Friday, October 5, 2012

Classic Children of the 90s Repost: Popular Young Children's Books of the 80s and 90s

Children's authors set the groundwork for a new generation to develop a deep love of reading, so it's critical that their output is engaging and amusing enough to hold our limited attention. Plus, our parents often bore the burden of reading these books to us again and again until they could have recited them from memory, so it helped if authors could throw in some humor that satiated the appetites of both adults and children.

These books satisfied both criteria in balance and firmly established a place in our collective nostalgic heart for their silliness, fun, and wit. Let's take a stroll through the magical world of 80s and 90s young children's books. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll develop a catchy rhyming scheme. Don't blame me if you start talking Seusically, though. It should wear off in 10-12 hours.

If You Give A Mouse a Cookie



We all know what happens when you start giving mice cookies. They're insatiable little rodents, really. At least that's the central message of Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. He'll just keep bleeding you dry with favors until he finally just wants a cookie again. There's just no winning. Maybe if you try giving a Moose a Muffin or a Pig a Pancake things might turn out differently. Maybe.


Love You Forever


If you're a leaky-faucet type crier easily set off by emotional material, be warned that you'll release the floodgates by the last cycle of "I love you forever, I love you for always, as long as you're living, my baby you'll be." The book details the relationship of a mother and her young son as she recites the same refrain to him at various stages of his life. Near the end of the story, the adult child recites it back to his dying elderly mother and finally to his own infant daughter. The book resonates well with adults and children alike; it seems the older you get, the more likely you'll want to keep a full box of tissues nearby when you pick this one up.


The Eleventh Hour and Animalia




I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of three years trying to trace these gorgeous illustrations in hopes of miraculously transferring Graeme Base's incredible art talent onto my own hopelessly skill-free hands. Base's books may be visually enchanting, but in the case of The Eleventh Hour they're also incredibly tricky. I still haven't managed to solve all of the many riddles embedded in the story. I almost caved and broke into the solution in the back, but I'm still holding out hope that the answer will just come to me.


The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales




Revisionist fairy tales can be a lot of fun, and this Wolf-narrated version of the classic Three Little Pigs story is no exception. Our allegedly mistakenly accused suspect, Alexander T. Wolf, describes his troubles in borrowing sugar to bake a cake for his Granny's birthday. Is it his fault he has a terrible cold and that pigs build inferior non-sneeze-resistant houses? How could you let a delicious ham dinner like that go to waste, after all?

Along the same lines and written by the same witty author (Jon Scieszka), The Stinky Cheese Man gives us an irreverent look at some of our favorite classic fairy tales. The Gingerbread Man is the Stinky Cheese Man, The Really Ugly Duckling just grows into a Really Ugly Duck, and Little Red Riding Shorts manages to outrun the wolf on the way to Grandma's. The book is a bit chaotic, but it's legitimately clever and witty, too.


Arthur Books


Marc Brown was clearly onto something when he created this lovable anthropomorphic eight-year old aardvark named Arthur. Populating Arthur's hometown of Elwood City are a host of other cuddly animal characters with varying socioeconomic backgrounds, leading me to find that yes, you can indeed be jealous of a fictional monkey. Darn you, Muffy, and your enviable rich-monkey lifestyle.


The Jolly Postman


Kids have pretty short attention spans, so an interactive book is always a major draw: it's like a combination book/game rolled into a neat little package. To be delivered by a postman. A jolly postman.

In The Jolly Postman, our hero postman maneuvers from one fairy tale house to another, delivering correspondences (an apology note from Golidlocks and the 3 bears), junk mail (an advertisement for "Hobgoblin Supplies, ltd."), and even threats of legal action (the case of the Wolf v. Miss Riding Hood.) The jolly postman stops for tea at each home, delivering letters that we as readers could physically open and read.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom


Learning the alphabet can be pretty boring, so imagine how relieved we were to find a book that turns dry and humorless letters into cute anthropomorphic characters. Our fearless letters climb the tree in orderly A-B-C succession, only to fall back down and sustain alphabetized injuries. Ouch.


Where the Wild Things Are


Monsters might seem like a scary, lurking under the bed prospect until we learn that in our imaginations we can just dance with them in a wild rumpus instead. Sounds like a decent solution to me. The back-story is possibly as entertaining as the tale itself: author Maurice Sendak had initially planned for the book to feature wild horses, but his publisher shunned Sendak's sub-par horse drawings. Sendak replaced the horses with caricatures of his Polish Jewish aunts and uncles: Aaron, Bernard, Emile, Moishe, and Tzippy. I imagine they were thrilled to find their likenesses titled "things."


Berenstain Bears


This friendly bear family has been teaching kids valuable life lessons for generations. I believe I read the Visit to the Dentist book at my own dentist's office at least twenty times, which helped assuage my fear of the infamous yankers while simultaneously teaching me about the untapped goldmine of cash at stake for my expendable baby teeth. Win-win.


Amelia Bedelia


What do you get when you combine a charming rhyming named housekeeper and a penchant for extreme literal interpretation of simple instructions? Pure children's book gold. Amelia Bedelia draws the drapes by trying her hand at sketching the curtains and prunes the hedges by sticking prunes in them. We learned the value of simple vocabulary and double meanings, plus I got some great ideas for how to make a mockery of my household chores,


Oh, The Places You'll Go!


Though it may have become a cliche gift for recent graduates, Dr. Seuss's final book is ultimately inspirational and sweet. The book details our protagonist's travel through uncharted territory, complete with setbacks and triumphs. So go ahead, give it to your graduating cousin or neighbor. He'll probably be able to start a collection with all of the copies he receives, but he may just learn a valuable lesson about endless possibilities.


The Rainbow Fish



This book seems pretty innocent with its message of sharing, so imagine my surprise in discovering it's taken some flack from critics for allegedly promoting a socialist agenda. It's a pretty preposterous accusation; it's enough to make you wish yourself back to a simpler time when you didn't know what things like "socialist agenda" even meant.


Stellaluna


Fruit bats are adorable and owls are evil? What kind of crazy mixed-up pre-Harry Potter owl love affair world is this? Stellaluna is separated from her mother and is raised with a nest full of baby birds, the mother of whom admonishes her for hanging upside down like, well, a bat. In case you were worried, she does eventually reunite with her mother, but the book has a bit of a melancholy feel through the whole "be true to yourself" message.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Post: Celebrating 20 Years of "Must See TV"

Greetings, Children of the ’90s! My name is Frank Anthony Polito and I’m the author of the recently-released novel Lost in the ’90s.
As you might imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ’90s lately. It’s hard to believe the decade that gave us Blossom, Beavis and Butt-head, and Blink-182 began over 20 years ago!

One of my favorite (and long forgotten) TV shows will actually turn 20 this coming August. How many of you Children of the ’90s remember the FOX drama The Heights featuring teen heart throb and singing sensation Jamie Walters -- who later appeared on Beverly Hills, 902010 as Ray Pruit?

The Heights focused on a fictional band called (what else?) “The Heights” and starred Walters as lead singer Alex O’Brien. The show also featured Charlotte Ross, then known for her Emmy nominated role as troubled teen 
Eve Donovan on Days of our Lives. Take a look at a scene from The Heights’ first episode:




While we’re on the topic of 20-year anniversaries... Here are a few other TV classics that also debuted in 1992. How many of these shows do you Children of the ’90s remember watching when you were growing up?

Barney & Friends - First airing on April 6, 1992, and featuring everybody’s favorite singing purple T-Rex. This show served as the babysitter to many a Child of the ’90s!


Goof Troop - Single father, Goofy, moves back to his hometown of Spoonerville with 11-year-old son, Max. The show premiered on April 20, 1992 on The Disney Channel and was adapted into a feature film A Goofy Movie in 1995.

Melrose Place - This steamy primetime soap centered around a group of 20-somethings living in the same West Hollywood apartment complex, and was recently revived (and soon-after canceled) by The CW. Episodes began airing on July 8, 1992.  

California Dreams - another show about a band, this multi-ethnic teen-oriented sitcom aired on Saturday mornings on NBC beginning on September 12, 1992. Check out the pilot episode below:


Hard to believe it’s been 20 years! Where has the time gone?

FRANK ANTHONY POLITO is an award-winning author and playwright. He received his BFA in Theatre from Wayne State University and his MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon. He grew up in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park and currently resides in Sunnyside, Queens, NY.

LOST IN THE ’90s tells the story of a teenage boy from 2012 who travels back in time to April 1994, on the eve of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. There, he meets his teenage parents and helps them fall in love so that he can born. (Think of it as a ’90s Back to the Future without Doc Brown or the DeLorean.) The book is chock-full of ’90s pop culture and musical references, including the #1 hit tune from November 1992, “How Do You Talk to an Angel” which plays an integral role in the plot.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Top 10 Vampire Movies from the 90s

Hey Children of the 90s! We are very excited that we have hit 3000 fans on Facebook. Thanks everyone for reading and for your support--y'all are all that and a bag of chips and the bomb dot com, all rolled into one. Remember--if you're interested in sharing your 90s content and reminisces, you can always pitch posts to us at childrenofthe90s@gmail.com. Today please enjoy this new guest post from author and vampire expert extraordinaire Vanessa Morgan!

The 90s were a pretty dry period for the vampire genre. With a few exceptions, major vampire movies were few and far between, and those that did make the multiplexes were fairly bloodless affairs. Although the vampire movies from the 90s did not have a real identity of their own, we saw new trends emerging: they marked a clear break from the commercial vampire movies from the 80s and paved the way for the stylish vampire action flicks that are common ground in the new millennium.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)


The now overly popular vampire series Buffy The Vampire Slayer started as this cheesy little teen flick with eighties influences. The basis of the film story is the same as the TV series: a teenage girl learns that she is her generation's destined battler of vampires. The cast contained many popular actors from that period, including Kirsty Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, David Arquette and Hillary Swank.


Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)



Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula is still one of the best vampire movies ever made thanks to its breathtaking photography, intriguing storyline, beguiling music and excellent performances from Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Tom Waits, Sadie Frost and Richard E. Grant.


Innocent Blood (1992)




Innocent Blood is a modern vampire tale that mixes crime with comedy, originality, intelligence and creepiness. Directed by John Landis.


Interview With The Vampire (1994)



Author Anne Rice not only made vampires popular in literature, but also in the movies thanks to the immensely popular adaptation of her novel Interview With The Vampire. It's one of the best vampire movies ever made and has not lost any of its beauty and power. With Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Neil Jordan.


The Addiction (1995)



Philosophical tale in black and white about a grad student turned vampire who tries to come to terms with her frequent craving for human blood. Director Abel Ferrari links the need for blood with the need for drugs, turning The Addiction into a well-made film that was so depressing that it marked the end for the serious and dark vampire stories. With Lily Taylor, Christopher Walken and Annabella Sciorra.


Dracula, Dead and Loving It (1995)


After several years of overly serious vampire movies, the world needed to laugh again with the undead and introduced several rather silly vampires movies such as Vampire In Brooklyn, Bordella Of Blood and Dracula, Dead And Loving It. The latter was a vampire spoof from the mind of Mel Brooks that made one big joke out of the genre.


Vampire In Brooklyn (1995)



Wes Craven's politically correct vampire comedy about a black vampire (Eddie Murphie) who's looking for a female mate, but it was a big box office hit nevertheless.


Bordello Of Blood (1996)



Bordello Of Blood was part of the series Tales From The Crypt and focuses on a funeral parlor that moonlights as a vampire bordello.


From Dusk Till Dawn (1997)



Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires. The vampire twist halfway through the story was so unexpected and well-done, that From Dusk Till Dawn was on everyone's lips (although it did help that Quentin Tarantino directed the movie). From Dusk Till Dawn was also the movie that introduced George Clooney to an audience of cinema goers.


Blade (1998)


With Blade, released in 1998, a new era in vampire movie cinema began. Thanks to Blade, vampires now combined action with superhero powers and big-budget special effects. This story about a half-vampire, half-mortal that became the protector of the mortal race while slaying evil vampires, not only had several sequels, but also several big-budget clones such as Underworld and Daybreakers.


About Vanessa Morgan

Screenwriter and novelist Vanessa Morgan is known as the 'female version of Stephen King'. You can find out more about Vanessa Morgan and her work by going to her personal blog http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com. If you like cats, you might also like the web comic about her cat Avalon at http://avalon-lion.blogspot.com.

Books by Vanessa Morgan:
A Good Man (screenplay)
The Strangers Outside (short story)
Drowned Sorrow (novel)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Guest Post: Typical 90s Saturdays

Happy Friday, 90s fans! I must apologize for the lack of recent posts--as usual, I have a slew of readily available but totally honest excuses: we moved to a new city, I started a new job, I had a lot of wedding thank you notes to finish. You've probably heard them all before...

Anywho, have no fear--new posts should be on the way. Speaking of which, we are taking submissions for guest entries! With the demands of a new job, my recent writing availability has been few and far between. Here's where you come in: if you have an idea for a Children of the 90s post, feel free to pitch it. Not in the typical baseball sense, of course--that might smash my laptop screen. I'm thinking more of a dynamic e-mail conversation that characterizes what we consider an exciting interaction here in the 21st century.

Who knows--your post might just end up on our front page. We welcome submissions and pitches at childrenofthe90s(at)gmail(dot)com. Bring 'em on!


And now, without further ado: in honor of the impending weekend, the following post from guest writer Natalie celebrates a typical Saturday in the life of a 90s child:

The 90s: The Typical Child's Saturday

Think back to the day you turned 12 years old. What did you see around you? The television is on and undoubtedly turned to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or maybe Rocko's Modern Life on Nickelodeon. Daniel Tosh wasn't even on the air yet, instead we had good old America's Funniest Home Videos to watch for hours on end.



It didn't just end with TV back in the 90s. Everything was different, everything was awesome. You could wake up to find great cartoons on first thing on a Saturday morning, have your favorite bowl of Fruity Pebbles and hop on your Super Nintendo or Sega for a morning of fun.

Maybe afterward you would gather your Beanie Babies (which at the time we all thought would one day be worth millions, but still aren't worth a thing) together with your price book and dream with the neighbor kid how rich you would be when you turned 16 and these things paid out.


After business was conducted for the day, it was time for lunch. Back then, we got our favorite toys at McDonalds. Guys got the action figures and girls go the dolls. Most importantly, they all had small and dangerous parts. We all survived one way or another. If we were lucky, Good Burger was on just as we returned from lunch. Could it get any better?



Afternoon

As the day started to roll away, it was time for a snack. Whether it was a Fruit by the Foot, a Fruit Roll-Up, or Gushers, every kid always had a favorite fruit snack. Everybody also knew that one kid at school whose family wouldn't buy the "cool" snacks, so we were always happy to throw him a couple Gushers or split off a piece of the Fruit Roll-Up. Once in a while, somebody would show up with a fancy GoGurt at school. But, hey- let's not get school involved on our ultimate Saturday afternoon.



One thing that no 90s kid will ever forget about Saturday's is Pokémon. Whether trading the cards and pretending to actually know how to play the game, watching it on TV or firing up the good old black and white Game Boy,Pokémon was a part of our everyday lives. The cards could almost be used as a currency, traded away for whatever you may want to make your afternoon perfect.

Evening

If you were lucky growing up, you almost always you had a friend sleep over or you were staying somewhere else other than your house on a Saturday night. With shows like Ahh! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberry's, Hey! Arnold and Doug on SNICK, how could you possibly go wrong?

Not to mention all thetalking babies (think Rugrats) and animals we all had a thing for. If you were lucky, it was already nine o'clock and your young self was getting tired. Your friends would turn the TV volume all the way down and it was on. Whether Jet Force Gemini, Donkey Kong64 or any other game, it didn't matter. After an hour or so of intense gaming you'd find yourself drifting off... Then only to awake, 15 years later and to realize it was all a dream.

Don't you wish you could go back?

-----

Natalie Wilkins has been a professional writer and researcher for the last five years. Throughout this time she has worked for many weird and wonderful companies including an organic Tempurpedic mattress retailer and an elephant orphanage. The wide range of opportunities available is exactly why she loves her job.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Ode to Technology: Then and Now

A note to readers: Yes, it’s me, your as of late not-so-faithful Children of the 90s blogger. That is to say, the original eleven herbs and spices blogger, not one in many of the parade of worthy guest bloggers I’ve brought to you over the last few months. Now that I’m married and back from my honeymoon, my litany of excuses to put off blogging are dwindling quickly, especially with the long list of blog ideas I’ve yet to tackle. Don’t call it a comeback, of course, but hey: it’s an effort.



It can be hard to pretend you're still young and hip when so many of your technology reminiscences to anyone more than five years younger than you begin with a crotchety " When I was your age, we didn't have this newfangled (insert new and overly complicated mode of communication here.)" Who would have guessed that within a span of ten or fifteen years, the face of technology and human interaction could be rendered nearly unrecognizable from the simple telephone and instant messenger relations of our youth?

I freely admit I have found myself in multiple scenarios during which interacting with a friend in person has quickly devolved into showing off our respective front facing cell phone cameras to engage in simulated FaceTime. Never mind the fact that we are physically face to face in the same room. Because look how cool it is when we can video chat in tandem after only thirteen minutes and four failed network connection attempts! Now isn't that more interesting than plain old lower case face time?

While we're doling out the elderly style complaints (someone be a dear and bring me an afghan, wont you?) don't even get me started on hashtags. Why exactly does putting what I still think of as the number sign (or alternatively, the most boring button on my phone) in front of awholebunchofwordswithoutspaceslikethis suddenly constitute an astute sampling of social commentary? #imgettingtoooldforthiscrap

Call me a hypocrite for writing this on the Internet (and you probably should, especially since I'm typing it using my brand-spanking new Kindle Fire, albeit with lots of touchscreen misfire typos) but I just can't get behind changing my entire concept of communication and entertainment every time a new piece of technology is released.

Back in our day (and you legally need to be at least 22 to use that phrase, for future complaining reference) most technology existed to serve a single purpose. Even when I was in high school, it was largely unfathomable that someday you might be able to carry around some futuristic hybrid of your phone/camera/computer/calendar/book collecition/music player in your pocket. Barring, of course, the chance that you possessed a great deal of duct tape and/or some very large pockets.

Though there exist endless examples of fast-paced technological change from our simple 90s childhoods to the present day bonanza of ever-changing available devices, here are a few of my favorites that keep me feeling good and old at the ripe old age of 26.


Cell Phones: Then and Now

Then:


Now
:

As any dutiful Saved by the Bell fan will attest, the quintessential “first realization of the existence of cell phones” moment came while ogling Zack Morris as he chatted on what looked like the indestructible little black box from an airplane crash scene. It was essentially a large plastic brick with a keypad and a huge antenna that veered dangerously into rabbit-ear territory and we all coveted it shamelessly.

Enter today, when our cell phones are about one-tenth the size with a thousand times the capability. Most of us have been out to dinner with friends or at some other in-person social gathering when you realize that every single person has whipped out their smartphone, creating a unique situation of socializing by proximity while simultaneously isolating ourselves into the self-created vortex of personal technology. Now that’s what I call a party!

Computers: Then and Now

Then:


Now:


It’s hard for me even to admit this sometimes for fear of sounding astoundingly middle-aged, but the first computer my family owned actually had a black-and-green-only screen. That’s right, pixelated screen colors hadn’t even broken onto the computer technology scene when I was playing Space Invaders on my Apple II. That’s how primitive our technology was. Scary, I know.

When laptops first debuted, it was hard to imagine computers could get any smaller. “But it can fit on my lap! Surely you can’t shrink it smaller than standard lap-size, adjusted for level of obesity!” But oh, they can. This mysterious “they” has morphed the oversized desktop into a cutely portable iPad or other knock-off tablet. Mark my words, someday we’ll be computing on pieces of looseleaf paper. That’s how thin these things are going to get (end prophecy transmission).

Data Storage: Then and Now

Then:


Now:


I remember looking at an oversized floppy disk and thinking, “but how did my ClarisWorks file get on you?” My understanding of data storage hasn’t increased, but my fascination with how small or even non-physical we can make it certainly has. Now we’ve got the ominously named “Cloud”, which conveniently stores all of my files in some remote online lair. It’s not perfect, of course. Any disruption of wireless internet means all of my files are dead to me until it’s restored. Damn you, Cloud, and your connectivity loopholes for holding my treasured Pinterest repins temporarily hostage!

Cameras: Then and Now

Then:


Now:


Remember film? If not, you should probably be reading some younger, cooler blog. Go ahead, I’ll give you some time to find something more hipsterish. Try looking for something wearing ironic black frames pseudo-intellectual glasses with clear lenses. That should be your first tip-off.
Are they all gone? Okay, good, now we can get down to business and recollect some things those kids have probably never even heard of. Seriously, some of them have never even seen a roll of film. They don’t even get what the film pictogram means on the sign that indicates what items should not go through the x-ray scanner at airport security.

Perhaps you remember when it was fascinating to think a photo lab had the capability to process your negatives into full-blown prints in just one hour. It seemed like such a breakthrough. If you can try to remember far enough back to the first time you saw a digital camera, perhaps you can recall just how amazed you were that the picture you just took was already visible on a tiny low-res screen. That was some crazy stuff. These days, we can take pictures with just about anything with an on-off switch, but back in the day, we used to actually wait for pictures to be developed to discover if they were flattering. Perish the thought.

Music Players: Then and Now

Then:


Now:


Boomboxes and Walkmans. Those words probably sound like no more than nonsensical gibberish to today’s children, whose music players are roughly the size of my pinky toe. I still remember upgrading from a cassette playing Walkman to a CD-playing Discman. At the time, I was almost certain that no, it just could not get any cooler than this.
Even in college, I still had a cassette tape adapter for my car that physically plugged into my external Discman to play burned mix CDs. It all seems so primitive now, considering every song I own is now available at the touch of a button on my phone. How are kids these days supposed to understand the significance of the gift of a good, heartfelt mix tape or CD? How, I ask you?

Books: Then and Now

Then:


Now:


Okay, I’ll just come out and say it. I’ve switched over to the dark side. I swore that books and I would never end our torrid ongoing love affair, but then my husband bought me a Kindle and I felt like a such a guilty two-timer. I tried to keep seeing books on the side, but they just didn’t have the same spark. Literally. They have no battery component. Bummer. I’m sorry, I promise I feel repentant. It’s just that now when I move to a new house, my book collection weighs one pound instead of 350 divided into 42 boxes. No offense, books, but that sounds like kind of a better deal, at least back-pain wise.

During what I assume was our respective period of childhood (since you’ve self-identified as a child of the 90s by virtue of arriving at this blog), a book was a tangible object and could be acquired at a bookstore or public library. Or a private library, I suppose, but I guess I never got invited to any of those. Of course, I don’t know two many eight-year olds with their own e-readers, so I suppose the Goosebumps franchise may still live to see another gory day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

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

By Maribeth Curley of HalloweenCostumes.com, 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.



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