Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: Keep Out Claudia

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Keep Out Claudia (Baby-Sitters Club #56)

Author: Ann M. Martin

Date: 1992

Publisher: Apple / Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-45657-1

Length: 135 pages

Quote: “I might as well tell you straight out. When Mrs. Lowell called, she said she needed a sitter, but she asked for someone besides Claudia.”

I think it was Mad magazine that printed the classic:

“See the nice young man…
He does not know that he is talking to 
a bigot. 
Bigots are hard to spot. 
They do not walk around carrying signs that say 
‘I am a bigot.’ 
If they did, 
it would be easier to avoid them.”

Maybe it was Cracked. Anyway, Mrs. Lowell needs a sign. She likes Mary Anne, as a baby-sitter, until she realized that Mary Anne's parents have divorced and remarried. She doesn’t like Claudia, who is Japanese-American; the Lowell children call her “the funny-looking one,” which the Baby-Sitters think, at first, must refer to Claudia’s very arty sense of fashion.) She won’t even let Jessi in the house. (Jessi is Black.) Could the Baby-Sitters Club please send her the blonde baby-sitter she’s heard about? (As if Dawn or Stacey would want anything to do with such a bigot.)

In this volume we learn, for the first and last time, that Mary Anne Spier thinks, “maybe, some of my ancestors were Russian.” And Mrs. Lowell is none too pleased, either, to learn that brown-haired Kristy has an adoptive sister from Vietnam, or that the Baby-Sitters Club includes a boy. And, “Hey, Dawn, Stacey, you blonde-haired, blue-eyed people—I bet you guys wouldn’t have been good enough for Mrs. Lowell,either…because your parents are…”—Kristy dropped her voice to a whisper—“…divorced.” (Mrs. Lowell also disapproves of Mallory because “Your family is just too darn big. Caitlin [Lowell] thinks you’re Catholic.”)

Too bad for the Lowell children. The BSC are organizing a neighborhood band. All the other kids they baby-sit are performing their favorite songs from frequently re-broadcast TV movies, including “Anatevka” from Fiddler on the Roof, of which Mrs. Lowell does not approve. The Lowell kids walk past the concert, looking wistful, because they’re not allowed to be in the band.

Maybe, the BSC hope, they’ll grow up nicer than their mother.

To buy this and other BSC books here, send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen. If you buy several books, we can fit six to ten of them into one package for $5; we'll send Ann M. Martin or a charity of her choice $1 per book. If you order Storybook Dolls dressed to match the cover pictures, only one book-and-doll fits into one package for $20, but Martin or her charity will still receive $1 per book.