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Kristy and the Secret of Susan (Baby-Sitters Club (Quality)) Paperback – March, 1990


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Baby-Sitters Club (Quality) (Book 32)
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Scholastic (March 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590731890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590731898
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann M. Martin is the bestselling author of the momentous series The Baby-sitters Club, as well as the Main Street series. Her other acclaimed novels include "A Dog's Life," "Belle Teal," "Here Today," and the Newbery Honor Book "A Corner of the Universe." She lives in upstate New York. For more information, visit www.scholastic.com/bsc.

Customer Reviews

Just because she couldn't respond doesn't mean she couldn't understand normal speech.
KathrynJaneway
Kristy, the 13-year-old protagonist in this story baby sits Susan, whose autism is so severe that she does not communicate meaningfully.
BeatleBangs1964
Introducing a character with autism in The Babysitter series was a good idea, just presented in a way I did not like.
Bonnie Sayers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Sayers on February 8, 2005
Format: Library Binding
The book is based partly on the author's experience as a therapist with autistic children during the summer she was in college. At the back of the book Ann Martin mentions this and the book she wrote before The Babysitters Club series, entitled, Inside Out.

Introducing a character with autism in The Babysitter series was a good idea, just presented in a way I did not like. Having a child with autism should never be a secret. This book is a start by educating children about those with autism.

The premise of The Babysitters Club is to meet three times a week for thirty minutes to get calls for sitting jobs. Each of the members has a title and function. Kristy and The Secret of Susan is written in the third person, by Kristy. Kristy is President of the Babysitters Club, thirteen years old and in the eighth grade.

There is a Babysitters Club notebook that contains the writeup of all the jobs they do. They learn how their friends solve problems and what is going on with the kids they watch.

I often found myself looking back to the beginning recap on each of the members since it was confusing to recall the sibling names for all the girls.

The reason for me perusing The Babysitters Club #32, Kristy and The Secret of Susan was due to the topic of autism, so I tried to keep track of all the members.

One day Mrs. Felder called to get someone to sit Susan. Susan went to a special school far away, currently home for one month before heading off to another new school. Mrs. Felder wanted a sitter for three days a weeks from 3:30 - 5:30, so she could have a break. Mrs. Felder mentioned to Kristy on the phone that Susan was autistic.

At the Babysitters Club meeting the girls discussed what autistic meant.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: Library Binding
This book was pretty good and worth my time, but the text is false in the leading that autistic people cannot be reached, though many autistic persons do have a(some) special talent(s), such as Susan's amazing piano ability.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KathrynJaneway on July 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's a good story but only two autistic people are shown: the severely autistic title character and a student with comparatively mild (but still quite severe) autism. While both portrayals are genuine to some people with autism, I would have liked to see a character who was still autistic but was able to take care of him-or-herself, or at least seen an acknowledgement that they exist. I read this for the first time when I was 10, and something about it sounded familiar, but since I thought autism was just what the book portrayed it as (people who could never connect to the world outside in any way), the idea that I could be autistic didn't even occur to me until I was diagnosed three years later. I didn't know that the kind of autism I now know I have even existed.

Also I didn't like the way Kristy treated Susan at first, like when she dragged her outside even though she wanted to play the piano. It wasn't hurting her, was it? Forcing autistic kids to interact doesn't do anything but agitate them more. Believe me, I know. And talking to her like she was two? Just because she couldn't respond doesn't mean she couldn't understand normal speech.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I liked reading about susan, she seemed like a gifted person caught up in her own world. I myself love playing piano so it was interesting to read about susan though she had a disability. This book also shows that it's not nice to make fun of people who are a little bit different from you.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I felt this was a highly disappointing and unsatisfactory book about an 8-year-old child who has autism. Kristy, the 13-year-old protagonist in this story baby sits Susan, whose autism is so severe that she does not communicate meaningfully. She has an extraordinary gift for music and can reproduce any song she hears on the piano. She does not play or interact with others.

Other kids soon learn of Susan's musical prowess and charge admission to hear her play. They exploit her talents until Kristy intervenes. Susan can also provide any given date and her mother explains that Susan once saw a perpetual calendar which sparked this interest.

Parts of the book reflected antiquated attitudes and misperceptions about autism. Kristy looks the word up in the dictionary and the definition provided was that it is a form of schizophrenia or withdrawal from reality. Autism is NOT schizophrenia and people with autism don't necessarily "withdraw from reality." Indeed, people with autism often feel bombarded with outside stimuli and develop coping mechanisms to "come even," that is to tone down the sensory onslaught that is so much a part of the autism experience. Suggesting that autism is in any way, shape and form related to schizophrenia has proved very costly to people with autism. Sadly, this kind of thing has caused many people with autism to be misdiagnosed. This in turn has led to many inappropriate treatments and placements being inflicted on people with autism! This kind of thing does not help anybody and has harmed many.

This book is not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but I wish autism had been defined in a more accurate way. Rest assured, autism is NOT a disease but a neurobiological condition that affects sensory integration and communication based on the individual.
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