Claudia begins sitting for the new kids in town, Joey and Nate Nicholls. Later, minor classmate character Erica Blumberg calls Claudia in a panic, saying shes now sitting for the Nicholls boys and theyre pretty beat up. She arrives just in time to see the moms car (with Mrs. Nicholls) and the dads car both pull up! Mrs. Kishi and Mrs. Nicholls get the two boys and Erica out and rush them into the car. They drop off Erica and proceed directly to Mr. Kishis office (where Mr. Nicholls probably wont know to look), where there is a tense planning session. Mrs. Nicholls decides to take the boys to her sisters house in upstate New York. There is a subplot where the baby-sitters are planning a kids act, or whatever, for the Stoneybrook St. Patricks Day parade. I dont know that a comic baby-sitting subplot is needed in a serious book about baby-sitting, but the parade planning sequences are actually rather nicely woven into the larger story, providing new environments for the various baby-sitters to witness Joey and Nates strange tidiness. I also like the moment when Claudia comes home, freaked, from the slap incident, and tries calling almost every baby-sitter before realizing theyre at a planning session. In that moment, the St. Patricks Day parade seems like the least important thing in the world.
in this SERIOUS ISSUE book by ghostwriter Ellen Miles, claudia starts sitting for the nichollses, the family that moved to town in Abby and the Best Kid Ever. the kids are terrified of their dad, who gets mad at them for the slightest thing, like touching his briefcase or reading in bed. all of this together is still not enough for claudia to feel that she has to intervene, but one day she hears the unmistakable sound of the dad hitting one of the kids. nicholls finally owns up to the fact that her husband is an abusive pos and claudias parents help her escape with the kids. nicholls calls claudia at midnight and says give me back my wife! two subplots include claudia babysitting baby lynn, and the bsc kids marching in a st. highlights: -the one thing I can think to put here is that the way claudia and emily and the bsc members behave is developmentally appropriate for middle schoolers who have to deal with a situation like this. reading the book I kept getting mad at claudia for not speaking to her mom about the nichollses sooner, but 13-year-olds are just starting to grow out of the grownups are always right mindset and are still relatively likely to doubt their guts about sketchy adults. -why does it have to get to a point where claudia knows he's physically abusing the kids? nicholls abuses his kids and her mom says lots of people who hurt their kids were abused when they were kids.
nicholls is working at the public library with claudia's mom & apparently mr. nicholls is out of work & always going on job interviews. he does indeed call the club & claudia takes the first job. nicholls arrives home first & has no problem with claudia having taken the boys next door--until she admits she didn't get mr. nicholls mutters something about how "what he doesn't know won't hurt anyone." claudia thinks this is weird, but doesn't comment on it. there was all this weird shit at the beginning of the book about peaches & russ going on vacation & leaving baby lynn with claudia for the week. even though the school year is in & claudia has to go to school every day, plus babysitters club meetings, plus these jobs with the nicholls family, plus homework. let's just assume that claudia stuffed lynn inside a hollow book & forgot about her. nicholls comes home early-ish one afternoon while claudia is making the boys a snack of peanut butter celery, & he completely hulks out about the penut butter jar being left on the kitchen counter. the boys let claudia win at checkers & other board games, & they take care not so get their clothes dirty or leave anything in the house anything less than totally perfect. one day claudia reports for a sitting job & learns that the boys are being punished. claudia tries to work with them & turn the cleaning into a game, but she is very disturbed to learn that the transgression in question is that one of them touched mr. nicholls comes home in a bad mood & shoos claudia out of the house. nicholls turns around & sees her & acts all nice, but claudia can tell that the boy's face is all red. claudia decides to tell her mom, who goes to work the next day & asks mrs. nicholls denies everything, & then calls kristy to cancel the rest of the jobs she'd booked with the babysitters club. they rush over to the nicholls' house (claudia stays home, but eventually becomes so curious that she bikes over to see what's happening). claudia stays in her dad's office & watches the boys (they dropped erica off in stoneybrook, promising to call later) while the kishi parents go back to stoneybrook for mrs. nicholls takes the boys to her sister's place in upstate new york. nicholls calls claudia in the middle of the night & screams, "give me back my wife." um.
After graduating from Smith College, Ann became a teacher and then an editor of children's books. She's now a full-time writer. Sometimes Ann names her characters after people she knows, and other times she simply chooses names that she likes. Some of her favorite authors at that time were Lewis Carroll, P.