In the fall of 1986, I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade. We had just received our Scholastic book club flyers, and my best friend, Jennifer, ordered a bright yellow book called The Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy's Great Idea. Our orders came and she wouldn't stop raving about how funny and great her book was. Not to be outdone, when the following month's catalog arrived, I ordered a book called The Baby-Sitters Club #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls. (Jennifer didn't.) When my book arrived, we immediately traded books, since I hadn't read book #1 yet. From then on, we were hooked. Every month, either via Scholastic or our mall book stores, we raced to get the latest adventures of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, Mallory, Jessi, and everyone else in Stoneybrook, Connecticut. We were Baby-Sitters Club fanatics. (And of course, we got our own copies of the books we'd borrowed from each other, too.)
|My well-beaten copies of the first two Baby-Sitters Club books from 1986. |
Kristy's Great Idea is missing the last few pages. Sadness.
The following year, Jennifer and I both found ourselves in new schools. Jennifer had moved to a new house not far from her old one, but it put her in a different school district. My birthday was drawn via lottery for the school busing program, and I would be bused to a school outside my neighborhood. But we had the phone and weekend sleepovers, and we would share BSC news. Then midway through the year, Jennifer called me crying. Her father had taken a job in Houston, and the whole family would be moving away for good. We would see each other when she'd come back to Kansas on summer breaks, and occasionally, one of us (usually her) would find the other's phone number and we'd catch up. This continued through my college years. A few years ago, I found her on Myspace, and we had a wonderful marathon phone call, and when she came through town, we met at a Cracker Barrel in our old hometown. I'm sorry to say we haven't kept in touch since.
I kept reading the BSC without Jennifer. Dawn came, Stacey moved away, Mallory and Jessi became junior sitters, Stacey came back. The original girls in the books were 12 and in the 7th grade when the series began. Several books later, they were 13 and in the 8th grade. When I was in the 8th grade, I was still reading the books, but I was starting to read classics, with a little Stephen King and Dean Koontz thrown in.
Early in 8th grade, my neighbor friend across the street and I became friends with another girl. We thought we'd start a Baby-Sitters Club of our own. I was so excited. We were at my house, and I brought it up with my dad as the girls were still there (bad idea). He said no. I cried. Soon after, the other girl didn't want to be our friend anymore. I hated middle school. It wasn't at all like Stoneybrook Middle School. I didn't have a tight-knit group of friends like the Club. I had a few groups of friends, but I had no idea where I fit in in those groups, and there were classes I dreaded because of bullies. I stopped reading the books.
But the books went on. There was a TV series, there was a movie. The movie came out after I graduated high school! It starred Schuyler Fisk, the daughter of Sissy Spacek, as Kristy. (I still haven't seen it, but I loved this song from The Last Kiss.)
|Some of the changing backs of the books (new officers, etc.) From inside the books: Join the Baby-Sitters Club (offer expired June 1987), Win a Trip to New York City (1990), ads for BSC games, planners, and videos.|
For nostalgia's sake, I've been following The Baby-Sitters Club on Facebook. There, I managed to win a copy of the new prequel, The Summer Before. There is a sticker signed by Ann M. Martin inside the book.
I read it last week. It was so much fun to visit Stoneybrook again. Occasionally, I would hit on a detail that probably related to changes made in the later editions of the original books - they were still in the stores with new covers when I started my bookstore job in 2000! After all, the originals were so hip in the late '80s...
|The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin. Scholastic, 2011.|
The Baby-Sitters Club at Scholastic
Ann M. Martin's page at Scholastic
The Baby-Sitters Club on Facebook
"The Legacy of The Baby-Sisters Club" at The Atlantic Wire
The e-book re-releases with classic covers (not the original covers, though...)
The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki
And here's the first episode of the TV show I didn't watch:
And here's the trailer to the 1995 movie (haha, love the Tori Amos, Better Than Ezra, and The Cranberries playing in the background - I was listening to The Bangles and Tiffany when I was reading the BSC books, but the music of my high school and college years was so much better!!!):