Episode 1: Kristy’s Great Idea

I was thinking that starting at the very beginning would be a very good place to start. When you sing,you begin with sorry, someone was watching the Sound of Music last week and that song has been in my head ever since. I was going to start off discussing the Graphic Novel, but that will have to wait. My 12 year old cat decided that Kristy’s Great Idea is a pillow. So I am instead looking over the new cover version that was released after I stopped reading these books the first time.

From the front cover, I don’t think I would have read this book first. No offense, Scholastic marketing department, but I can’t imagine any child reading the tagline: “Four friends and baby-sitting — what could be more fun?” and begging their parents to buy this book. However, I am no longer a child, so I do not know what interests them. I do like the pink though. It’s very un-Kristy.

Characterization

One of the things that I love most about the older books is the characterization of the girls. They act like responsible twelve year olds, and time progresses at a normal pace. Yes, it was written sometime in the mid 80s and that shows, but there are some things that are just so familiar. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the early 90s in a city that prides itself on being a little bit offbeat.

Kristy is tomboyish, but only to the extent that she grew up with 2 older brothers. She still likes a lot of things that girls like and she’s bossy without being controlling and rude. I also love reading about her struggle to accept Watson and his kids. I think it’s a very good portrayal, especially for books of that time period. Seriously, you should have seen some of the literature that our school counselor would give to students whose parents were divorcing. They make Nancy Reagen’s “Just Say No” plan look brilliant.

Mary Anne is mousy and shy, but you can see that she has a quiet calm about her.

I love the fact that they weren’t that close to Claudia, even though she lived across the street. This is fairly typical of junior high. You start to split into groups based on interests and location, and some girls do mature a little faster. Of course, Claudia is totally not mature, what with wearing hooker makeup and plastic skull earrings. Oh Claudia, you know I love you.

Stacey is a huge mystery, what with her bizarre behavior. I like that she is presented as mature and sophisticated, yet she’s willing to hang out with the BSC. I suppose this is much better explained in book3, The Truth About Stacey. She really isn’t that sophisticated, and she probably decided to hang out with these girls because she didn’t want to risk being embarrassed again. I like that AMM touched on both anorexia and diabetes, without being to heavy handed.

Grammar Lessons

In this installment we learn the meaning of decorum. This has come in quite useful over the years. Seriously. But not as useful as the meaning of hopefully, which Janine Kishi explains to us readers. We also get to learn about the use of the apostrophe in The Baby-Sitter’s Club, even though I have taken several different college level courses in editing and I still have trouble deciding whether or not to use it.

Animals

Kids love animals, and I think that’s why these people have so many pets. Between the magical Pike cat that appears only in this book, Boo-boo, the seventeen pound grumpy cat of Watson, Louie the ancient collie, and Kristy’s pet sitting job… there is more than enough to keep a young animal lover entertained.

Baby-Sitting

These early books really know how to make the book about the club and it’s members without boring me to pieces with the baby-sitting. (Yes, I am looking at you “Mary Anne and Camp BSC”). AMM managed to give each of the girls an interesting sitting job, tie them all to the club, and work on Kristy’s problem with her family/soon to be step family, all in 153 pages. It had to be because these books were only published quarterly.

Karen

Karen actually acts her age and is really cute in this book. I think Andrew is way cuter, with his shyness and his “yups” to everything, but they are still both cute kids who make me want to read the Little Sister series. It must really suck for Watson to live in that giant haunted house alone with a 17 pound cat. No wonder is is so quick to marry his mistress Elizabeth and fill the house up with kids and Nannie.

Next time I will probably be discussing Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls.

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