Friday, January 13, 2012

Ten Facts You May Not Know About The Baby-Sitters Club!

By Maribeth Curley of, where you can find great kids costumes.

If you were a young girl during the 80s or 90s, you most likely read The Baby-Sitters Club. (I know I did.) You had a favorite sitter, a favorite client, and you probably even had a favorite Super Special. This book series was a big part of many little girls’ literary lives, so let’s take a look at some things you may not know about the BSC.

1. The popular series was created to capitalize on the popularity of another book about babysitting. The book was Ginny’s Babysitting Job, which was published in the early 80s. An editor at Scholastic saw the success of another novel about the hobby and decided that the publishing company needed their own version.

2. Author Ann M. Martin was originally a freelance author when she was hired to write a book about baby-sitting. Martin was responsible for creating the plot-lines, details, and characters of The Baby-Sitters Club, as well as writing the first books. The series was about a club, rather than a single baby-sitter, to help promote team work and unity among young girls.

3. The series was originally slated for just four novels. However, thanks to the success of those four, Scholastic ordered two more, and after that, another twelve.

4. Author Ann M. Martin only wrote about 60 out of 213 total Baby-Sitters Club books. Most of the novels were ghostwritten by other authors, including 43 by Peter Lerangis, who also wrote for a spin-off of another popular teen series of the 80s, Sweet Valley Twins.

5. During the 14-year run of the series, there were 176 million copies of The Baby-Sitters Club books printed.

6. While there were popular spin-off's of the series (Baby-Sitters Little Sister namely), there were also less popular spin-offs. The California Diaries was a series of books based on Dawn Schafer's return to California in her teenage years. It took a slightly darker tone in its writing and touched on subjects such as anorexia, sexual identity, and racism. However, only 15 novels were published before the series’ end.

7. In 2006, a division of Scholastic named Graphix published a graphic novelization of the first Baby-Sitters Club novel. The animated versions were updated adaptations of four of the early BSC books: Kristy’s Great Idea, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and Claudia and Mean Janine.

8. In 2009, the New York Times wrote an article about the upcoming re-release of the first two novels of the series. Scholastic hoped to spark a comeback of the books with the current generation of readers. Also, that same year, Ann M. Martin wrote a prequel to the series called The Summer Before.

9. Throughout the run of the series, there were five types of novels in addition to the core series of novels: Super Specials, which were longer stories and were narrated by a different girl each chapter; Readers Request, books that focused on non-main members of the BSC; Mysteries and Super Mysteries; Portrait collections, novels that were biographies of the girls’ pasts; and Baby-Sitters Club: Friends Forever, a 13-book mini-series, which ended with the girl’s graduation from middle school.

10. There was an (amazing) 13-episode long TV series named The Baby-Sitters Club, which aired in 1990. The shows were broadcast on The Disney Channel, as well as HBO and Nickelodeon. The other live-action version of the BSC was the feature film, released in 1995. The role of Mary Anne was actress Rachael Leigh Cook’s movie debut, and the film also starred Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack, 10 Things I Hate About You) as Dawn.


Shannon said...

Great post! The Baby-Sitters Club was my favorite book series when I was a kid and I loved the show too. Thanks for a nice trip down memory lane! :)

Minda said...

I remember hitting the school library for every babysitters club related book they had. Those sure were the days.

MsGarlic said...

ahh I loved them so much!

Carlito86 said...

Great post!! I loved these books so much, wonder if I still have them somewhere, I hope so!!

Kim said...

Great post! This brings back so many good memories. This was one of my favorite series as a kid. I also loved the tv show and I wish it stayed on air longer.

The Skirted Wordsmith said...

Oh, I LOVED the Super Specials! But I had never heard of The California Diaries. How enlightening!

Laura said...

Is Ginnie's Baby-sitting Business the same book as Ginny's Babysitting Job? Or are the Ginnie/Ginny books part of a series?

Minda, me too!

Kim, I also wish the TV had continued though by the time I found out about it, I thought it was a video series. I didn't realized it had started on TV.

I remember years and years ago my aunt telling me that Ann M. Martin was going to start writing an 'older' series of books and some people were up in arms about it because it was a much deeper, darker series than the BSC and that some people might've needed a step between the two series. And I remember saying that I didn't and she said she knew but that most people would. Well I now realize my aunt was talking about the California Diaries! (I'd thought she meant a completely different series. not a BSC spin-off.)

glammmit said...

I actually knew all of these but numbers 7 and 8 (the recent news ones)...I don't know what that says about me! I LOVED the Babysitters Club, and I read every single one of them, most multiple times. Including the California Diaries. I also must have watched the film countless times...

Michelle said...

The BSC remains one of my favorite book series to this day (along with The Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley, etc.) Every week at PathMark, I’d get another, and devour them quickly. I read the entire series, as well as the subseries/spin-offs. Even owned the film and saw the short-lived TV show. I LOVE the sitters!! (Mallory being my forever-unchallenged favorite…oh, how I identified with her. Then came Abby, Kristy, Dawn, Claudia, Mary Anne, Jessi, Stacy, and Shannon if you wanna count her. After Mal it’s hard to rank, because I love them all.) “The Summer Before” was definitely worth a read, and a nice little reminder of how brilliantly kids can be taught to love reading!! Libraries and bookstores…promote the classics…so tired of seeing new, not-as-good, yet kinda-similarish things waste the space that should be preserved forever for the good stuff.

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