Back Cover Summary
Dawn and her brother Jeff are back in Stoneybrook for the summer. And if that weren't enough excitement, the Baby-sitters have a school trip to Hawaii on the horizon. The girls need to make a ton of money...in only a month!
In fact, the BSC has taken on so many jobs, they need help. So when Jeff and the Pike triplets catch the baby-sitting bug and want to become BSC members, the club signs them up. As Baby-sitters-in-Training, the boys are happy to eat junk food at meetings and play around with the little kids. But they don't want to change diapers, or miss Little League, or listen when Kristy calls meetings to order. With help like this, will the Baby-sitters ever get to Hawaii?
Dawn and Jeff are spending the summer in Stoneybrook. Dawn is pretty excited to be back on the East Coast, until she finds out about the trip that SMS is going to be offering in July. They've made a deal with a tour company that will allow the school to get a big discount on a trip to Hawaii, provided they bring 50 kids (plus chaperones). If they don't get 50 SMS to sign up, they'll take non-SMS students. The total cost of the trip is $500 per student; half of that is due at the end of the sign up period as a deposit. Mary Anne and Dawn both want to go, so they work on their parents at dinner the day they find out about the trip. Sharon isn't thrilled with the idea of letting Dawn go all the way to Hawaii when she's just paid for her to fly from CA to Stoneybrook, but she and Richard agree to think about it. The next day, Dawn and Mary Anne get the good news: they can go on the trip. Their parents will pay half the cost for each of them, but they're going to have to earn the rest. The other BSC members (the ones who are going to Hawaii, anyway) all have the same deal with their parents.
Meanwhile, Jeff and the Pike triplets have decided that they want to be baby-sitters as well. The BSC agrees to take them on as BITs (baby-sitters in training). Each BSC member will take one BIT with them on on each of their jobs, and then pay the BIT 25% of what they earn. Things don't exactly go well, even from the start: the boys don't really want to go to meetings, they don't like changing diapers, they eat all of Claudia's junk food, and they argue with the kids. Sometimes, they actually add to the BSC's work load rather than lightening it. The club members start to feel like it's a little unfair that they have to PAY the BITs when they're doing more harm than good.
When they're not wrangling BITs, Dawn, Mary Anne, and the others are busy trying to earn the rest of their Hawaii money. Dawn tries selling health food in downtown Stoneybrook, but she doesn't have many takers. Mary Anne tries having a yard sale, and to Dawn's surprise, actually unloads a lot of her old junk. The whole BSC starts doing yard work for their clients, and Logan picks up some extra shifts at the good old Rosebud Cafe. Then, the big day comes: the end of the sign up period and the day the deposits are due. It's also the day that Dawn will find out if there will be a space for her on the trip. Luckily,. there is; Dawn is the only one from the non-SMS waiting list to make the cut.
Back to the BITs. The situation with the boys hasn't really improved much. Byron DID skip a little league game to keep a sitting commitment, but then Jeff spends most of a sitting job arguing with Haley Braddock. The girls in the club decide that the experiment isn't working out, and then the BITs have to go. Since Dawn and Mallory are the ones who are actually related to the boys, they get the job of telling them the bad news. Dawn is sure that Jeff is going to be traumatized, so she keeps putting off telling him. Finally, Jeff comes to her and tells her that they boys really don't WANT to sit anymore; they want more time for fun stuff. So, everything works out there, but the BSC still needs to earn quite a bit of money for their trip. The 4th of July is coming up, so the club decides to hold some games, face painting, and a concession stand at the town's celebration. That brings them MUCH closer to their goal, and when that money is added up to everything they've made sitting, they make their goal with two days to spare until the money is due. It's off to Hawaii for the BSC!
Ann M. Martin's Dear Reader Letter
Lots of kids write to me asking if they are old enough to start baby-sitting. That’s a difficult question, because the answer depends on so many things. It depends on how much experience you’ve had with other kids, and how prepared you are to baby-sit. And it depends on the age of the kids you’ll be sitting for. For example, if you’re ten, like the Pike triplets and Jeff Schafer, you are probably not going to get a job sitting for a nine-year-old! Also, you need to be prepared to baby-sit for kids of any age. Before you start sitting, I suggest taking a first aid class, an infant care class, or a sitting class such as the one offered by the Red Cross. If you are younger and you think you’re ready to sit, a good way to start is by going along on a job with a more experienced sitter or taking a job as a parent’s helper, where you watch the kids while a parent is at home. One of the best places to get experience is in your home, taking care of your younger brothers and sisters, just like Jessi and Mallory did. Whatever you do, remember that sitting is a big job and a lot of responsibility. The Pikes and Jeff tried it, and decided they weren’t ready for it yet. They’ll probably try again in a couple of years.