April 24, 2009

i used to live in stoneybrook

Just spent 3 PBS credits on Babysitters Club titles. I got into the books in the fifth grade, when I ordered one from a Scholastic leaflet (it was The Truth About Stacey (#3), which taught me about friendship, Connecticut, and juvenile-onset diabetes) and grew so deeply esconced in the lives of Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne and Dawn that I didn't grow out the series when everyone else seemed to. (Or were they hiding their BSC behind their R.L. Stine like I was?) My interest in continuing faded around #51, but re-read my favorites often. The Ghost at Dawn's House, Kristy and the Snobs, Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise, Dawn's Wicked Stepsister ... The stories that weren't too farfetched but still brought the good old Stoneybrook drama.

And now, re-reading oldies and fervently ordering and devouring the ones I never read, it's like I never left. I've so far refused to pick up an Abby book because I'm something of a purist and didn't even really like the Logan and Shannon chapters in the Super Specials, but I made room for them - adding Abby, was that really necessary? She seems like a spaz.

Last night I read The Babysitters Remember which I thought would be a throwaway Super Special (recaps, whatever) but it was actually pretty good. It filled in some gaps from the regular series (e.g. why was Shannon Kilbourne such a bleeping bleep when Kristy met her?) and made me tear up (e.g. when Mimi went to bat for six-year-old Claudia, who was humiliated by her teacher for drawing a butterfly self-portrait.)

Revisiting Stoneybrook reaffirms my goal: to re-build the entire collection and house it in my classroom (holy cow, that's a lot of "re"s). The kids who tear through Twilight and Gossip Girl should at least taste the more wholesome but still funny writing of Ann M. Martin (and her ghostwriters). 1) Kristy Thomas has a kick-ass vocabulary. 2) The art of expositing background info? Ann M. Martin is queen. 3) As a kid reader, I loved that the babysitters (while babysitting) seemed closer to 30 than 13. As an adult of course I'm more skeptical (what sane parents would leave an infant in the care of two eleven-year-olds?) but as a kid it made me think that kids really could do these things - run a profitable business, organize Color Wars, solve mysteries, and put irresponsible adults in their places.

On deck: #113 Claudia Makes Up Her Mind. Boys, school and blessings in disguise. Yum. When I've finished my short stack of BSC, I'll get back to The Golden Notebook, but for now, it's still the weekend ...


Sadako said...

Yeah, I agree on Abby. I do read her books but they just seem kind of...meh. Lackluster. Like they were trying to hard to make a big exciting change, fill Dawn's void, etc.

Do you read BSC Friends Forever or CA Diaries? I've read a couple of Friends Forever recently and a lot o CA Diaries back in the day. Friends Forever was kind of nice b/c there was less babysitting/more drama...I recapped one for my blog a while ago where the high point was no sitting! :)

damned_cat said...

Yay, a fellow BSC geek! :)

I am just now dipping into Friends Forever, and I ordered *one* CA Diaries (a Dawn book, I refuse to read Sunny or Amalia unless the Dawn one is SUPER good) ... Good, I'll look forward to a brief departure from babysitting. Sometimes Kristy and her stepsiblings' softball games or encounters with Morbidda Destiny and Claudia's tedious afternoons with Jamie and Lucy .... yawn.

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