- Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Fawcett (July 12, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0449701778
- ISBN-13: 978-0449701775
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Baby-Sitting Is a Dangerous Job Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1987
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From Publishers Weekly
An ordinary sitting job turns into a nightmare for 13-year-old Darcy when kidnappers invade the house and carry off the children; PW found this a mystery characterized by "electrifying suspense." Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
I'm Darcy Stevens. A baby-sitter for the Foster children. Now, I've taken care of bratty kids before, but never three all at once. These kids are really something. I was reading to the two girls and Jeremy snuck into the den to call his Uncle Rick who lives in Hawaii! Later the baby covered herself with her mother's expensive makeup!
But that's not the half of it. After I interviewed for the job, my brother drove me home and I saw a black car following us. Then on my first day, this stranger came to the door and said he was from the gas company and had to get in for an emergency. I asked to see his ID and instead of showing me, he just left.
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Top customer reviews
Overall, it was fine. It’s a children’s thriller about a young teenage girl named Darcy who baby-sits to earn herself a little extra money. She decides to take on the Foster job, even though she knows the kids are going to be bratty, but she’s getting a lot of money out of it, so why not? Right from the start, weird things start happening in the book — she and her brother seem to be followed by a black car on their way back from the Foster home to their home; and later, while walking with her friend, Darcy sees the same black car. At the same time, her friend has run away from home to escape her father’s abuse, so she tries to help her out. The main conflict of the story, though, is that Darcy and the Foster kids get kidnapped to earn a ransom and they want to figure out a way to escape from the kidnappers before they get hurt, or worse.
Basically, there’s a lot going on in this book and I’m not sure it holds up. It was written in the 80’s, and a lot of stuff is thrown out that isn’t taken very seriously. And yes, this is a thriller and not a Judy Blume book, but it’s troubling to see abuse get thrown out and not really addressed properly. It seems like the book’s message is: no, don’t talk to the proper authorities, running away is a good option sometimes, which isn’t a great message for kids. Even later, when the kidnapping is resolved, Darcy talks about it like she just had a daring adventure, calling her friend late at night to fill her in on all the “drama.” No mention of trauma? No parental check-ups? They hug her, give her an extra dessert, and let her talk on the phone. It’s all very strange.
With that said, it’s a fairly enjoyable story if you don’t think about it too much, which pretty much fits into the thriller genre overall, in my opinion. It’s nice to see Darcy realize that the kids she watches are more than burdens, so her character growth is interesting in that she starts actually caring for the kids she baby-sits rather than inwardly complain about how spoiled they are. And it’s nice to see the kids go through a change with how they treat her. This is an entertaining story, but not one I think kids today would enjoy, and not something I’d recommend as a “good read” to anyone, but it’s not bad either.
However, the three unruly kids are the least of her worries. Mysterious things start happening. When returning home from the interview and later that afternoon when out with her friend Irene, Darce notices that she is being followed by a black car. After starting her work, she does everything a good baby sitter should do. She doesn't let the stranger claiming to be from the gas company into the home. She calls the police when the burglar alarm goes off in the middle of the afternoon. However, some time after the police leave without finding anyone, three intruders break in the house, kidnap Darcy and the Foster children for ransom, and take them to an old house out in the country where they are guarded by ferocious Dobermans. Darcy recognizes the men as the father and two brothers of her classmate Diana Hazen. What do they plan to do with the kids? Is it possible for Darcy to escape and get help?
Author Willo Davis Roberts, who is a two-time Edgar Allan Poe Award winner, has created a gripping mystery story with a great deal of spine-tingling suspense, which will make it hard for most children to put down. The subject of child abuse is brought up and dealt with sensitively as Darcy and Irene learn that their friend Diana is being mistreated by her father and try to help her. There is very little objectionable. While told from a girl's viewpoint, the plot is exciting enough to interest boys as well, although some parents might consider the little discussion of Irene's still being flat-chested as opposed to Darcy's developing a little faster to be somewhat inappropriate for pre-teen boys. As to bad language, the euphemistic word "gosh" appears once and that's it. Young lovers of mystery adventures and anyone who has ever done babysitting should like this story about a babysitter's worst nightmare.