Rereading My Childhood — The Baby-Sitters Club #25: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger
Logan Bruno and I have been off to a rocky start. He started out okay, but then he compared Mary Anne to other girls and generally disappoints me with his ambivalence toward Mary Anne. On top of all that, he’s barely a driving factor in her life. And that’s when he’s around, which is never. If every book didn’t start with a long description of each member, adding that Mary Anne’s boyfriend is named Logan, then I wouldn’t have any idea that Mary Anne is in a relationship. However, maybe it’s better if Logan isn’t an integral part of the series, considering his track record.
And it’s strange. I don’t remember having any disdain for Logan when I was a kid. He wasn’t my favorite of the BSC boyfriends, but I didn’t hate him. Maybe when I was a kid, the bar for men was so low that Satan himself could use it for pull-ups. Since then, the bar has been raised. Now it’s on the ground, but it’s still impossible for some men to hop the inch it takes to clear it.
Logan plays a significant role in The Baby-Sitters Club #25: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger. That means he has another chance to justify himself to adult me and be the boy I remember from my childhood. Let’s hope Logan can climb his way out of hell and use that southern charm to get himself one inch into the air to get over that bar.
Mary Anne starts the novel at the pet store with Dawn. She is buying presents for her cat, Tigger. See, Tigger keeps losing toys behind the refrigerator, so the logical thing to do is buy the cat more toys. You know. To replace the ones behind the refrigerator? I think?
But it’s almost time for a BSC meeting, so the girls pay for their purchases and rush back to Mary Anne’s house before heading to Claudia’s house, where Mary Anne can tell us a little about the young artist.
Claud mixes and matches the weirdest stuff and comes up with the coolest outfits. Like a loose blouse with a fake coat of arms on it worn over a very short black skirt. Around her waist, a scarf. On her feet, short black boots. Dangling from her ears, dinosaurs. And her hair might be piled on top of her head and held in place with hairpins that look like seahorses. She combines all this stuff — and she looks fantastic.
Then Mary Anne calls Claudia’s room “a rat hole.” That’s needlessly harsh, Mary Anne. Maybe that “rat hole” has all the accessories she looks “fantastic” in.
Mary Anne doesn’t say it out loud, so this isn’t one of the books wherein the girls fight. That’s a firm check in the “plus” column. Instead, Logan calls! He needs a babysitter. See, he has engineered clones in his free time and they need a sitter while he’s speaking at the United Nations on the ethics of cloning. I’m kidding. He needs a sitter for his siblings, Hunter and Kerry because he joined the baseball team and can’t watch them. Mary Anne takes the job.
The next day, Logan and Mary Anne are outside of her house playing with Tigger and going over what Mary Anne needs to know about Logan’s siblings. Hunter is allergic to everything, which would make him a terrible hunter. Kerry is trying to prove she’s independent, which Logan thinks would end if she had more friends. Suddenly, Jamie appears to play with the cat. And then Myriah and Gabbie. And finally, we have Charlotte. And they all play with the cat, and Mary Anne tells us that Logan is good with kids and gorgeous.
You know what I still can’t figure out, though? I can’t figure out why Logan likes me. Why would any boy like shy me better than sophisticated, outgoing Claudia? Or self-assured Dawn?
Boys don’t like sophistication, otherwise, there wouldn’t be thirty-five-year-old men dating nineteen-year-olds. Boys also don’t like confidence, otherwise, again, there wouldn’t be thirty-five-year-old men dating nineteen-year-olds. And Logan shouldn’t make Mary Anne feel that way. What is he telling her? A boyfriend should give you the confidence to fight God and time like a JRPG character. They shouldn’t make you question your worthiness.
Before leaving for another BSC meeting, Mary Anne lets Tigger stay outside since he’s having so much fun. However, later that night, Tigger doesn’t appear for dinner — not even when Mary Anne calls for him, and he usually shows up when she calls him. Her father tells her that sometimes cats just disappear or take long naps outside and Tigger will be back the next day. Unfortunately, Mr. Spier is wrong. But there’s still hope and Mary Anne has to get to her baby-sitting job at the Brunos’.
Hunter is full of allergies and his room is an exercise in dander control. His room is so barren that his toys are kept in another room. The Brunos have made a rule that no one is to open Logan’s room because it’s so messy and could contaminate Hunter’s room. The Brunos doomed their kid when they named him “Hunter.” The only thing this kid is hunting for is an EpiPen.
Mary Anne plays “Vet’s Office” with the kids and later Kerry prepares a snack for all of them since she knows all of Hunter’s various allergies. When Mary Anne goes home, she hopes to see Tigger, safe and sound. But he’s not. It’s official — Tigger is missing.
Kristy calls for a patented BSC Emergency Meeting because Kristy won’t help unless she can do it with a gavel and Claudia’s room. The club is going to distribute posters around Stoneybrook. Kristy suggests they offer a reward. The girls pool their money together and, with the added funds from the club treasury, they can offer a thirty-dollar reward. That translates to $66 in today’s money. That’s a lot for a cat, especially when every person I know who has a cat says they just started feeding it one day when it snuck into the yard and they said to their roommate, “Hey, guess what? We have a cat now. His name is Quesalupa!”
Claudia designs the posters, including a life-like drawing of Tigger. The drawing is so good because Claudia asks Mary Anne to get every photo of Tigger she can find. Why they didn’t just use the photos, I have no idea. Claudia wants to draw something, so Claudia gets to draw something.
Meanwhile, Jessi is babysitting for her siblings, Becca and Squirt. They play some games and talk about how much Charlotte, Becca’s best friend, likes Tigger. Then they read that weird Baby Island book. Apparently, it’s the hottest book in Stoneybrook. Move over, Stephen King — this one-hundred-year-old book that doesn’t have a movie adaptation is coming for you!
The next day, Kristy has made copies of the posters and the entire BSC, including Logan, is ready to help Mary Anne.
“Now,” she began, “the idea is to paper the neighborhood. By tonight, there shouldn’t be a single person in this area who doesn’t know that Tigger is missing. I’ve got boxes of thumbtacks, and I want you to make sure you put a poster on every phone pole. Maybe two posters — front and back. Then stuff mailboxes. There are plenty of streets around here.”
I know how to litter, Kristy.
The girls split up. Logan says that Mary Anne is being dramatic and while a lost kitten is sad, she’s overreacting. Mary Anne doesn’t say anything back. Dump him, Mary Anne, and we’ll go get Baskin-Robbins. They have 31 flavors and Logan’s flavor is the insensitive Disney Channel antagonist.
As they’re putting up the posters, a ten-year-old boy walks up to Mary Anne.
“Is there really a reward?”
“Well then, okay. Yester- um, no, let’s see. The day before yesterday I saw a — a gray kitten with tiger stripes.”
“That’s just like Tigger!” I cried.
Hey, Mary Anne, tell this boy to go back to the treehouse with the misspelled “No Girls Allowed” sign and get back to work.
“And he had short hair — I’m sure it was a he, not a she — and he was, oh, about fifteen inches long — I mean, including his tail. And, um, he answered to the name of Tigger.”
I wouldn’t know a female cat from a male cat, but Alfalfa here checked that cat’s genitals.
I looked suspiciously at the poster I’d just put up. “How did you know to call him Tigger?” I asked the boy.
“Because his name was on his collar?” he suggested.
I shook my head. “Sorry. He doesn’t wear a collar.”
The boy didn’t look a bit uncomfortable about having told a whopping lie. “What’s the reward for?” he wanted to know. “For information leading to finding this cat or something?”
“No,” I said crossly. “For finding him. For putting him in my hands.”
Now stop talking to wandering children and get to breaking up with Logan, er, looking for Tigger.
The next day, Mary Anne rushes to her mailbox and it contains a letter for her! But there’s no return address. People keep sending her troubling things in the mail. You’d think she would stop checking. Anyway, the letter contains a handwritten note.
If you want to see your cat alive again, leave $100 in an envelope on the big rock in Brenner Field at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon.
She takes the letter to the BSC, which springs into action with a plan. Only Claudia and Mallory entertain the idea that it’s fake. Logan says that Mary Anne is acting like “a girl” and Mary Anne finally says that it’s okay to be sensitive and she is a girl. Claudia lives on the second floor, Mary Anne should defenestrate Logan. (Let me just check that word off my “Words To Use” list.)
But we can’t throw him out yet — he comes up with a brilliant plan! What is this plan? They’re going to put Monopoly money in an envelope, leave it on the “big rock,” and then watch the rock to see who retrieves the money. Huh. It took seven of you to come up with this plan?
Before the BSC can enact their plan, Dawn has a baby-sitting job at the Barretts’. Buddy is worried about their basset hound and vows to protect the dog from would-be thieves. Eventually, the kids need to go to sleep. Buddy stays up watching a show called Dragon Warriors, which is not real. There is a real show called Dragon Warrior: Legend of the Hero Abel, but unless Buddy is exceptionally worldly, there’s no way he watches a Japanese show wherein only thirteen out of forty-three episodes were dubbed and released in America. Eventually, he goes to sleep and there is no more television talk.
It’s finally time for that great caper that Logan concocted. Everything goes according to plan. Soon, a figure arrives, takes the envelope, and books it. The BSC chases the figure down. It’s a kid. In fact, it’s that Alfalfa punk who thinks about animal genitals from before. And, to no one’s surprise, he doesn’t have Tigger — he just wanted money. Logan makes up some stuff about felonies and that the kid could go to jail for twenty-five to fifty years. Sure, but if the kid is white, he’ll get probation and a swimming scholarship. Anyway, the kid runs away but Mary Anne is still missing one cat.
Claudia babysits for the Perkins girls, and they are going to look for Tigger themselves. But first, they have to sing Christmas carols and “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis. There are some great late ’80s songs, but these kids are going to sing Elvis — a man who died in 1977. Then the girls play “Hawaiian detective” and Tom Selleck all over the neighborhood while Claudia contemplates death.
Once again, Mary Anne is baby-sitting the Brunos. She makes a shocking discovery in Kerry’s room. In Kerry’s closet, in a box, is none other than Tigger! What is going on?
“I — I just found him,” replied Kerry. “And I didn’t know he was Tigger then. Honest. I was riding my bike home last Friday and it was getting dark. Remember? The weather wasn’t very nice that day. And I was a few houses away from Mary Anne’s and I thought I saw something shiny on the side of the road. So I stopped. And it was this kitten. Its eyes were shining. I thought, Poor kitty, no one’s taking care of you. So I just put him in my bike basket and rode him home. I wanted to have a friend. And I wanted to show you and Daddy that I could care for a pet. I really am responsible enough to do that. Look how well I cared for Tigger.”
And then she kept it to prove that she can have a pet if it stays in her room, away from Hunter and his allergies. Mary Anne takes her cat and goes home.
Logan and Mary Anne have a chat later. He’s been testy because he’s about to be kicked off the baseball team. His coach doesn’t like him and Logan is trying to improve, but it’s failing and Logan isn’t getting any better. Mary Anne gives him snacks and stays with him, which is annoying.
If Logan can’t step over a bar on the ground, then it’s no wonder he’s a terrible baseball player. He demeans Mary Anne’s anguish over losing her cat. He says that acting like a girl is a bad thing. When it turns out his little sister has stolen his girlfriend’s cat, he’s pretty damn nonchalant, and he doesn’t give Mary Anne the confidence she clearly needs.
I have only watched the first season of the excellent Netflix show at the time of writing this, so I hope the showrunners redeem this boy, because I’m losing my patience for Logan. He’s a terrible boyfriend and Mary Anne should dump him. She should go out with Kristy. At least Kristy can play baseball.
For a list of every Baby-Sitters Club, Goosebumps, and Fear Street book review I have written, go to RereadingMyChildhood.com or follow RereadMyChildhd on Twitter. For more information about me, Amy A. Cowan, visit my website AmyACowan.com or follow my Twitter: amyacowan.