The Baby-sitters Club
The Baby-sitters Club (BSC) is a series of novels written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic between 1986 and 2000, that sold 170 million copies. Many of the novels were ghostwritten, including 43 by Peter Lerangis. However, Ann M. Martin wrote the first 35 novels.
The series is about a group of middle school students living in the fictional town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut. They run a business called the Baby-sitters Club that helps parents find babysitters from the club who are available for jobs by calling during their club meetings. The club starts out with four members Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill, eventually expanding to ten. Most of the main characters are thirteen years old. When the club was founded (1986), the four members were in the seventh grade, but ten novels later (1988), they are promoted to the eighth grade. From there, they are frozen in time until the very end of the series (2000), in which they graduate from middle school.
As of December 31, 2009[update], the Baby-sitters Club series was out of print. However, in April 2010 the series was re-released with updated versions of certain volumes of the original series, as well as a newly written prequel.
- 1 History of the series
- 2 Structure of the novels
- 3 Main characters
- 4 Stoneybrook
- 5 Novels
- 6 Spin-offs
- 7 TV series
- 8 Movie
- 9 References
- 10 External links
History of the series
The idea for The Baby-sitters Club series originated with Jean Feiwel, an editor at Scholastic who saw the popularity of a novel called Ginny's Babysitting Job and realized there was a market for novels about babysitting. She contacted Ann M. Martin, who took the general idea of a babysitter's club, and created the characters, plots, and settings for the series. It was initially planned as a four-book series, but after the first four novels were moderately successful, Scholastic ordered two more, followed by twelve more as the series grew in popularity. By the time the sixth novel was published, the first printing was up to 100,000 copies. When publishing ceased in 2000, there had been 213 novels published in the series. Of these, Martin estimates she herself wrote from 60 to 80 of the novels.
Structure of the novels
With the exception of Super Specials and Super Mysteries, the novels are written and narrated from one character's point of view. The novels generally follow this format:
- Chapter 1: Introduction to self; Beginning of plot (sometimes describing club and members, too)
- Chapter 2: Description of club and members.
- Chapter 3-15: Continuation of plot and conclusion, usually accompanied with a subplot on the side.
- Club position: President
- Appearance: longish brown hair usually worn in a ponytail, brown eyes and usual clothing is jeans, a turtleneck, a sweater, and sneakers
- Birthday: August 20
Kristy is known for her great ideas, as well as her bossiness and a big mouth that can occasionally get her in trouble. The idea for the Baby-sitters Club came to Kristy when her mother was having trouble finding a babysitter for her younger brother David Michael. She felt sorry for David Michael, as well as her mother. In a "flash", as she calls it, Kristy had her "great idea" (the first ever book of the series is called 'Kristy's Great Idea') to form the Baby-sitters Club. Kristy formed the club with herself, Claudia, her best friend Mary Anne, and Stacey as founding members. As a 'tomboy', Kristy usually wears jeans and a t-shirt (in the winter, a turtleneck and, if needed, a sweater), sneakers, and sometimes a baseball cap with a collie on it, in memory of the family dog, Louie, who was put to sleep in book #11, Kristy and the Snobs. She loves sports, and even coaches a softball team for small children called Kristy's Krushers, which includes many of the club's sitting charges. Kristy comes from a large family, composed of her mom; her stepfather, Watson (her biological father walked out of her family when Kristy was about six); her two older brothers, Charlie and Sam; her little brother, David Michael; her stepbrother and stepsister, Andrew and Karen; her grandmother, Nannie; and her sister adopted from Vietnam, Emily Michelle. The family's pets include Shannon (David Michael's puppy), Boo-Boo, a mean old fat cat, and a couple of goldfish. Kristy's favorite sitting charges are Karen and Jackie Rodowsky.
- Club position: Vice President
- Appearance: Japanese, long jet black hair, almond shaped dark brown eyes, flawless skin, wild fashion sense
- Birthday: July 11
Claudia is Japanese-American. She is extremely creative in both her artwork and her funky wardrobe. She is 13 years old. She is the vice president because she has her own phone in her room, and she takes after-hours calls. She is best described as creative, talented, a little smart, outrageous, sophisticated, and trendy. Even though she has an above-average IQ, she is not a very good student. She is only good at one class in school, which is art. Claudia loves to draw, paint, sculpt, make jewelry, and sketch. She is addicted to junk food and loves to read Nancy Drew Mysteries. Claudia hides her Nancy Drew mysteries and her candy around her room because her parents do not approve of them. She hates health food. Despite her diet, she maintains a good figure and clear skin. Claudia's mother is a librarian and her dad is a banker. She has one older sister, Janine, who is a genius. She takes college level courses, even though she herself is only in high school (age 15). Claudia has an aunt named Peaches (her real name is Miyoshi), whose husband is called Ross, and a niece named Lynn, which is Claudia's middle name. Claudia feels no one in her family understands her, except for her grandmother, Mimi, who dies in book #26, Claudia and the Sad Good-bye. Claudia's best friend is Stacey McGill and her favorite sitting charge is Jamie Newton.
Mary Anne Spier
- Club position: Secretary
- Appearance: Long brown hair worn in braided pigtails until book #4, Mary Anne Saves the Day (she cuts it short in book #60, Mary Anne's Makeover), brown eyes, wears reading glasses
- Birthday: September 22
Mary Anne is the Baby-sitters Club secretary due to her exceptional organization skills and neat handwriting. She and Kristy, her best friend, initially looked similar (but had very different personalities) until Mary Anne cut her hair and began wearing a little makeup in book #60, Mary Anne's Makeover. She also vowed never to get her ears pierced due to being traumatized by almost having her ears pierced by a fellow camper at Camp Mohawk. Author Ann M. Martin said that she based the character of Mary Anne on herself. Mary Anne and Kristy have been best friends since childhood and were neighbors until Kristy's mother married Watson Brewer. Her mother died from cancer when Mary Anne was a baby, and her father Richard (who is a lawyer) was very overprotective until he married Sharon Schafer (Dawn Schafer's mother) and loosened up. She is very sensitive, very shy, is a good listener, and does not like being the center of attention. In, Mary Anne starts going out with Logan Bruno (who looks like her favorite star, the fictional Cam Geary), and is the first member who has a steady boyfriend. Mary Anne has a stepsister Dawn, stepbrother, Jeff, and a kitten named Tigger. She is good at sewing and loves her grandmother. In Mary Anne And The Secret In The Attic she discovered that she lived with her grandmother and grandfather before her father raised her on his own. In, Dawn moved back to California with Jeff, leaving Mary Anne the only child again, just like Stacey McGill. Mary Anne loves to sew, knit, and read. Mary Anne's favorite sitting charge is Jenny, the spoiled child.
- Club position: Treasurer #1-13, #28-83 & #88-end
- Appearance: blond hair usually curled into a perm, large blue eyes, tall and lean, stylish & fashion forward
- Birthday: April 3
A native New Yorker, Stacey moved to Stoneybrook in the seventh grade when her dad's job transferred him. She quickly became friends with Claudia because of their shared love for fashion and boys (a notable crush is Sam Thomas, one of Kristy's older brothers). They are known to be the best dressers at Stoneybrook Middle School (Stacey is the more sophisticated dresser, while Claudia is more creative and original). Stacey has diabetes, and has been hospitalized several times as a result; in book #1, Kristy's Great Idea, she tried to hide this from the others because her classmates in New York teased her because of it, but she eventually told them. Stacey is the club's treasurer because she is gifted in math and has a logical mind. She eventually joins the Stoneybrook Middle School Mathlete Club. Stacey leaves Stoneybrook when her father is transferred back to New York City  but returns after her parents divorce. She later leaves the club for a short time after she starts dating Robert Brewster and chooses him over the club. But later she returns to the club after she has an unpleasant experience with some girls who pretended to be her friends and she understands who her real friends are. Stacey is an only child, is very sophisicated and trendy and her favorite sitting charge is Charlotte Johanssen. Stacey also has a best friend in New York named Laine and dots her Is with hearts.
- Club position: Alternate Officer #5-13, #28-67, #82-83 & #88, Treasurer #14-27 & #84-87, Honorary member #68-81 & #89-end
- Appearance: Long pale, pale blond hair, light blue eyes, California casual style
- Birthday: February 5 (wishes she was born on Earth Day said in movie)
Dawn grew up in Palo City, California, a suburb of Anaheim, until her parents' divorce. Dawn moved with her younger brother Jeff and her mother across the country to Stoneybrook, Connecticut, where her mother, Sharon, grew up. Jeff had a lot of trouble adjusting to the move (although he did make and stay friends with the Pike triplets throughout the series), and soon returned to California to live with their father and stepmother, Carol. Dawn is a vegetarian, addicted to health food (she can't stand sugary snacks), a real individual and is interested in environmentalism. She joins Stoneybrook Middle School in the middle of the seventh grade, when the Baby-sitters Club members were having a fight. She met Mary Anne and they instantly bonded. Kristy, as Mary Anne's best friend, is initially jealous, but gets over it and invites Dawn to become the fifth member of the club once the fight between the club members ends. In book #88 Farewell, Dawn, she moves back to California, but later returns to Stoneybrook. Dawn's favorite sitting charges are Buddy, Suzi and Marnie Barrett.
- Club position: Junior Officer #14-69 & #75-125, Honorary member #70-74 & #126-end
- Appearance: Curly reddish brown hair, brown eyes, wears clear braces and glasses
- Birthday: May 2
At age eleven, Mallory is the oldest of eight children: Claire, age five; Margo, age seven; Nicky, age eight; Vanessa, age nine; and the identical triplets, Adam, Byron, and Jordan, age ten. Mallory feels as though her parents treat her like a baby, and although she was allowed to get her ears pierced in book #21 Mallory and the Trouble with Twins, she still feels self-conscious about her glasses and braces. She loves drawing, writing, and reading and hopes to become a children's book author and illustrator. Her family has a pet hamster named Frodo and a dog named Pow adopted from the Barrett family. Her best friend is Jessi Ramsey, who shares her interest in books, especially horse stories. Mallory's favorite sitting charges are her brothers and sisters.
- Club position: Junior Officer
- Appearance: African-American, black hair usually pulled into a bun, brown eyes, long legs
- Birthday: June 30 (said in Hello, Mallory #14 she has the same birthday as her cousin)
Jessi moved to Stoneybrook from Oakley, New Jersey, at the beginning of the sixth grade, into Stacey's old house. She has an eight-year-old sister called Rebecca or "Becca," and a baby brother named John Phillip Ramsey Jr., whose nickname is "Squirt." When Jessi and her family first moved to Stoneybrook, some people were racist toward them because they were black, but this improved toward the end of the first novel featuring Jessi, which was book #14, Hello, Mallory. In book #36, Jessi's Baby-sitter, Jessi's Aunt Cecelia moves into Jessi's house. Jessi calls her "Aunt Dictator" and at first hates her, but at the end of the novel they become friends and she is part of the family for the rest of the series. Jessi learns American sign language in book #16, Jessi's Secret Language, when she babysits for Haley and Matt Braddock, because Matt Braddock is deaf. Jessi is a talented ballet dancer and has performed the lead role for many ballets and attend ballet class with Madame Noelle, her ballet teacher. Jessi's best friend is Mallory Pike, who shares her interest in books, especially horse stories. Jessi's favorite sitting charges are Haley and Matt Braddock.
- Club position: Alternate Officer #90-98 & #100-end
- Appearance: Long curly brown hair, brown eyes
- Birthday: October 15
Abby first appeared in book #89, Kristy and the Dirty Diapers. Shortly after Dawn moves back to California to live with her father, Abby moves to Stoneybrook from Long Island with her mother and twin sister, Anna. Her father died in a car accident when she was nine years old, which was part of the reason for the move. Abby still misses him, and does not like to talk about him. Abby and her family move into their house on McLelland Road, and spend the first night in the neighborhood sleeping over at Kristy's. Abby has asthma and carries inhalers. She is described as being allergic 'to life'. Her known allergies are shellfish, kitty litter (but not cats), dust, pollen, and eggs. Abby is described as wild, funny, and is good athlete like Kristy. Abby and Kristy have similar competitive personalities and sometimes clash. Anna is quieter than Abby, is a phenomenal violinist who practices four hours a day, and she hates sports. They are Jewish. The BSC invited both Abby and Anna to join the club. Anna refused, because of her music studies, but Abby takes Dawn's place as alternate officer.
- Club position: Associate member
- Appearance: brownish blond hair, blue eyes, looks strikingly similar to fictional teen heartthrob Cam Geary
Logan moved from Louisville, Kentucky, before eighth grade. He first appears in book #10, Logan Likes Mary Anne!. He has a southern accent, he participates in many sports, including baseball and track, and works as a busboy at the Rosebud Café. He was Mary Anne's boyfriend for the majority of the series. He also was an associate member of the club, which is a member who is not required to come to meetings (though he did attend meetings on occasion), but takes jobs when no regular member is available. Logan lives with his mother Louise, father Lyman, sister Kerry, and brother Hunter.
- Club position: Associate member, Alternate Officer #68-81
- Appearance: Blonde hair, blue eyes, pretty, high cheekbones
Shannon is an overachiever who is involved in many extracurricular activities, and is the only member who doesn't attend Stoneybrook Middle School; she instead goes to Stoneybrook Day School, a private school. She first appears in #11 Kristy and the Snobs. She has two sisters, Tiffany and Maria, and is Kristy's first friend in her new neighborhood, although the two did not initially get along. After the death of Kristy's beloved collie Louie, Shannon gave Kristy one of her Bernese Mountain Dog Astrid's puppies, which Kristy's brother David Michael named after Shannon.
Stoneybrook is a fictional suburban town in the state of Connecticut. It is the hometown of many of the characters in both The Baby-sitters Club series and the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series as well. The real life hamlet of Stony Brook, New York is on the north shore of Long Island, just across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut.
The town is assumed to be near Stamford, Connecticut. Several adults in the town commute to Stamford, and Jessi Ramsey takes her ballet classes there. They also often go shopping there.
Early in the series, new Baby-sitters Club clients move to town, such as Myriah, Gabbie, and Laura Perkins.
Stoneybrook's public schools include Stoneybrook Elementary, Stoneybrook Middle School, Kelsey Middle School, and Stoneybrook High. Private schools include Stoneybrook Academy (which Karen Brewer and several other charges attended) and Stoneybrook Day School, which is where associate member Shannon Kilbourne attends.
Karen Brewer's father and Kristy Thomas's stepfather Watson Brewer owns a mansion in an upscale subdivision of Stoneybrook. The families of Hannie Papadakis, Amanda and Max Delaney, and Shannon Kilbourne, among others, also live there.
Karen Brewer's mother and stepfather Seth reside in a regular middle-class neighborhood, in which the family of Nancy Dawes also resides. The majority of the members of the Baby-sitter's Club also live in a middle-class neighborhood. Mallory and Stacey live behind each other (their backyards touch). Bradford Court, where Claudia lives (and at the beginning of the series, Mary Anne and Kristy live there too), is within walking distance of almost all of their houses and of Stoneybrook Middle School. After Mary Anne's father Richard marries Dawn's mother Sharon, they move into Sharon and Dawn's house, which is on Burnt Hill Road.
Super Specials and Readers' Requests
- Super Specials: Super Specials were an extended version of the regular series, with several members of the Baby-sitters Club (plus at times, their friends and/or sitting charges) narrating (chapter-by-chapter changes of narrators). Super Specials centered on a larger-scale plot, usually with at least three subplots. For example, in The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #7, Snowbound, some members of the Baby-sitters Club are babysitting when a snowstorm hits Stoneybrook and the larger area, and the others are spread out. Dawn is stuck at the airport waiting for Jeff with her mother, and Kristy is stuck at home with Bart. The members narrate their experiences and usually, the next chapter would bring on an entirely different plot or an extension of the previous chapter, only with a different narrator.
- Readers' Requests: These were special novels featuring associate members Logan and Shannon, and their personal lives away from the Baby-sitters Club.
Mysteries and Super Mysteries
- Mysteries: These resemble the style of the regular novels (single narrator), only the plot of the novel mainly focuses on solving a mystery, with a small subplot.
- Super Mysteries: These resembled the style of the Super Specials, with multiple narrators, only the plot of the novel was mainly focused on solving a mystery, with a few small subplots.
Portrait Collections (1994–1997)
- Portrait Collections: These are autobiographies of the Baby-sitters Club members (Stacey, Claudia, Dawn, Mary Anne, Kristy, and Abby). Mallory and Jessi were not included because the autobiographies were an eighth grade project only.
Baby-sitters Club: Friends Forever (1999–2000)
- Baby-sitters Club Friends Forever: These novels are an extension of the original series, which focused on the original four members (Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey). They were set following the fire at Mary Anne's house, which drastically impacted the lives of the Baby-sitters Club members, and concluded with a final Super Special detailing the girls' graduation from Stoneybrook Middle School. The series contained twelve novels and two Super Specials, and was considered a spin-off.
Baby-sitters Club: Reissue and the Summer Before
- In 2010, Scholastic Inc. re-released the first two volumes of The Baby-sitters Club novels in an attempt to revive the series for a new generation of readers. Ann M. Martin also published a prequel to her series, called The Summer Before. It depicted the lives of the four main characters the summer before the school year began.
The summer before is about how the four girls met. Kristy's mom, Elizabeth, just met a man named Watson and he is now her boyfriend. Kristy hates him and is trying to get used to him. Mary Anne's father is not letting her dress or wear her hair how she wants, and is not even allowed to wear nail polish. She wishes to stop being treated like a little girl. Claudia is "growing up faster" than Kristy and Mary Anne. She now likes boys and makeup, and even has a first love with a boy a little older than her.
Baby-Sitters Little Sister
The Baby-Sitters Little Sister novels were a series of novels for younger readers. It centered on Karen Brewer, the seven-year-old stepsister of Baby-sitters Club president Kristy Thomas. One hundred and twenty-two Baby-Sitters Little Sister novels and six Baby-Sitters Little Sister Super Special novels were published. The series ran from 1988 to 2000.
The Kids in Ms. Colman's Class
The Kids in Ms. Colman's Class series was a spin-off of the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series and covered Karen Brewer's second grade classmates at Stoneybrook Academy, and their adventures in Ms. Colman's classroom. Twelve novels were published. The series ran from 1995 to 1998. The titles are Teacher's Pet, Author Day, Class Play, Second Grade Baby, The Snow War, Twin Trouble, Science Fair, Summer School, Halloween Parade, Holiday Time, Spelling Bee, and Baby Animal Zoo.
The California Diaries series centered on Dawn Schafer and her friends after her return to California, and targeted a slightly older audience, with a darker feel. Fifteen novels were published focusing on the characters Dawn, Ducky, Amalia, Maggie, and Sunny. Examples of subjects dealt with are anorexia, sexual orientation, and racism, along with the characters' personal problems and family disputes.
In 2006, Graphix, a division of Scholastic, released a graphic novel version of the first Baby-sitters Club novel, Kristy's Great Idea. The novel is a contemporary yet faithful adaptation illustrated by Raina Telgemeier, an Eisner Award-winning cartoonist. The series continued with the release of The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and concluded with Claudia and Mean Janine. Currently, there are no other graphic novels in the series set to be published.
A movie based on The Baby-sitters Club novels was released in 1995 which starred Schuyler Fisk, Rachael Leigh Cook, Larisa Oleynik, Bre Blair, Tricia Joe, Zelda Harris, and Stacy Linn Ramsower. The film's stories included stories adapted from Kristy's book "My Real Father" where Kristy's father comes back to town and she is forced to keep this a secret.
- Motoko Rich (December 31, 2009). "Comeback Planned for Girls' Book Series". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
- The Harvard Crimson :: Magazine :: Peter + Baby-Sitters Club = ?
- Sally Lodge (January 7, 2010). "The Baby-sitters Club to Reconvene". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- "In Which We Copy It Down In Their Handwriting". This Recording. August 8, 2012.
- The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #2, Summer Vacation
- book #10, Logan Likes Mary Anne!
- book #88, Farewell, Dawn
- Book #105, Stacey The Math Whiz
- Book #13, Goodbye, Stacey, Goodbye
- Book #28, Welcome Back, Stacey!
- Book #83, Stacey vs. the BSC
- 'Stacey and the Bad Girls'