Ciara's Reviews > Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn

Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn by Ann M. Martin
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's review
Jan 31, 2010

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bookshelves: kids-books, read-in-2010
Read in January, 2010

tragically, this book is nowhere near as awesome as pretty much any given episode of "toddlers & tiaras". i don't know if children's beauty pageants weren't as freaky in 1988, or if this is just another thing that ann m. martin doesn't really know much about. or maybe this is how regular pageants are, while "toddlers & tiaras" focuses more on totally bizarre glitz pageants. then again, the little girl who wins the little miss stoneybrook title is pretty glitzed out. hmmm...

our A-plot features dawn, who is hired by mrs. pike to prepare the two youngest pikes, claire & margo, for the little miss stoneybrook pageant. claire & margo don't really have any "talents" to speak of. claire insists on singing the popeye the sailor man song in which popeye snacks on worms (she can carry a tune, but won't consider a different song), while margo recites "this is the house that jack built" while peeling a banana with her feet.

for some reason, all of the other 13-year-old sitters convince other little girls in stoneybrook to enter the pageant as well, with the sitters as coaches, thinking that whoever coaches the little girl that wins will prove how awesome she is with children. this makes no sense to me, but it gives us our plot, so i guess we just have to go with it. mallory & jessi don't coach anyone because they think pageants are sexist. kristy coaches the demon child, karen. karen's talent is an endless version of "the wheels on the bus". claudia coaches charlotte johanssen, who prepares a reading from charlie & the chocolate factory. mary anne scores big & coaches myriah perkins, who tap dances & sings "on the good ship lollipop". she's the only one who actually seems to have a pageant-worthy talent.

the B-plot involves dawn's brother, jeff, who has been acting up & getting into a lot of trouble in school. his teacher wants him to see a psychologist. jeff says that he knows his anger & frustration will go away if he is allowed to move back to california to live with his dad. sharon isn't psyched about this idea, but she's willing to give it a try. dawn is pissed. she feels that it's bad enough that her parents have gotten divorced & she's had to move to connecticut & leave her dad behind; if jeff moves back to california, her family will be ripped in half. but there's obviously not much she can do about. jeff is walking on air because he gets to move in with his dad, & dawn & sharon are really sad, but...they do what they think is best for jeff. kind of a bummer for the reader, because i like the dawn/jeff sibling relationship. i think i actually prefer jeff to dawn. but whatever. there is a part where jeff punches a boy at school & gives him a black eye, & dawn says she's suprised the kid isn't blind yet because jeff has given him so many black eyes. hilarious!

anyway, jeff leaves the night before the pageant. you can tell how old the book is because sharon & dawn accompany him to his gate & hang around until the flight attendant accompanies jeff on to the airplane. plus, dawn & jeff take photobooth pictures together. i bet there's not an airport in the united sttes that still has a photobooth on premises. that's sad.

while everyone is milling around backstage before the pageant, margo is informed that she will take the stage following sabrina bouvier, a girl she doesn't know. she looks around & ses a little girl with a whole face full of make-up & decides that must be sabrina bouvier. "who else would have a name like sabrina bouvier?" she asks, which is hilarious, because the name is recycled later as a classmate of the babysitters at stoneybrook middle school (the little girl in the pageant is only seven years old). who indeed? the sitters recognize that sabrina is really polished & must be a professional "pageant head". they're holding out for her to be talentless, & she is--she sings "moon river" & has a terrible voice. but she still wins the entire pageant. myriah perkins wins first runner-up & gets a toy store shopping spree. charlotte panics & runs off stage during her talent. karen, claire, & margo just kind of suck in various ways--because their talents are kind of weird, or the fuck up the interview portion, or whatever. the sitters realize that they were making too big a deal of the pageant & what it meant for their sitting skills, & they all bond together to cheer for their charges. at the end of the book, claire calls dawn to ask if dawn will coach her for a "beautiful child" contest at the local department store. nothing more ever comes of that.

man. can't wait until i'm done with these early books & i finally get a break from the pike family. they're more tolerable than the perkins family, or the newtons (i have an irrational hatred of the newtons), but they are getting seriously tired.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alice (new)

Alice I thought this book was just hilarious when I first read it in sixth grade or whatever - I remember actually laughing (as in, out loud!) at the descriptions of Claire and Margo's talents. This is back when the books had legitimate quirks rather than just being endless recitations of tired-ass plot points.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, God, I'm so glad someone else hates the Pikes. I actually liked Margo's talent - I thought it was cute and funny. And I loved Myriah, for exactly the reason most people hate her (perfect little angel, etc.). But come on, thirteen-year-olds would never care this much about a pageant.

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