Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony Special: Escape From Catrina

My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina
My Little Pony: Escape From Catrina

Title: Escape From Catrina

Yes, there’s confusion if the villain’s name is spelled with a ‘C’ or a ‘K’, but based on officially released packaging as well as the fact she’s a damn cat-person, we’re sticking with ‘Catrina’.

This television special was released on March, 23rd, 1985. I would have been three years old. Thirty-four years have passed. Ouch.

Also, this is the box art I remember from childhood. It has ZERO to do with the actual events, and shows Danny(?) riding(?!) Spike, who’s much bigger then normal, and the Moochick is there(??) and the only hint of the actual villain was a photo on the back cover. Someone dropped the ball BIG TIME on this.

Summary: The Ponies are planning a ‘Welcome Back’ party for Megan, but things go awry when villainous Catrina and her reptilian henchman, Rep, steal the baby Ponies as well as the Rainbow of Light. A rescue ensues and new allies are discovered in the form of the Bushwoolies.

Grade: A solid B+. Catrina isn’t as scary as Tirek, though yet again the writers came up with a story involving mass enslavement, kidnapping, several near-fatal incidents, stranger danger, and drug addiction. The animation was about on par with the first special. Three original songs in one 30 minute special is also pretty impressive, even if they’re not great.

Initial Thoughts/Intro:

Me, circa 1985, with Glory and Baby Cuddles. Note the sweet MLP threads!

Hi all, it’s bat and I’m a long time MLP fan. No, really, the MLP toys coincided with the beginning of my existence on this planet and they were the one toy I was truly obsessed with. Screw Barbie, give me ALL THE PONIES!

I watched MLP from the very beginning, though time has faded some of my memories of the cartoon episodes. That said, “Escape From Catrina” was my favorite of the two initial specials and I watched it way too many times.

The MLP specials were known for pulling “big” actors and actresses to do voice work. This particular special features the enchanting Tammy Grimes as Catrina (she voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn) and Paul Williams as Rep (he wrote “Rainbow Connection” aka that song made famous by The Muppets).

Catrina’s use of the witchweed potion caused some trouble down the road in later years, because the USA was big into the “War On Drugs” during the 1980s. “The Good Old Days” song was excised when this special was cut down to two parts for the syndicated cartoon series; I’ll get into more detail about that in the recap.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be shortened to FiM, because that is a long time title to type out.

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake? [Wing: That is not at all what the story is about.]

Tagline: Dawn thought she’d be baby-sitting — not monster-sitting!

Initial Thoughts

Dawn is one of my favourite baby-sitters, and I’m thrilled to get to recap her very first book. I love how she complicates things with the club, especially the friendship between Mary Anne and Kristy, I love a bunch of her personality traits (particularly the way she loves ghost stories), and I love her enthusiasm about life. This is going to be fun.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #4: Ben’s in Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 4: Ben's In Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out 4: Ben’s In Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Making Out #4: Ben’s in Love by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Tag line: …with two girls (who just happen to be sisters).

Summary: First Zoey Fooled around with Lucas, and Jake found out. Then Claire wanted Jake, so she broke up with Ben, but ended up alone. Now Nina is in love with Ben and Claire wants Ben back. Will Claire try to steal her boyfriend back from her own sister?

Initial thoughts

I have such fond memories of these books! I first encountered them when Mizz magazine or Just Seventeen or something gave away a free copy of Zoey Fools Around. The first 6 books were released in 1994, so I was somewhere around 11 years old. I had been a devotee of SVT, but SVH never grabbed me and when these books came along I was hooked! I recently found out that the authors had been ghostwriters of some of my favourite SVT books, so I guess it was a natural transition. I’m excited to see how they hold up!

This is the books where Ben and Nina get together, and really, that’s all I care about because Nina is my Fave and after book 3 I just need her to have some happy.

[Wing: In fab timing, I met Katherine Applegate over the weekend, and one of the things we briefly talked about was Nostalgic Bookshelf, these recaps, and how wonderful Nina is as a character. (I also had her sign a copy of #3 Nina Won’t Tell for Dove, because of course I did.) Applegate was charming and friendly and smart, and seemed utterly delighted that I wanted her to sign a Making Out book, which was, she said, a blast from the past. If you ever get a chance to talk to her or listen to her speak, I highly recommend it. She was terrific.]

[Wing: Oh, right, this is a book recap. For all that I love Nina and Claire, I still deeply dislike Ben, so. This is a thing. As long as Nina is happy, though, I persevere.]

[Dove: I know for certain this is the first book I read, despite the early ones being free with Mizz. I can’t remember why I did that – I probably lost the first one before I got a chance to read it, and back then I was used to Sweet Valley, where you could just jump in and start reading anywhere. I don’t like Benjamin, but gosh do I love Nina, and I would follow her through a billion Benjamin-heavy books if necessary.]

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin

Title: Mary Anne Saves the Day

Summary: Mary Anne has never been a leader of the Baby-sitters Club. She’s left that up to Kristy… or Claudia… or Stacey. But now there’s a big fight among the four friends, and Mary Anne doesn’t have them to depend on anymore.

It’s bad enough when she’s left alone at the lunch table at school. But when she has to baby-sit a sick child without any help from the club members, Mary Anne knows it’s time to take charge.

The Baby-sitters Club is going to fall apart unless somebody does something – fast. Maybe it’s time for Mary Anne to step in and save the day!

Tagline: Mary Anne’s on her own. Can she take charge?

Initial Thoughts

I remember this book mainly as “the one where Mary Anne’s father finally agrees to let her do stuff,” and I used to find it HUGELY UNFAIR that his change of heart happens because she handles an emergency well. (And I mean, really well. Many parents, possibly including me, wouldn’t be as clear-headed in a crisis as Mary Anne is in this book.) What if an emergency had just never happened, huh? Would she have been in pigtails until she left for university?

On rereading, I may possibly have misjudged Mr. Spier. In fact, now I’m wondering if the emergency was even the whole reason he changed his mind.

I also remember that this is the book where all the BSC are in a fight with each other. That still bothers me enough that I felt anxious at the beginning, waiting for the fight to start.

[Wing: DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN DAWN.]

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Posted in Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons 2: The Eye of the Beholder

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 2
Dungeons & Dragons (TV Series 1983–1985)

Title: The Eye of the Behoder

Summary: Led by a cowardly knight named Sir John, the children must seek and destroy an evil monster known as The Beholder to find a gateway back to their own world.

Initial Thoughts:

Oooh, exciting! The Beholder is a classic DnD monster. For those not in the know, it’s basically a massive eyeball and chompy mouth with snakey tentacles coming off it. Here’s a classic image:

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 2: Beholder
Kang.

Pretty much a hulked-out Mike Wazowski.

I’m sure that the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series will show this stellar enemy in a rightfully respectful light.

I HATE THIS SERIES.

[Dove: I love this series. And even I want to kick the writers quite often.]

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #3: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 3: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Truth About Stacey

Summary: The truth about Stacey is that she has diabetes. Nobody knows… except her friends in the Baby-sitters Club.

But even they don’t know the real truth about Stacey. Stacey’s problem is her parents. They won’t admit she has the disease, and they drag her to practically every doctor in America!

Seeing so many doctors made Stacey lose one friend, and she won’t let it happen again. Especially now – when the Baby-sitters Club needs her more than ever.

Tagline: Stacey’s different … and it’s harder on her than anyone knows.

Initial Thoughts

Growing up, I was always annoyed by this title, because we learn Stacey’s big secret, which is that she has diabetes, at the end of book one. I think, now, that the real secret is how much she’s struggling to deal with her parents and their frantic desire to find a new way to help her and their terror that their only child will die. That is a much sadder story.

[Dove: I have no initial thoughts on this book. I’m still just getting into this fandom, and haven’t really bonded with any of the characters, except for Janine, thanks to her queries over apostrophes.]

[Wing: Janine is great, and I love that you’ve bonded with her already.]

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Posted in The Famous Five

The Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Summary: The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?

Initial Thoughts

This will be my second Blyton ever, and I only read the first last month. I know she’s an author deeply embedded in British childhood (if not other places, too), but here in the USA, I didn’t hear about her except sometimes in other books that referenced Blyton’s work as a part of the characters’ childhoods.

I really enjoyed the last book I read (Secret Island), and I hope to like this one just as much. I love stories about characters on islands, I love stories about characters searching for treasure, I loved Treasure Island when I was a kid — surely nothing can go wrong now.

Onwards to adventure!

[Dove: I really loved this series back in the day. And sure, I obviously reached a point in life where I found it a bit too earnest, but most Brits will fondly recall reading Blyton. And I honestly can’t wait to see what Wing thinks of it. Because on the one hand, it’s so joyful (and the endless food – lettuce for everyone!) and on the other… it was written by a comfortably wealthy white woman on the back end of two world wars, so there’s a bit of distrust for anyone who is not a white Brit. Also, I fear Wing’s reaction to the gender roles – George and Anne in particular, so… here goes.]

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Posted in Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Night of No Tomorrow

Dungeons & Dragons Series 1 Episode 1Title: The Night of No Tomorrow

Summary: Tricked by Venger, Presto conjures up a horde of fire-breathing dragons to threaten the town of Helix. The kids must rescue Presto and save Helix before it is too late.

Initial Thoughts:

Looks like it’s all kicking off big tie for our plucky heroes. Will they all survive?

I bloody hope so. It’s episode one of twenty-seven. It’d be rather shit if the remaining twenty-six episodes were nothing but twenty-minute montages of Venger dancing on six adolescent graves.

[Dove: That would be epic.] [Wing: I’d watch it. Also, that cover is AMAZING.]

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Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M Martin

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Summary: When Kristy Thomas has the great idea to form a baby-sitters club–a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends, all while doing something they each love to do–she has no idea how much the club will change everything.

Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients . . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle anything. But only if they stick together . . .

Tagline: Four friends and baby-sitting–what could be more fun?

Initial Thoughts

Well, here we are, kicking off 2018 and Nostalgic Bookshelf with my favorite cheesy contemporary preteen series, The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. Unlike the Sweet Valley books, I read these obsessively, and still sometimes reread them as an adult. I was a baby-sitter from a young age, and I loved the focus on friends and having adventures together. I’m excited to revisit them now, with a recapper’s eye.

My favourite baby-sitters before recapping: Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Abby, Jessi, and Shannon.

Least favourite: Kristy, Mary Anne, and Logan.

Say hello to your friends, everyone. We’re in this for the long haul.

[Dove: And I have never read any of these before, so this is Wing’s payback for Sweet Valley. And I’m cool with that.]

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