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The Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy's Great Idea Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 367 customer reviews
Book 1 of 94 in the Baby-sitters Club Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It all began with a great idea ... and the inspiring original story of the Baby-sitters Club is back! Kristy Thomas's brilliant business plan gets off to a great start with the help of Claudia Kishi (vice-president), Mary Anne Spier (secretary), and Stacey McGill (treasurer).


Amazon Exclusive Inteview with Author Ann M. Martin

Q: It's been a decade since the last Baby-sitters Club books came out, and 24 years since the first book was published. What was it like to come back to the BSC after so many years away?

Martin: I had a great time re-visiting the characters. It was fun to explore their lives in the prequel, “"The Summer Before," and to figure out what led the girls to form The Baby-sitters Club, something that would eventually change their lives. It was like a reunion with friends--friends who haven’t changed a bit.

Q: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey are very different characters, which is in part why the series was and is still so popular. Every reader can relate to at least one of the characters. So, we have to ask you--which character are you most like?

Martin: I am most like Mary Anne who is the shy and quiet one. Like me, Mary Anne enjoys more solitary pursuits such as reading and needlework. My favorite character, however, is Kristy. I think she's my alter ego.

Q: Were you allowed to baby-sit when you were twelve? If so, were they any funny or awful stories you'd like to share?

Martin: Yes, I did a lot of baby-sitting when I was twelve. One of the worst and also funniest things that ever happened was when I was baby-sitting for our neighbors and the kids wanted to wash their parents' car. They started the job with much enthusiasm--using Brillo pads.

Q: More than 200 BSC books were published in the eighties and nineties. Are there any that you are particularly fond of and why?

Martin: My favorite Baby-sitters Club book is "Kristy's Great Idea," which is the first book and sets the series in motion. I also like the more serious books such as "Claudia and the Sad Good-bye," which deals with the death of Claudia’s grandmother. This book was written shortly after my own grandmother died. My other favorite BSC books include “Kristy and the Secret of Susan,” in which the members of the BSC baby-sit for a child with autism, and "Jessi's Secret Language" in which the girls learn American Sign Language in order to communicate with a sitting charge with profound hearing impairment.

Q: Why do you think that the series is so well-loved and has endured over so many years?

Martin: I think the characters in the BSC books are easily relatable. The books deal with timeless topics including friendship, family, and school. Also, the books tackle serious issues including racism, bullying, kids with disabilities (physical and mental), and death of a loved one. These issues were relevant to kids in the 1980s and 1990s, and are still relevant to kids today. In addition to being relatable, these are characters readers can aspire to. The kids run a business--in this case, a baby-sitting business. They are entrepreneurial, independent, creative, and confident. And at the heart of the series is the friendship--the "glue" that binds these characters. Sure, they have fights, but they're loyal and they support one another. I think a lot of us--even adults--can relate to that.

Q: "The Summer Before" takes place during the summer before the girls enter the seventh grade--where suddenly there's a ton of pressure to fit in. The months leading up to it can be filled with anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. Do you remember how you spent the summer before seventh grade?

Martin: I was nervous that summer because in the fall I would be going to a new school – the junior high (this was in the time before middle schools). Even the words "junior high" seemed terribly grown-up. My friends and I would be attending school with eighth-graders, who were one step away from high school. I spent that summer reading, going to the community pool, taking a family trip to Cape May, New Jersey, doing some baby-sitting, and also recovering from surgery. But the knowledge that I would soon be in junior high school colored every day and every activity and did lend the summer an air of both anxiety and anticipation.

Q: Despite the fun the girls have together in "The Summer Before," they're all dealing with pretty tough problems—moving away, an absentee father, a first crush. How did you choose the issues you wanted to focus on?

Martin:  One of my favorite things about writing a series was that the characters themselves generated plot ideas for later books. One of the themes that developed as the series progressed was that of Kristy's relationship with her father. It was an idea I enjoyed exploring, and when I had the opportunity to write the prequel I realized that this summer would be a charged time for Kristy, and that I could introduce the issues she had with her father here; then they could unfold in the later books. The same applied to Stacey. Her reasons for moving to Stoneybrook had been revealed in later books, but I realized that during this particular summer the reader could actually watch the events take place. The other issues – a first crush, wanting more independence yet still feeling like a kid--are themes that I felt would resonate with most "tween" readers.

Q:
Even though the books have been out of print for ten years there are still some very devoted fans. Surely you must have received a ton of letters about the series over the years. Are there any that stick out in your mind?

Martin: The most memorable are stories of girls who have written to me and told me that I’ve made an impact on their lives, that The Baby-sitters Club books have turned them into readers. Some have also said that the BSC books made them aspire to become writers. I’ve also heard from a lot of the original fans who grew up to become teachers, librarians, editors, journalists, entrepreneurs, etc. To know that this series inspired a generation of readers and writers is very humbling.

Q: There’s been a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about where Claudia, Kristy, Mary Ann, and Stacey would be now, in 2010, had they grown up. Do you have any thoughts on what path each would have taken?

Martin:  I understand the fascination of the older BSC fans who would like to know what happened with the characters when they got older. It’s thrilling to realize that after all these years the fans remain passionate about the books and the characters in The Baby-sitters Club. I can see Kristy running a business--I can also see her being in politics. I think Mary Anne became a teacher. I imagine Stacey went into fashion--not as a designer, but maybe on the business side. And Claudia became an artist. I think fans can fill in for the rest of the characters!


From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 Seventh-grader Kristy Thomas organizes her friends into a baby-sitters club. In the course of the operation of the club, Kristy comes to terms with her mother's engagement, Stacey confides to her new friends that she has diabetes, Claudia learns to tolerate and even appreciate her gifted older sister, and Mary Anne makes some compromises with her over-protective father. All of the elements of concern to pre-teen girls (wearing the ``in'' clothes, keeping friendships stable, coping with family stresses, and trying to grow up) are here, tied to the almost universal experience of baby-sitting. Characters are not drawn with great depth, but the action is on target. A pleasant offering that will find a ready audience. Candy Colborn, Cottonwood Creek Elementary School, Englewood, Colo.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Baby-Sitters Club (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545174759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545174756
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You are complaining that the books are too "nice". There's no sex, drugs, drinking, etc. They're 13!!!! And I was 8 when I started reading the BSC. Why on earth would any responsible author write a series for young girls and fill it with stuff like that. This is FICTION (yeah, look it up). An escape from reality. You want sex, drugs, drinking, turn on the TV or something. The BSC was a GREAT series. I read it for years, well into my early teens, and I recommend it to any young girl. This was the series that spawned my love of reading.
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A Kid's Review on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Hey, Um, you, who was talking about how you hate these books now, some people may agree with you or agree with me, but Ann Martin can't write about Claudia ,or whoever, having sex!

I mean, yeah, some stuff doens't seem real, but these were the late 80's early 90's, M.A has a boyfriend in the later stuff, I mean, but sex?

That would ruin the meaning of these books, they are supposed to be FUN, HAPPY, and some kids around 9 read these books too, I don't think they're parents would be happy having their 9yr old reading about a 13yr old having sex!!

So, Don't blame Martin, you can write your own books about people having sex, ok?
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Format: Paperback
Let me tell you a little something about "The Baby-Sitters Club". When the series first came out in the 1980s I was like millions of other little girls around the country. I wolfed those puppies down like they was popcorn. Couldn't get enough of them. Ann M. Martin (who later went on to garner herself a Newbery Honor or two) only intended to write four books (one for each club member) but popular demand was so strong that she started writing more and more and more. If you were to walk into your local library you'd find dog-eared, yellowing, crumbling paperback editions. The series has never been republished, so libraries are forced to hold onto the dying original copies with their lamentable late 80s/early 90s hair and fashion. But do these covers deter the kiddies from reading them? Hardly. My library shelves literally cannot keep these puppies in stock. Put a new one (which is to say, a donated one) on the shelf and VOOM! It's gone the next day.

Which is why the people at Scholastic are geniuses. Right now I am holding in my hot little hands a brand-spanking new "Baby-Sitters Club" book. It's the first book in the series and it has been utterly and completely graphic-novelized (is that a word?). Scholastic has been veeery slowly cornering the market on high-quality literary graphic novels for children. I'm not talking about superhero comics or manga or any of that run-of-the-mill material. I'm talking about things like Jeff Smith's, "Bone", done in full color twelve-episode editions. Really high quality stuff. Now they've given us "The Baby-Sitter's Club" in graphic novel form and the timing could not be better. At this moment in time million of women who grew up with these books are now having children of their own. It makes me feel old, but it's true.
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Format: Paperback
I first read a BSC book when I was seven - in first grade - and the reading was too challenging for me, since I had just started reading chapter books. Well, when I was eight or nine, I picked this up and read the whole thing without a problem.

Now I'm fourteen and I still love the books. They contain nothing inappropriate - no language, sexual content, violence, and only minor drug usage. And when the rare BSC situation with drinking or smoking involved comes up, the character narrating the book clearly explains that it's a bad thing to do. There's also a bit of racism, but no bad language or anything - just stuff like people avoiding blacks. But this stuff is explained in the books to be wrong, too.

So, there's nothing that will turn kids into bad people or make them know bad things. The books are written in a great, flowing style, and each one is unique. Sometimes big tragedies occur, but the girls support each other and pull through in the end.

This book was definitely the best one in the series. Though I only own about ten of the books, I've picked up most of the other ones from the library, so I can tell how good this is compared to the others. Sure, they're great, but this one beats them out.

It's narrated by character Kristy, who gets a great idea. She and her friends Mary Anne and Claudia, plus Claudia's new friend Stacey, are going to start a baby-sitting club! They encounter lots of trouble in this book, like pesky kids, people who want them to sit for dogs, and Kristy's worst nightmare...

...Watson Brewer, whom her mother is dating - and might even marry. Kristy hates Watson and thinks his kids, Karen and Andrew, are probably brats, though she's never met them. Plus, Claudia's friend Stacey is acting strange, especially about eating junk food.

You'll have to read the book to find out what happens!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the Baby-Sitters Club books as an 8 year old, and I am so glad to see them being published as graphic novels. I purchase two copies of this- one for myself and one for my 11 year old niece. We are starting to get into graphic novels as a way to help her dyslexic brother associate words and pictures. She was really excited to see a graphic novel for girls. I should clarify that these books are not *just* for girls- but they certainly appeal to my niece more than X-Men or traditional comics. Also, I should clarify that this book is not a comic- it is a graphic novel. This means that it is a genuine novel that has been heavily illustrated. Thus, if you consider comics low-brow literature, you may still want to consider a graphic novel. Essentially, the entire original story is here, with a lot of original dialogue. The storyline is the same and the characters are the same.

There are a lot of graphic novels that I do not care for, because of the illustrations. This novel was illustrated by the same woman who illustrated "Smile." The pictures and text are very clear.

Some people are complaining the story lines are not appropriate for younger elementary. I think when these were published they were aimed at Middle School aged kids- since the kids in the books are all in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I remember reading the original ones as a 9 year old, and it was my first introduction to a lot of new concepts, like divorce, deafness, and diabetes- but to be fair, these are all things I hear my elementary students at school talk to their friends about. Ann Martin has always been really good about writing about tough themes for kids in a way that makes them non-threatening.
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