Baby-Sitters on Board!
Baby-Sitters on Board!
Super Special 1
Published: July 1988
Ghostwriter: None

Baby-Sitters on Board! is the first book in the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special series.


Plot synopsis


Mr. Pike wins a contest to take his entire family on a cruise through the Bahamas, ending with a three-day stay at Disney World. The Pikes hire Mary Anne and Stacey to watch the kids. Kristy's stepfather Watson decides to bring their family on the trip, too, and invite Claudia and Dawn along as their guests.

Kristy's story

Kristy befriends an older man named Rudy Staples whose wife died two months ago. He's very depressed and grumpy, but cheers up when Kristy plays shuffleboard and video games with him and invites him to have dinner with her family. He almost goes home when they reach Disney World, but Kristy convinces him to stay. At the end of the trip, they agree to be pen pals and Kristy plans to give Mr. Staples' address to Nannie.

Mary Anne's story

While exploring the ship with Vanessa Pike and Nicky Pike, Mary Anne is caught ogling a hot older teenage girl in a skimpy bikini. They chat for a bit and the girl introduces herself as Alexandra Carmody and says she's traveling alone. (Karen later sees her give a hairdresser a huge tip and explain that her aunt is a countess and she's extremely rich. Mallory sees her telling a boy that she's a film actress.) They meet again at the hotel, and Alexandra tells Mary Anne that she's been on fourteen cruises, she knows the rock star Spider from The Insects, and her parents were killed six months ago. Later, Mallory sees Alexandra on line at Disney World with her brother and parents, and figures out that Alexandra's parents are Viv and Vernon Carmody, a popular singing duo. She tells Mary Anne what she learned, and Mary Anne confronts Alexandra about the lie. Afterward, Alexandra keeps trying to talk to Mary Anne, but Mary Anne won't listen. On the last night of the trip, Alexandra is finally able to apologize to Mary Anne and says that she and her brother, who turns out to be Claudia's friend Timothy, find ways to make life interesting despite being overshadowed by their parents. (Alexandra also says she really does know Spider and he isn't on the trip.)

The Pike kids' story

While exploring the ship with Mary Anne, Nicky and Vanessa see a boy hiding in a raft. He suddenly runs off and down a flight of steps, and the kids are convinced he's a stowaway. Mallory also sees the boy hiding in a pile of coiled rope. Later, while the ship is docked at an island called Treasure Cay, the kids start looking for treasure and Byron finds a weird, yellowed diagram that he's convinced is a treasure map. They don't know what the map is for, so they search on the ship but don't find any clues there about the treasure or the stowaway. Then, while at Disney World, Byron finds an old-looking gold bracelet snagged on a bridge, but it turns out to be Dawn's bracelet that she'd lost the previous day. On the last night of the trip, it's discovered that Claudia's friend (and Alexandra's sister) Timothy was also the "stowaway." On the plane back home, a Dutch man sees the boys huddled over the treasure map and identifies it as a copier machine diagram.

Claudia's story

While eating breakfast at a restaurant on the ship, Claudia receives a note from a secret admirer under her orange juice glass. Later, she's walking around Nassau by herself when she realizes someone is following her and jumping out of sight whenever she turns around. She finds another anonymous note in her bag. When she goes to Nassau's aquarium, she's told that a young man had already paid her admission fee. She admires some earrings in a shop but can't afford them; however, they then appear next to a soda she orders at a restaurant, along with another note. On another day, Stacey sees a boy paying Claudia's bill at an ice cream parlor, but Claudia isn't able to catch him in time. She does meet another boy, Timothy. They spend some time together at Disney World, and on the last night of the trip, he confesses that he was the Secret Admirer (as well as Alexandra Carmody's brother, and the "stowaway" seen by the Pikes). Then Timothy kisses her.

Mallory's story

Mallory has just read Harriet the Spy and wants to use the trip as an opportunity to hone her spying and writing skills. She sees Alexandra Carmody, Mr. Staples, Marc Kubacki, Spider (or someone she thinks is Spider), and the stowaway, before any of the BSC members have met them. Later at Disney World, she goes spying again and finds out that Alexandra Carmody has been lying about her identity (see Mary Anne's story for details).

Stacey's story

Stacey is looking up at the sky on the second night of the cruise, when she meets Marc Kubacki, a seven-year-old boy in a wheelchair due to a debilitating heart condition. (Marc was previously seen by Mallory while she was spying.) She tells him about her diabetes, and they become friends. She runs into him and his father while sitting for Claire and Margo Pike, and Marc joins them at the video arcade and ice cream parlor. Later, Stacey, Claire, Margo and the Kubackis explore Epcot Center together; while eating lunch, Mr. and Mrs. Kubacki tell Stacey that Marc will be having heart surgery very soon and might not survive. At the end of the trip, Stacey and Marc exchange addresses; two months later, Stacey gets a card in the mail telling her that Marc came through the operation and will eventually lead a normal, healthy life.

Dawn's story

While exploring the ship, Dawn meets a cute boy. She sees him again in a restaurant on the morning that the cruise stops at Nassau, and spends the day following him around. The next afternoon, they see each other on Treasure Cay and he introduces himself as Parker Harris. They hang out together on the island and meet each other on the ship the next day (when they spontaneously enter and win a Ping-Pong tournament). Parker tells Dawn that his parents are divorced and his father recently married a woman with two young sons, none of whom he can stand. Dawn and Parker spend their first day together at Disney World; they go sourvenir-shopping and Dawn buys a glass unicorn charm for the antique bracelet she's wearing. Parker's dad sees them and asks them to watch Parker's stepbrothers for a while, and they end up having a great time riding rollercoasters, until Dawn realizes that her bracelet and charm fell off sometime during the day. Parker surprises her with a new unicorn charm. Byron later finds Dawn's bracelet on a bridge while looking for treasure (see the Pike kids' story for details).

Karen's story

On the first day of the cruise, Kristy takes Karen, Andrew and David Michael to the swimming pool, but Karen has forgotten her earplugs. She convinces Kristy to let her go back to the room by herself to fetch them. On her way, Karen stops at the beauty parlor (where she sees Alexandra Carmody) and gets a manicure, and goes to a cafe and orders a Coke, charging both expenses to her cabin. By the time Karen gets back to the pool, Kristy's very upset, but forgives Karen after she hears the story.
At Disney World, Watson and Elizabeth take Karen and Andrew shopping on Main Street and then to the Haunted Mansion. During the ride, Karen sees a ghost sitting in their car in a mirror, and thinks that he's still with them when they leave the ride. On the last day of their trip, after having breakfast on a steamboat with several Disney characters, Karen, Andrew, David Michael, and their parents go to Fantasyland, but Karen gets separated from Elizabeth. A popcorn vendor helps her find her stepmother, but in the meantime Karen's ghost comforts her and helps her not to be scared.

Other plot information

  • Kristy and Dawn have trouble reconciling their different attitudes towards cleanliness in their cabin and hotel room.
  • Claudia sleeps on the bed above Kristy in their cabin, and steps on her hand each morning as she descends.
  • At the beginning of the book, the BSC realizes they should get the Pikes and Brewers some kind of gift to thank them for the trip, but they can't think of anything until the last night, when Claudia's comes up with the idea of making a special photo album and diary about the trip for each couple.

Clients in this book

Other characters

Places in this book

Notable outfits

  • Claudia at Nassau: "blue-and white bikini and over that, a pink sundress with spaghetti straps at the shoulders and big blue buttons down the front; a pink-and-blue scarf around my waist, knotting it in the middle; my snake bracelet and feather earrings, wound my hair up on top of my head; white sandals with long laces that you crisscross up your legs and tie in a bow."
  • Dawn with Parker at Disney World (borrowing clothes from Claudia): "white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high-top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt, which we looped droopily twice around my middle; lavender-and-white hair clips that looked like birds"


  • Margo Pike gets airsick and throws up at least three times on the two plane flights.
  • Mary Anne regrets that she can't play the slot machines due to her age.
  • Mallory Pike is much more ambiguous about whether she might someday become a writer than she is in later books, when it's a definite goal.
  • While comparing notes on the second day of the cruise, Mary Anne says she spent the day watching Vanessa and Nicky while Stacey says she spent the day with Vanessa and Margo (and nobody mentions Claire).
  • Neither Claudia, Kristy or Dawn has ever seen an R-rated movie, although Dawn's brother Jeff saw one once by accident.

Pop culture references

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