The Baby-sitters Club Series, by Ann M. Martin, is about a group of middle school girls in the fictional New England town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut, and their adventures in baby-sitting, school, and friendship. This wildly successful series and its spin-offs are still popular among fans who love reading about this group of close friends.
Ann M. Martin’s Great Idea
Ann M. Martin’s editor approached her with the idea of a series of books about girls in a baby-sitters club, and Martin developed it into one of the most popular and successful girls book series, published by Scholastic from 1986–2000. The basic premise of the club is simple: A group of girls get together three times a week and parents can call and be guaranteed an available baby-sitter. The books are about the club members, their baby-sitting, and the problems and adventures they have together.
Baby-sitters Club Books and Baby-sitters Club Spin-offs
The books are written in first person and alternate among the girls. Each book is fifteen chapters, alternating between the A-plot, usually involving the main girl learning some life lesson, and the B-plot, usually involving a difficult baby-sitting job.
Part of the success of the books is their sheer number. Including the Baby-sitters Club spin-off series, there are over 300 books that addicted fans gobbled up. The main series (131 books) was spun off into Super Specials (15); Mysteries (36); Super Mysteries (4); the Portrait Collection, books centering around each of the eighth-grade members (6); and the Reader’s Request books that focused on the two associate club members (3). After the main series wrapped up, the four founding members of the club got one last eighth-grade year in the Friends Forever series (14).
After Dawn moved back to California, her story was continued with the California Diaries (15). Kristy’s little sister Karen got her own series with Baby-sitters Little Sister (122), Baby-sitters Little Sister Specials (6), and the Kids in Ms. Colman’s Class Series (12). There are also guides and trivia books.
It would have been impossible for Ann M. Martin to write all of these books. Once the spin-offs were developed, fans could count on at least two new books a month. So many of the later books were written by ghostwriters, but Martin always kept creative control, coming up with each plot and writing a detailed outline for each book.
Baby-sitters Club Members
The Baby-sitters Club books are wildly successful mostly because of their characters. The club consists of six thirteen-year-old eighth-graders and two eleven-year-old sixth-graders. It’s always comforting to read about a group of close-knit girls who support each other and have adventures together, and the girls have enough diversity that any reader can find at least one girl to relate to or want to be like:
- Kristy Thomas (president)—A natural-born leader, the club was her idea. She likes sports.
- Claudia Kishi (vice-president)—The club meets in her room. She does badly in school, but makes up for it by being a gifted artist, particularly with her choice in clothes.
- Mary Anne Spier (secretary)—The shy, organized one. She’s sensitive and the only club member to have a steady boyfriend.
- Stacey McGill (treasurer)—This sophisticated New Yorker is good at math and has diabetes.
- Dawn Schafer (alternate officer)—This vegetarian environmentalist misses her home in California and eventually moves back.
- Mallory Pike (junior member)—A younger club member, she comes from a big family and wants to be a writer.
- Jessi Ramsey (junior member)—The other younger club member, she is a gifted dancer.
- Abby Stevenson (alternate officer)—This new girl was brought in to replace Dawn. She has an identical twin and plays sports.
There are also two associate members: Logan Bruno, Mary-Anne’s boyfriend, and Shannon Kilbourne, a rich over-achiever.
The Continuing Popularity of the Baby-sitters Club Books
Although the books stopped being published in 2000, they have continued to be popular among fans, especially those who are now in their late twenties and early thirties but began reading them in elementary or middle school. There are many online communities and websites where fans can talk about their love for this girls book series about a group of friends who really enjoy baby-sitting.
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