Summer's coming, and the BSC members should be excited...right? SMS is planning a big trip to Europe. A playground camp is opening in Stoneybrook — and it needs counselors with baby-sitting experience. Mary Anne can't think of anyone more qualified than her friends in the BSC.
There's only one problem: There are nine BSC members — and only six jobs at the playground camp. The competition is turning fierce, and Mary Anne's friends are arguing more and more every day.
Can the BSC survive the fighting?
The school year is just about over, and the BSC is buzzing over two big pieces of news. First, the school is going to be offering another trip for students, like they did with the Hawaii trip. This trip, though, is to London and Paris. Next, Mrs. Simon (one of the SMS teachers) calls during a BSC meeting to let the club know that SES is going to be running a playground camp during the summer, and she wants all of them to consider applying to be counselors. There are six slots open for SMS students, and all the BSC members (except Shannon) plan to apply. That's nine people applying for those six slots....in addition to all the non-BSC kids who are going to be throwing their hats in the ring. Mary Anne is really worried about all the competition.
Soon, Dawn arrives for the summer, and she has some big news of her own: she doesn't want to leave Stoneybrook at all, even for the nine days that the Europe trip would last. Mary Anne decides that she won't go, either. The others are busy trying to earn money for their trips, though...and preparing their applications for the playground jobs. Everyone except Jessi and Mallory end up making it past the first round of cuts and gets an interview, but not everyone in the BSC who's applied is being totally honest. Kristy, Stacey, and Abby are all planning to go to Europe, but they've really downplayed that on their applications. That just makes the sniping and fighting within the BSC even worse, and by the time the interviews are over, hardly anyone else getting along. Mary Anne starts to wish that the whole playground job thing had never happened.
As it turns out, Claudia, Mary Anne, Logan, and Dawn get offered jobs, and the others don't. The sitters apologize, and everything is good again.
Subplot: Victoria Kent is getting ready to head back to England, and she doesn't want to go. She's still obsessed with all things American (because they don't have jelly doughnuts in England, apparently), but she's excited that some members of the BSC will be able to visit her on her turf later in the summer. When she finds out that Mary Anne won't be one of them, though....trouble. Mary Anne writes her a note explaining everything, and they're friends again.
Ann M. Martin's Dear Reader Letter
In Mary Anne and the Playground Fight, the members of the Baby-sitters Club find themselves in an unusual situation. While they’re good about sharing the jobs they get at club meetings, they’re now fiercely competing for a limited number of jobs that they all want badly. Competition can be difficult, especially when friends are competing against one another.
You may find yourself competing against a friend in sports, in school, in contests, or, like the members of the BSC, for a job. An important thing to remember when you’re competing against a friend is that both your friendship and the competition are important, so it’s your responsibility to do your best, honestly. You’re not being fair to your friend if you don’t do your best in order to let her win.
And you’re not being fair to anyone if, like Kristy, you don’t play by the rules. Try keeping things out in the open. If you and a friend are competing against each other, talk about it. Tell each other what you’re afraid of, and what you hope for. Then go for it. Mary Anne and her friends might have had an easier time if they had been honest with themselves and with one another from the beginning.