My nine-year-old daughter and I have been reading some of The Babysitters Club novels together. She found and read the graphic novels at the library and has watched through the Netflix series, so we decided to buy the books and read some of them together. She’s enjoyed the stories, and I have found them to be pure nostalgia.
The most recent in the collection that we’ve read is the ninth Babysitters Club book, The Ghost at Dawn’s House. This is the second of the books that Dawn narrates, and it’s easy to see that she’s really become a part of the group, even though her mother and Mary Anne’s father have stopped dating.
Dawn’s family, when they moved into Stoneybrook moved into a really old farmhouse, a property with a barn and all kinds nooks and crannies and rattles and creaking noises. Dawn is convinced that there’s a secret passage in her house (and maybe a ghost), and she spends plenty of time looking for a passage and learning the history of a house that she thinks is their current property in the book.
There’s also a secondary plot going on with the Pike family, one of their steady babysitting clients. Nicky Pike is feeling left out by his older triplet brothers. They exclude him from their play and they make fun of him. Dawn, especially, feels compelled to help Nicky and for Nicky to feel less left out.
I noticed . . . .
I noticed that most of the babysitting in this book surrounded the Pike family. I missed some of the other families that people the books, but having mostly the Pikes as clientele meant that we got to dive into the Pike boys relationships. I think this was one of the reasons why Ellie did not rate this one as highly as I did. She’d rather read about babysitting for little kids than for boys her own age.
I wondered . . .
I wondered if Dawn will ever find out from her parents or another competent adult whether or not their house was the house that she was reading the history of in the middle of the book. I also wondered if there was a good way to leave access to the passage and still lock it up. I felt like, from a 2020 perspective, that the passage was a security nightmare.
It Reminded me of . . .
This book is really similar in some ways to a book that Martin shouted out in an earlier book, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. It’s a ghost mystery and there’s a hidden passage, etc. I think Martin must have been a fan.
I also admit that this passage made me think of the underground railroad because my first thought was that the passage must have been used to hide escaped slaves. I even found myself pondering why there would be a need for an underground railroad passage all the way in Connecticut, since it’s so close to Canada. I still don’t know (for sure) why the passage was made in Dawn’s house, but it would have been kind of cool if that had been why.