Sunday, March 08, 2020

The Spring of Their Discontent! Best Babysitters Ever: Miss Impossible by Caroline Cala

"Ahh-lo! How can I help you?" said the girl at the door.

"We're here for the babysitting," said Bree.

"Je suis la baby-sitter," said the girl, emphatically. There was something about this girl. She had a certain... je ne sais quoi.

"Don't worry, Genevieve," said Mrs. Gregory, rushing to the door. "I'll take care of this," she said with a pained smile. "I'm so sorry, girls. I must have blanked on calling you to cancel." she said. "That's our new au pair, Genevieve. She's going to be watching the kids from now on, helping them learn valuable language skills." The sound of children singing a French song drifted softly from the living room, like little cherubs forming a chorus in the clouds.

Bree, Malia, and Dot thought they had totally wrested the babysitting turf from Malia's evil teen sister's rival corporation, Seaside Sitters, and had the market in Playa del Mar completely cornered. Now they find their old customers favoring the three tres chic French sisters. The only sitting job left is with the three demonic Morris boys, more hostile than Tasmanian devils and known occasional biters.

It seems the Morris boys are the only game in town for the three baby sitters, but the three five-year-olds (yes, that is biologically possible) trick them into believing there are three abandoned and adorable black kittens under their deck, and the Best Baby Sitters get literally skunked!

After tomato juice baths and other noxious chemical cleansers, the stench abates, and the Best Baby Sitters get an another odd gig, sitting with their obnoxious, arch-enemy classmate Zelda, who lures them into a session dressing in her mother's lavish wardrobe and arranging for her mother to appear suddenly, resulting in an enraged dismissal by Zelda's clotheshorse mother.

Out of clients and still bit smelly, the three meet at the park to brainstorm re-branding their business, when they notice dozens of tiny salamanders skittering across the busy road. Immediately, they feel that it is their destiny to rescue the migrating salamanders from decimation by motorists. They form a new club and a new cause: SAVE THE SALAMANDERS!

It seems a Mission Impossible, but in the effervescent way of the Best Babysitters Ever, they use their creativity to scale up their organization to city-wide SAVE THE SALAMANDERS fund raisers. But Sacre Bleu! Zelda strikes again, faking a salamander footprint in her pain au chocolat at the French sisters' family shop, Jolie Patisserie, and appearing on the nightly news, shedding a well-placed tear to plead the cause of the remaining unsquashed salamanders in Playa de Mar.
"Since when did Zelda love salamanders?" Bree exclaims.

And in what world does Zelda shed tears? Still, it's free TV advertising in prime time and the three friends go with the flow and stage the biggest fundraiser ever for salamanders survival, in Caroline Cala's third book, Best Babysitters Ever book, Miss Impossible (Best Babysitters Ever) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020).

Cala's latest brings back all the humorous complications of the first books, Bree's bad-tempered hairless cat, Malia's clandestine crush on Connor Kelly and her rivalrous teenaged sister, Chelsea, and the Terrible Trio of Morris kids, (see reviews here,) and is just as outrageously hilarious as ever in this story of successful seventh-grade conservationists and philanthropists, nee capitalists. This is a light-hearted middle school comedic novel which even Ann M. Martin, author of the Babysitters Club series, must be looking forward to reading!

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