To say I was an avid reader of the Baby-Sitter’s Club books would be an understatement. I was flat-out obsessed, and couldn’t get enough of the series. I would have to say I read about 150 of the 213 books, until I eventually grew out of them. I loved everything about the series, the characters, the situations they dealt with, and the trips they went on. My favorites were the Super Specials, which were longer and had very exciting plots in my pre-teen opinion. The books went out of print, but they were widely popular, selling 176 million copies between 1986-2000. In April, Scholastic decided they wanted to reprint the first 4 of the series, with updated lingo and references to technology. Additionally, a brand new prequel was written, The Summer Before, with the intention to introduce these books to a new generation of readers.
The purpose of this book is to show the reader’s what happened the summer before 7th grade, and what events led up to Kristy’s great idea of the Baby-Sitter’s Club. Each chapter switches from the four original main character’s point of views: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey. All of them have different challenges they are trying to overcome, and Kristy and Mary Anne increasingly feel they are growing apart from Claudia.
As usual, Ann M. Martin hit this one on the nail. Reading this book as an adult is very different than reading as a child, and I was able to appreciate the authenticity of the characters and their individual situations in a way that I could not recognize before. Martin addresses a number of issues that pre-teens face so eloquently. As a teacher, I could relate to the obstacles these girls faced throughout the book. If you were ever a Baby-Sitter’s Club fan you will not be disappointed! Here’s to hoping the re-releases of the first four in the series is successful!