Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: "Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street: The Baby-Sitters Club #49"

 Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street: The Baby-Sitters Club #49 by Ann M Martin
4 out of 5 stars

This was a pretty good one, especially compared to the last sobfest. Rosie Wilder, genius extraordinaire, is the Child of the Week, who needs a 13 year old to show her parents that they are doing it wrong. Maybe the parents of Stoneybrook should take a child-rearing class, so they don't need the baby-sitter psychiatrists.

The book starts out with Claudia watching a documentary on Andy Warhol and Janine is like, "I don't understand how you can call that stuff art." Psshh...whatever Janine, go study your calculus or something. Side note...why did Janine not skip a grade or three if she's such a super genius? She's taking college level classes but is still technically a junior. Anyway, Claudia gets a Kristy-sized Idea to make a series of pop-art style paintings of junk food. Twinkies, Doritos, Ring Dings, Milk anyone else getting hungry? Kristy takes it a step further and suggests she have a show in her garage for the public. Claudia thinks this is a great idea and gets to work on her pieces. Before all that though, we have a What Claudia is Wearing:

I'm into wild clothes and different hairstyles. That afternoon, for instance, I was wearing a man's paisley vest I'd found at a yard sale, over a striped button-down shirt with tuxedo-stripe black Spandex stirrup pants, held up with pink-flecked black suspenders. [Sorry, it's hard to find suspenders!] My hair was pulled straight back with a paisley comb, and I was wearing electric-pink ankle boots. The boots really set off the formality of the rest of the outfit, sort of like the punchline of a joke.

So at the BSC meeting, Mrs Wilder (who is apparently British?) calls and needs a semi-regular sitter for 7 year old Rosie, because her mother has had a rash of illnesses/injuries lately. (Get it? Rash? I crack myself up.) Claudia gets the job and is kind of excited about it, until she actually starts the job. Rosie is apparently super talented in everything she tries and her parents want her to do it all: piano, ballet, violin, singing, tap, acting, science club, math club, modeling (she goes on go-sees, just like on America's Next Top Model lol. (My sister and I have been binge watching ANTM from S1 this summer, it's so great and so much better than the later seasons.)) On top of all that talent, Rosie is really smart too, and ends up making Claudia feel even stupider than usual.

Janine, in her glasses, was explaining things about animal migration and habitats. Rosie, in her glasses, was nodding and asking intelligent-sounding questions.

And Claudia Kishi, with no glasses, was drawing half a Twinkie.

She tries to get to know Rosie better, especially after Claud sees how hard her teachers work her, but it's no good. Then Stacey has to baby-sit Rosie one day and gets totally embarrassed when she has to help Rosie read a script and messes up. OMG Stace, forreals?! That's like, totes mortifying! Jessi also sits for her and tries to bond with her over ballet, but Rosie isn't having it and says she only wants Claudia to sit for her from now on, because she likes her best. Seriously? Okay.

The BSCers help Claudia clean out her garage for her art show and it totally sucks, because it's a big old mess, and Claudia gets kind of upset because everyone is complaining. Then Stacey comes out with this Mary Poppins-esque gem: "Every fun project begins with some dirty work. But you do it because it has to get done. There's no law that says you have to like every single thing you do, right?" And Claudia has an epiphany, that maybe Rosie doesn't really like doing all these things. Duh. At her next sitting job, this is confirmed when Rosie starts drawing with Claud (and she's good, of course) and says that's what she really likes to do. Claudia encourages her to talk to her parents and later, talks to them herself. Of course, this all goes well and the parents don't resent Claud for butting in, and they let Rosie get rid of some of her activities. Another family, put back together by the Baby-Sitters Club!

Claudia's art show, named Disposable Comestibles, a Pop-Art Multi-Media Extravaganza is a huge success, despite that jerk Alan Gray showing up, and she even sells a couple of pieces. Rosie shows some of her work too and her parents agree she can take lessons; Rosie picks Claudia to be her teacher. We'll probably never hear from/of Rosie again though. And that's the end of that! Guess what's next? Another Super Special and then another BSC: All Grown Up!! Yay!

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