This recap is for Nikki (http://whatireadbackthen.blogspot.com/) who mentioned on one of my posts awhile ago that this is her favorite Sleepover Friends book. At the time, I didn't know which book she was talking about. Since I got this one recently and finally figured it out, I thought I'd do the recap now.
Lauren, Kate, Stephanie and Patti are going to Maine to visit Stephanie's grandma, Nana. Not to ruin the surprise, but Nana remarried in book #25.
The girls are flying to Crab Island on a seaplane, and Lauren is freaked out. The girls land safely and Nana is there to greet them. Patti brought along a book, Birds of the Northeast, and is all excited about seeing birds. According to Nana, there are several kids on the island who are around their age--twin boys and a girl named Mindy Sue. Nana and the girls head to see Dan (Nana's new husband) and his friend compete in a sloop race. She tells the girls about all the fun activities going on, like a sand castle contest and kite flying contest. The girls are all excited to participate. There's also a clambake and a dance.
After the race, the girls meet the Tyler twins, John and Fred. They don't look anything alike and Lauren describes them as "two short twerps with freckles and too much energy." The twins say they are hoping to win the most points in the contest so they can win a Sunfish, which is a boat. They already won a race earlier in the day, and are hoping to win both the kite-flying and sandcastle contests. The twins are not happy to find out that the Sleepover Friends, who are "off-islanders," are entered in those contests as well.
Just then, Mindy Sue shows up. She's about Lauren's height, with long straight hair parted in the middle and bangs. Lauren observes that she must take ballet because she has incredibly perfect posture. She's wearing a great-looking yellow wool cape with a hood and bright green sweats. As Mindy Sue introduces herself, they notice Patti has disappeared!
The girls meet the older Tyler brother, Robert, who is in high school. Stephanie thinks he is much better looking than the twins. He's tall, with reddish-brown hair brushed to one side, big brown eyes, a golden-brown tan and no freckles.
Nana, Stephanie, Kate and Lauren head back to the car, where Patti is sitting on the hood, looking at her bird book. When they ask her where she went, Patti makes up a lame story about seeing a fulmar and wanting to check in the book to make sure. They all head to the house, where the girls get to stay in the attic--apparently Nana and Dan had it remodeled just for them! As the girls are looking out the window, they see the Tyler twins, who smirk and give them a V for victory. The girls eat lunch--beef stew and Nana's homemade Boston brown bread. Then they get out their kite. It's a huge red box kite.
They head to the beach for the kite flying contest. Lauren is in charge of holding the spool of string and running, Patti will hold the kite up in the air, Stephanie will help Patti, and Kate will give directions. As they get the kite up in the air, Mindy Sue shows up and Patti disappears again. The girls are doing pretty well with their kite but it's really windy and next thing they know, their kite crashes into the Tyler twins' kite. They all watch as the kites land in the water. The Tyler boys are furious. The girls end up winning a trophy for having the largest kite.
As the girls head back to the car, they spot Patti sitting by a rock, bird watching again. However, Lauren observes that Patti doesn't really seem to be bird watching, she seems to be hiding. Patti claims that she saw a petrel and wanted to look in her book, which is why she ran off again. She also says she got sand in her eyes and that is why she left. Stephanie thinks Patti cares more about the birds than them, and acts all pissy about it.
For dinner, Nana makes chicken and dumplings and apple pandowdy. (I have no idea what apple pandowdy is and I'm too lazy to look it up). After dinner they all head upstairs and go to sleep. During the night, Lauren wakes up from a dream and notices Patti leaning out the window into the cold wind, which she thinks is odd.
The next morning, they have scrambled eggs and fresh cinnamon rolls. Then they talk strategy for their sand castle. They decide to build a big sandcastle and find all sorts of buckets and tools to use. They head to the beach and get started. As they are working on the sandcastle, Mindy Sue and her friend Jane show up, and Patti disappears again. The girls figure Patti is off chasing birds. However, Jane tells the girls that Patti can't possibly be looking for petrels or other shore birds, because it's the wrong time of year and the birds are all out at sea.
The girls have no idea what is up with Patti. Then Dan shows up. Nana drove Patti back to the house because she wasn't feeling well. They all drink some hot chocolate. When they go home for lunch, Patti is taking a nap. Nana says she has a bad headache and not to bother her. After lunch, the girls head back to the beach to work on their sandcastle some more.
That night is the dance, and they all talk about what they are going to wear. Kate: denim skirt and purple tights. Lauren: new turquoise sweatshirt with pink & yellow splotches on it. Stephanie: red and black striped wool pants. Mindy Sue asks if Patti will be going since she hasn't even met her yet, but they don't know if she'll be feeling up to it. However, Patti ends up going because if she stayed home, Nana would have to stay home with her, and she doesn't want to ruin her fun.
They head inside and there's lots going on. There's a refreshment table in the corner with two types of punch, and all kinds of cake, cookies and other snacks. There's a band and everyone is dancing. An old guy asks Kate to dance, a 7th grade boy asks Stephanie to dance, and a short 5th grader named Josh asks Lauren to dance. She recognizes him from the kite flying contest, where he won first place along with his sister. He points out his sister, Becky, who is dancing with Robert Tyler, the older Tyler boy who Stephanie thought was cute. Becky is a small, dainty girl with pink cheeks and curly dark hair. She had on a hot pink blazer, black jeans and black sneakers with lime green laces. Josh tells Lauren that his sister and Robert are going steady.
Lauren decides to go talk to Stephanie about Patti disappearing again. They get Kate and all head outside, where they find Patti waiting in the car again. They tell Patti they know why she keeps running off--it's because of the Tyler twins. Patti says no, she isn't upset about them... it's Mindy Sue. The girls are confused since Patti never even met Mindy Sue. Turns out, Patti and Mindy Sue were in the same 3rd grade class together. Mindy Sue used to make fun of Patti . She said Patti was too tall and too skinny, a bookworm and a baby, and that no one would like her because she's such a geek. Patti says she was afraid to tell them because she was worried they'd think it over and agree with Mindy Sue!
Didn't we just go over this in the last book?! Patti was all nervous about telling her friends that she was in the Quarks Club, because she thought they'd think she was a geek and not want to be her friend. And of course they don't care, and are still friends. Hasn't Patti learned anything?
Stephanie thinks maybe Mindy Sue was jealous of Patti and that is why she made fun of her. They assure Patti that 3rd grade was a long time ago (it was only 2 years ago--they are in 5th grade now!) and that Mindy Sue has changed. They all head back into the dance. However, Patti still refuses to see Mindy Sue.
During the night, there is a really bad thunderstorm. The next morning it's beautiful out, but it's too late--because of the storm, the tide wiped out most of the sandcastles. They grab some cranberry muffins and then head to the beach. Their sandcastle is gone and the girls are pretty bummed.
Mindy Sue shows up. Patti is actually there--she decided to stay and help with the sandcastle. At first, Mindy Sue doesn't even remember Patti. But Patti reminds her that they were in 3rd grade together. Mindy Sue is all "I was so jealous of this girl! She was the smartest kid in the whole school, she was tall--I was a total shrimp--our teacher loved her. She had everything!" Mindy Sue seems genuinely excited to see Patti again, and Patti is pleased and surprised, and realizes she overreacted.
The girls, including Mindy Sue and Jane, decide to join forces with the Tyler twins and build one really big castle since they don't have much time. The girls know how badly the Tylers want to win the boat. They end up building a sandcastle on a planet in outer space. (huh?!) In case you are wondering what that might look like: It was about Lauren's height, and twice as long as it was tall. Ramps crisscrossed the castle from one arched doorway to another. It had 15 towers of all sizes, and lots of round windows. It even had a flat launching pad for spaceships, like the one in a movie called Altair Three. Fred and Patti made a flying saucer from the big pottery plate on which Nana had brought their lunch (ham sandwiches).
A real architect goes around to judge the sandcastles. They end up winning first place! They are praised for their imagination and originality.
That night is the clambake. I've never been to a clambake but it sounds fun! The grown-ups dug a big pit in the sand, and the kids lined it with rocks and collected driftwood. They let the fire burn for awhile and then piled in clams, potatoes, apples, chicken, hamburgers, mussels, crabs, lobsters, hot dogs and sausages. They they packed the seaweed over and around all the food to steam it. As they waited for the food to cook, they sang songs and told ghost stories (maybe the Sleepover Friends told the story about the big white hand!) They all eat dinner together.
The next morning, Mindy Sue and the Tyler boys come over to see the girls off. Nana and Dan decided to drive the girls to the Portland airport so they don't have to take the seaplane again. Mindy Sue and Patti agree to stay in touch, and the boys tell the Sleepover Friends they'll teach them how to sail next time they come.
"Nothing's quite as good as the Sleepover Friends!" - Lauren.
Next up: Should I do #14 Lauren Takes Charge, or should I go back and recap all the books I didn't have before? I still need to do #1 Patti's Luck, #3 Kate's Surprise, #8 Lauren's Treasure, and #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? Let me know what you'd like!