Baby-Sitter’s Club 9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House

With a two weeks left of summer, BSC is going strong. They just got back from vacation, and everyone is ready to go! The Perkinses moved into Kristy’s old house, so the girls have new clients in a familiar space.  They also have a few gigs with the Pike family, where Nicky is feeling REALLY left out. The triplets are jerks to him, he doesn’t want to play with the girls, so Nicky has a two block rule where he can go anywhere in a 2 block area from their house. I won’t bore you with any other baby-sitting nonsense, but those are the high points.

Dawn has  been reading some of Claudia’s Nancy Drew books ,and just finished The Hidden Staircase where  Nancy finds a secret passage. Dawn decides to go exploring in her 1795 farmhouse and invites Mary Anne, Stacey, Kristy and Claudia to come over.  They hear a hollow thud in Dawn’s room, but can’t find a way to open the wall (if it’s really a passage, that is).  Dawn sits for the Pikes and has a slight scare with the 2 block rule. After she leaves the Pikes’ semi-cool place to her non-AC house, she decides to read in the hay loft (because it MAY be cooler than the house). She falls off (of course) and finds a trapdoor. Dawn’s curiosity gets the best of her and she meanders through the passage. The other end, of course, is her room. While in the passage, she finds a skeleton key, a metal button, and a buckle. She then decides her house is haunted.

Dawn keeps the passage a secret, but eventually shows Jeff the passage when they’re bored, it’s stormy,  and Sharon is on a date with “the Trip man.”  She finds an “old fashioned ice cream cone” and an Indian nickle. They hear creaking and moaning, and freak out. They call Sharon on her date to come save them, and they’re pretty embarrassed afterward but they KNOW it’s a ghost. Sharon brings home a book,  The History of Stoneybrook, and Dawn does a little research.  She fits clues together and decides her ghost is none other than Jared Mullray, who refused to leave his farmhouse approximately 100 years ago. The neighbors heard him yell, “I ain’t leaving”… but the voice wasn’t in the house or the barn, so it’s a strong possibility he was in between… in a secret place only he knew about… hmmm…  The next day,  Mary Anne and Dawn go in the passage and find a book called Great Dog Tales (that looked a hundred years old) and peanut shells.

Dawn has a horrible day sitting for the Pikes where Nicky was pretty much humiliated by the triplets. She tells off the triplets and looks for Nicky in the 2 block radius. Dawn puts two and two together, realizes her house is exactly 2 blocks away, and she catches Nicky in the passage. They have a heart-to-heart, and now Dawn knows where SOME of the noises have come from.  There are some that will remain a mystery…

Bookworm’s Commentary:
I love this book. I loved the BSC as a child, and they hold a dog-eared place in my heart.   The early ones are probably my favorites. As many bloggers have observed, the “chapter 2” is not in place at this time (where they go into long detail about the club and describing its members) and they haven’t been in 8th grade for the 10th time.
This is what I love about this book:

  • The mystery. Yeah, the secret passage is highly unlikely unless you live in a place where servants had to keep out of sight.  But who didn’t look for one in their house after reading this?
  • Dawn is more laid-back hippie with a lot of time on her hands vs the militant vegetarian/ecologist that she is later.
  • They act like typical teenagers with an overblown imagination. AND they do their research. They didn’t have Google, people! Dawn did it the old fashioned way– with a BOOK! 🙂
  • I will have to say, I still find it ridiculous that she believed a ghost left Great Dog Tales in the passageway.  That sounds like a common 19th Century book title…

The Class Part
Grades: advanced 2-5.
My mom recently asked if my niece could read BSC, and I said yes. I remember trying to read Logan Vs. Mary Anne, and I couldn’t get into that when I was in 2nd/3rd grade, but I think it had more to do with knowing the format of the books and the subject of that book. Third grade would probably be better. I wrote a rap about BSC in 4th grade for reading week, so… I think that’s a good age range. I don’t remember when I stopped reading BSC. I know I was still going strong in 5th grade, but not sure if it carried over in 6th.
Grade: A. This was when BSC was at their freshest.  This was when there was a mystery that stuck with you– a secret passageway? A haunted passageway, at that? Simply because I have PLENTY of BSC to compare this to, I’ll be happy to give it an A.

Other Important Notes: I don’t know if I’ll recap a lot of BSC books. Many bloggers have, and I want to give you some resources in case you want to read specific summaries, etc.
One that I have found interesting is BSC Chronologically . She has read the books in order of publication, and it’s fantastically done.  Sadly, she just finished up the main series, but she’s going to continue writing. Check her out if you want more BSC summaries. She also says this book is one of her favorites, so I’m not alone!
Also, I am a fan of two other blogs Are you there, Youth? It’s me, Nikki and Dibbly Fresh.  Both are amazing bloggers who are funny, interesting, and insightful.  They’re writing primarily for entertainment.  While I write for entertainment (what else am I doing this summer?), my “Class Stuff” section makes it a resource for me and possibly others.  While one of  my other favorite blogs is not literary criticism, you can get awesome fashion critiques from What Claudia Wore. So… more BSC is at your fingertips if you’re interested!

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Filed under Realistic, Upper elementary

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