Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Review: Dawn and the Big Sleepover

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Dawn and the Big Sleepover (Baby-Sitters Club #44)

Author: Ann M. Martin

Author's web page: (This blog post or "letter" mentions one of the young people who inspired the Baby-Sitters' charges, in real life, having a child!)

Date: 1991

Publisher: Apple / Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-43573-6

Length: 138 pages

Quote: “‘Was anybody hurt?’ Claudia asked. Mal shook her head. ‘Not seriously. But the school was destroyed.’”

Stoneybrook Middle School, home of the Baby-Sitters Club, has a “sister school” and pen pals program. (Volume 44 in a series of over 100 books is the first time it’s been mentioned and, I think, the last.) When their “sister school” is destroyed by a fire, the kids decide to throw a “gigantic sleepover party” at good old S.M.S. for a fundraising event.

Dawn is, as regular BSC readers know, the complete stereotypical California girl—somewhat out of place in Connecticut. Though content not to be president of the Baby-Sitters Club, and superficially a less dominant personality than Kristy, Dawn is every bit as much of an alpha female as Kristy. (In real life, does this kind of relationship work?) When she starts organizing a project, there’s no question that it is going to be organized. The question is whether Dawn can sustain her mellow manner and avoid running herself completely into the ground with her organizational skills. Dawn also has long blonde hair, divorced parents, and a genuine taste preference for “health food.”

Well, now you know how the plot goes; it’s the Baby-Sitters Club, so everything will work out in a very nice, positive-role-model sort of way. Some of the younger children will whimper as they “sleep over” at school. The Baby-Sitters will demonstrate and learn a few wholesome, cheerful ways to handle the anxieties of younger children. They’ll raise money and send it to their pen pals, from whom no more will be heard.

Dawn is not the most fashion-conscious Baby-Sitter but, with her long blonde hair, she’s probably the one who looks most like a Barbie doll. Too bad she’s shown wearing generic jeans and shirt on the cover of this book. It’s always fun to convert Barbie into Baby-Sitter Dawn. At the time of writing, it is still possible to order the Baby-Sitter Dawn doll, packaged together with the book I physically own, for $20 online. The Storybook Dolls packages tend to move fast in real life, where they're cheaper.

To buy the book as an ordinary Fair Trade Book, send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen (below the blog feed widget). At least eight BSC books, more if you order the skinny "Little Sister" spin-offs, should fit into a package containing books only and shipped under book rates, and Martin or a charity of her choice will get $1 for each of her books you buy here.