they tell her to have the parents call. They do and surprise! They get Danielle on the list right away and she gets her trip to Disney within, like, 2 weeks! Oh BSC-Land, you are so naive. After Danielle gets back from her trip, she gets sick again and has to go back to the hospital. Becca & Charlotte are totally distraught, of course, and scared for her. And dang, I have something in my eye again. This book is really emotional. And it doesn't end with Danielle getting better either, she's still in the hospital at the end. I wonder if we'll get a mention of her again later? Okay, I have to go hug my cat now. ;)