18 February 2010


BSC #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

"What if we happened to be baby-sitting somewhere and a burglar just happened to try to break in? . . . It could happen, you know, and we should be prepared."

"You're right," said Kristy. "Good baby-sitters should be prepared for anything."

"Maybe," said Stacey, "we could arrange a code we could give each other over the phone that could be a signal for the other person to call the police. Let's say I'm baby-sitting for Jamie Newton and I hear a burglar. Okay. I want to call the police but I don't want the burglar to
hear me calling the police . . . So what I do is call Claudia, for example, and I say, 'Hi, it's Stacey. Have you found my red ribbon?' and that's a signal that I'm in trouble and need Claudia to call the police."

Wow. I can't believe I'm reviewing a second Baby-Sitters Club book. This seems so portentious . . . you know?

(Hey, do you suppose this would count as another entry for "Women in Horror" Month?)

I actually like this alternative cover better.
The window in the corner, showing us how dark it is outside, really makes a difference.
What do you think?

Ask anyone who has ever been the oldest, most responsible person in a quiet house in the middle of the night, while still a teenager. It's easy to get spooked while baby-sitting. Consider it an element of the Gothic left over from Victorian governess culture. (Oh, that reminds me! I promised to write about Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, didn't I? Do I still have to keep that promise if the reader for whose sake I made it seems to have completely disappeared?)

The main premise draws from the urban legend about the baby-sitter and the prank caller who turns out to be in the same house. Yet since we know that nothing even vaguely NC-13 is going to take place in a Baby-Sitters Club book, the spookiness ends with the comparison. Some of the girls do receive "phantom phone calls" and hear scary noises on the job; but the atmosphere comes from really awkward "props" like a stormy night or a scary movie on the telly, and that's like the author telling the reader to be scared rather than making the reader scared.

At least Ann M. Martin's real strength, her sense of humour, gets a chance to shine. My favourite baby-sitting episode has got to be Mary Anne's, because she goes absolutely wacky at the thought that someone might break in. She sets up several "burglar alarms" around the house, each one more hilarious than the next. If I had to hire a baby-sitter for my children, I'd want her to be like Mary Anne!

Image Source: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls alternative covers


Victor S E Moubarak said...

I like the way you summarise a book and "invite" people to read them. Thanx.

God bless.

Enbrethiliel said...


Your comment is better than chocolate to an amateur reviewer! =D

Thanks so much for stopping by, Victor.

belinda said...

Miss E,( I'm not trying to be a troll) I was reading your profile and I was wondering if you would mind sending me your receipe for your red velvet cake? Please?

I've always wanted to make one and it would be nice for Easter...

Veens said...

I have never read any book in this series. It sounds interesting, maybe I will giv it a try!

christopher said...

Thank you for changing your color scheme if I haven't already mentioned it :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Belinda: I left a comment on your blog! =)

Veens: If you do, try to buy one of the earlier books, which were written by Ann M. Martin herself rather than by a ghostwriter following her detailed outline. (Here's a tip: if she thanks someone at the beginning of the book for "assistance in preparing this manuscript," then it was ghostwritten.)

Christopher: Yeah, I figured I should stop scaring people off with the colour scheme. =P There are more effective ways of doing that, after all . . .