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Review: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

Claudia and the Phantom Phone CallsKristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey have had some strange adventures since they started the Baby-sitters Club. But nothing’s been as spooky as what’s going on right now. The baby-sitters have been getting mysterious phone calls when they’re out on their jobs. When a phone rings and they pick up, there’s no one on the other end of the line.

Claudia’s sure it’s the Phantom Caller, a jewel thief who’s been operating in the area. Claudia has always liked reading mysteries, but she doesn’t like it when they happen to her. So she and the baby-sitters decide to take action – with some very mixed results!

Even as a child, this was never one of my favorite books. First of all, despite how “cool” Ann M. Martin tried to make Claudia Kishi seem, she just never even registered as one of my favorites. Perhaps even my seven year old self found it difficult to idolize a twelve year old who didn’t know the difference between a whole number and an even number. Or maybe it was simply because Martin just always tried so hard to make Claudia interesting by describing her outrageous clothing choices and hairstyles.

Second of all, Claudia suffers from the same bitchy affliction that we see Kristy Thomas suffering from in Kristy’s Great Idea. As a student who struggles in school, Claudia is completely frustrated by the prospect of even attempting to do any kind of homework. But the problem lies in her lack of motivation or willingness to even try. At times, she’s downright rude to her older sister. Yes, I’m sure having a genius for a sister is frustrating, but that doesn’t excuse Claudia’s behavior towards her.

In this book, the sitters find themselves worrying about “The Phantom Caller”, a thief who makes ominous calls to residences before sneaking in to steal valuables. Considering how nervous some people get with these kinds of crime reports, it’s realistic that a group of twelve year old girls, who babysit might get overly worried about it. The girls band together to come up with ways to know if someone has entered the house and even devise a code to warn another. Of course, all of this worry and fear leads to them having several babysitting experiences that leave them on edge. In the end, the girls discover the only trouble they have to worry about is boys. More specifically, Claudia’s phantom phone caller turns out to be her crush, Trevor Sandbourne and Kristy’s is the annoying Alan Gray. In their attempt to be more prepared in case of an emergency, Kristy made it possible for Alan to sneak their club record book and get pertinent information about when and where they would be babysitting. The boys used this information to try and work up the courage to ask both girls out to the Halloween Hop.

The thing is, as an adult, I’m not sure I would want these girls babysitting my children. Now I won’t harp on Stacey wanting to turn on MTV to help distract her and Charlotte from the storm raging outside. After all, at the time this book was written, MTV was primarily for music videos. And even Mary Anne’s mistakes with leaving the doors slightly ajar, come more from her being afraid of a potential burglar than her being irresponsible. After all, had she not been setting the “alarms” in the house, the doors would have been securely shut. However, if a sitter ever threatened to knock my child’s lights out, like Kristy does, I can guarantee she would probably wind up in the hospital. Perhaps Martin should have been more thoughtful before having one of her trustworthy and reliable sitters threaten four young children.


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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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