The Baby-Sitters Club. I spent many and many an hour and coin on these books when I was young. Even when I was seeking more adult fare (NO, not like that). In our tiny elementary school, we traded these books back and forth like kids of an earlier generation traded baseball cards.
I started wondering if these books are totally ridiculous now from my early-thirties standpoint, so I thought I would take a look, and of course, share with you, reader. Let’s go!
Kristy’s Great Idea is the very first in the original series. Published in 1986, they printed a new edition in 2010. Instead of featuring the girls on the cover, like they used to, this cover is a spiral notebook and a pencil. LAME. I suppose the original cover was too dated to reprint today; I do recall some of the awful clothing descriptions, especially from Claudia’s and Stacey’s closets.
Chapter 1. Kristy narrates the first one for us and tells us that the Baby-Sitters Club was totally her idea. Yes, no one else ever thought of an agency to watch kids before you; let us all bow down before the great Kristy Thomas.
Kristy is in seventh grade, which makes her . . . thirteen? I’m not sure that’s really old enough for that type of responsibility. I was fairly level-headed at that age, and I still only watched my brother, who is four years my junior, for very brief intervals at that time. Anyway. Kristy tells us that it’s very hot in her social studies class, so her teacher let them take ten minutes to make paper fans. I don’t remember if any teacher ever gave us a break like that when I was in seventh grade, but it certainly wouldn’t fly now!
So, Kristy is bored, and when is class is over, cheers too loudly and gets in trouble with her teacher. The teacher tells her that she needs to learn about decorum, the meaning of which Kristy has no idea; oh well, she better learn because now she has to write a hundred words about it!!
Kristy meets MaryAnne outside the classroom; MA is biting her nails. Kristy asks her about nail polish, and I thought Kristy was a tomboy? So why would she care? Anyway, I think it’s just a vehicle to let MA reply so that we get Kristy in VoiceOver mode telling us that MA’s father is super-strict. MA is not allowed to wear her hair down, only in braids, which makes me think of pedophiles.
Then Kristy runs home to watch her younger brother, David Michael. He’s crying because he is locked out of the house and he has to use the bathroom. So, Kristy saves the day by unlocking the door and making lemonade from a mix; she tells us she’s good with children. How about you microwave some hot dogs, too?
Kristy is so popular, she had to turn down a paying gig so she could watch her brother. Mrs. Newton didn’t call MA, either, so maybe she called Claudia, who is also Kristy’s neighbor (how convenient). Kristy VOs that Claudia doesn’t spend as much time with them as Kristy and MA do with each other, because she likes art, and mystery stories, and stuff. So Kristy feels she’s been drifting apart from the rest of them. Because now she’s into BOYS. Icky.
MA and Kristy have a flashlight code they use after nine pm to talk to each other, because, of course, MA is not allowed on the phone. I don’t remember if this flashlight code was ever fully explained. Is it like Morse code? Or letter tracing? Or what?
So, then Kristy’s mom brings home a pizza, which apparently, she only does when she wants something. She needs one of the kids to watch David Michael, but they are all busy, and so is pretty much everyone else. Which leads to . . . Kristy’s Great Idea. Which is that, pizza is tasty. The end. No, I wish. Her idea is SO great that she almost chokes on her pizza. Whoa, there, whipsmart, it’s not THAT fabulous.