Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday Review: The Babysitters Club

By: Ann Martin
Genre: Contemporary MG/YA
First Published: 1986
Publisher: Scholastic (can't you tell by that sweet block lettering?)
Books in the Series: 131 (plus 15 super specials)
POV: First Person - Each book is a different Narrator
Rating: 4 out of 5

Follows the adventures of Kristy and the other members of the Baby-Sitters Club as they deal with crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who do not always tell the truth.
Main Character: There are five main characters. Each book is told from a different POV:

Kristy - President - She's a tomboy, a planner, and the idea woman. She has a lot of ideas and a big mouth that she boss people around with. That sounds mean, but that's kind of how she's described as. It's not a bad thing within the series since the other characters all love her.

Mary-Anne - Secretary - She's Kristy's best friend, and she's very organized. She's the shiest of the bunch, but she also happens to be the only character with a more permanent love-interest. (Perhaps because I hear Ann Martin based Mary-Anne on herself.) She and Dawn become step-sisters when their parents get married.

Claudia - Vice President - Japanese-American and an artist. The best random detail about Claudia is that she has a phone in her room and therefore, she can take calls "after hours," having a phone in your room was a big deal back then (so 90s). She does not fit in with her book-smart Japanese family, and only her grandmother, Mimi, seems to get her.

Stacey - Treasurer - She's a little bit of the outsider in the beginning. She just moved to Stoneybrook from New York City. So she's more urban and funky. She becomes bffs with Claudia because they both love fashion. She has diabetes, which I don't think has a huge stigma attached to it (at least now), but for part of the series she tries to keep this fact a secret. Which makes me wonder, did people really care so much about each other's eating habits/diets in the 90s?!

Dawn - Alternate officer - The other outsider of the group, but from the other side of the country. Dawn is from California. So, she loves health food and the environment (sometimes I realize this series is a little cliche/stereotypical, but it means well, so I'll forgive it).

Setting: Stonybrook, CT.

Review: So my sister was the one who first read The Baby-Sitters Club, and because our family did things right, I first read Baby-Sitters Club Little Sister books before I graduated to the actual Baby-Sitters Club. The funny thing is that there's nothing really inappropriate about the Baby-Sitters Club books that younger kids couldn't read, so I don't really know why the Little Sister books were necessary (But I may be looking back in hindsight during a time when kids are reading the Hunger Games where kids are actually killing each other.)

Anyway, this series was fun. That's the best way I can describe it. There was a great television series made about it and a pretty decent movie as well starring a young Larisa Oleynik and Rachael Leigh Cook, ah the 90s. (I preferred the TV show, maybe because I liked the casting of Kristy and Claudia better).

The teen problems of the 90s (at least in fiction) were such innocent things. Stuff like the boy you like not liking you back. Or Claudia having to pass a math test even though she's obviously more of a creative soul. Don't get me wrong, there are also real teen issues as well. Like the fact that Mallory has a kajillion siblings. Or Kristy's big mixed family that includes a stepfather, stepsiblings, and an adopted sister. Or when Dawn and Mary-Anne's parents get married and they are suddenly siblings. 

At the end of the day, the series is about friendship. No matter what the girls (and some guys) are going through they always have each other. There are whole books that kind of drive that message home really hard (like when Stacey quits the club for a hot second and gets all new friends and then realizes that she misses the Baby-Sitters Club when her new friends are mean to her). To be honest, no individual book in this series really stood out to me. But I always enjoyed spending time with the characters. And the series was so 90s that it makes me both laugh and sigh with nostalgia. 

Recommendations: Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal


  1. Babysitters Club, a throwback. Good pick for that and great review. Definitely gives feelings of nostalgia.

    1. Thanks! I love doing throwback reviews because it lets me relive some great series from the past. And usually they have epically 90s covers like this.