It’s hard to believe that a group of thirteen-year-old babysitters and their adventures was once the most popular series back in the ’90s. We’re talking about … The Baby-Sitters Club.
Published by Scholastic between 1996 and 2000, The Baby-sitters Club (BSC) is a series written by Ann M. Martin that has sold over 170 million copies worldwide. The series is about a group of middle school students living in the fictional town of Stoneybrook. They weren’t just any ordinary middle school students — they owned a business called ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’.
Starting out with four members including Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill, the club was designed to help parents find available babysitters by calling during their club meetings.
As of 2009, the beloved BSC series became out of print, but due to fans’ ongoing demands, the series recently hit bookstores with new covers, as well as an all-new prequel.
What were our first impressions of The Baby-Sitters Club? Without a doubt, The Baby-Sitters Club is a very basic series about the highs and lows of babysitting. Oddly enough, it’s surprisingly much more than that.
Ann M Martin has created a fictional community where all characters in the story reflect your typical real-life community. Every girl in the Baby-Sitters Club for instance, has a distinctive personality that stands on their own, and accompanied by a unique background.
Who could not admire Kristy’s thirst for actioning her ideas? Claudia and Stacey’s love for fashion and New York? Mary Anne’s wisdom? Dawn’s determination to make the world greener?
In each BSC novel, it contains at least one subplot where the main girl of the novel has to deal with several issues. When you think about it, the series is essentially a guide for young girls growing up as it delves with a range of issues from friendship conflicts, family complications, and finding one’s identity in middle school. Because these girls demonstrate how raw and authentic they are, readers are able to relate with the characters on a personal level.
In comparison to modern female protagonists, BSC girls like Kristy and Dawn are probably not as sophisticated and/or colourful. However, because of who they are, what
they wear, and what they do for their family and friends; these girls are ultimately great inspirations for young girls in the real world. And honestly, we could not be happier to see them making a return in modern times.
The best thing about Ann Martin’s BSC series is the number of spin-off series that accompanied the main series. These spin-offs include the Mystery series, Holiday series, Little Sister series, and the Friends Forever Special series. While most BSC books were ghost-written by a group of writers, they all follow the same spirit of making readers laugh and cry whilst entertaining and teaching us about life.
Despite the series being re-marketed for a much younger audience nowadays, it is a shame that the series hasn’t gone off with a bang like it did many years ago. Is it because of the waning interest in real-life school drama as opposed to colourful school life of gossip, rivalry and betrayal? Or maybe it’s because of the increasing indulgence and preference for much more fascinating genres such as gothic and romance?
Nevertheless, The Baby-Sitters Club series will always be there for the curious mind to discover, and hopefully we will see the BSC series jump back into the spotlight once more.