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Kristy's Great Idea (the Babysitters Club)

by Ann M. Martin
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • Publishing date: 01/04/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780545174756
  • ISBN: 0545174759

Synopsis

It all began with a great idea ... and the inspiring original story of the Baby-sitters Club is back! Kristy Thomas's brilliant business plan gets off to a great start with the help of Claudia Kishi (vice-president), Mary Anne Spier (secretary), and Stacey McGill (treasurer).


Amazon Exclusive Inteview with Author Ann M. Martin

Q: It's been a decade since the last Baby-sitters Club books came out, and 24 years since the first book was published. What was it like to come back to the BSC after so many years away?

Martin: I had a great time re-visiting the characters. It was fun to explore their lives in the prequel, “"The Summer Before," and to figure out what led the girls to form The Baby-sitters Club, something that would eventually change their lives. It was like a reunion with friends--friends who haven’t changed a bit.

Q: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey are very different characters, which is in part why the series was and is still so popular. Every reader can relate to at least one of the characters. So, we have to ask you--which character are you most like?

Martin: I am most like Mary Anne who is the shy and quiet one. Like me, Mary Anne enjoys more solitary pursuits such as reading and needlework. My favorite character, however, is Kristy. I think she's my alter ego.

Q: Were you allowed to baby-sit when you were twelve? If so, were they any funny or awful stories you'd like to share?

Martin: Yes, I did a lot of baby-sitting when I was twelve. One of the worst and also funniest things that ever happened was when I was baby-sitting for our neighbors and the kids wanted to wash their parents' car. They started the job with much enthusiasm--using Brillo pads.

Q: More than 200 BSC books were published in the eighties and nineties. Are there any that you are particularly fond of and why?

Martin: My favorite Baby-sitters Club book is "Kristy's Great Idea," which is the first book and sets the series in motion. I also like the more serious books such as "Claudia and the Sad Good-bye," which deals with the death of Claudia’s grandmother. This book was written shortly after my own grandmother died. My other favorite BSC books include “Kristy and the Secret of Susan,” in which the members of the BSC baby-sit for a child with autism, and "Jessi's Secret Language" in which the girls learn American Sign Language in order to communicate with a sitting charge with profound hearing impairment.

Q: Why do you think that the series is so well-loved and has endured over so many years?

Martin: I think the characters in the BSC books are easily relatable. The books deal with timeless topics including friendship, family, and school. Also, the books tackle serious issues including racism, bullying, kids with disabilities (physical and mental), and death of a loved one. These issues were relevant to kids in the 1980s and 1990s, and are still relevant to kids today. In addition to being relatable, these are characters readers can aspire to. The kids run a business--in this case, a baby-sitting business. They are entrepreneurial, independent, creative, and confident. And at the heart of the series is the friendship--the "glue" that binds these characters. Sure, they have fights, but they're loyal and they support one another. I think a lot of us--even adults--can relate to that.

Q: "The Summer Before" takes place during the summer before the girls enter the seventh grade--where suddenly there's a ton of pressure to fit in. The months leading up to it can be filled with anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. Do you remember how you spent the summer before seventh grade?

Martin: I was nervous that summer because in the fall I would be going to a new school – the junior high (this was in the time before middle schools). Even the words "junior high" seemed terribly grown-up. My friends and I would be attending school with eighth-graders, who were one step away from high school. I spent that summer reading, going to the community pool, taking a family trip to Cape May, New Jersey, doing some baby-sitting, and also recovering from surgery. But the knowledge that I would soon be in junior high school colored every day and every activity and did lend the summer an air of both anxiety and anticipation.

Q: Despite the fun the girls have together in "The Summer Before," they're all dealing with pretty tough problems—moving away, an absentee father, a first crush. How did you choose the issues you wanted to focus on?

Martin:  One of my favorite things about writing a series was that the characters themselves generated plot ideas for later books. One of the themes that developed as the series progressed was that of Kristy's relationship with her father. It was an idea I enjoyed exploring, and when I had the opportunity to write the prequel I realized that this summer would be a charged time for Kristy, and that I could introduce the issues she had with her father here; then they could unfold in the later books. The same applied to Stacey. Her reasons for moving to Stoneybrook had been revealed in later books, but I realized that during this particular summer the reader could actually watch the events take place. The other issues – a first crush, wanting more independence yet still feeling like a kid--are themes that I felt would resonate with most "tween" readers.

Q:
Even though the books have been out of print for ten years there are still some very devoted fans. Surely you must have received a ton of letters about the series over the years. Are there any that stick out in your mind?

Martin: The most memorable are stories of girls who have written to me and told me that I’ve made an impact on their lives, that The Baby-sitters Club books have turned them into readers. Some have also said that the BSC books made them aspire to become writers. I’ve also heard from a lot of the original fans who grew up to become teachers, librarians, editors, journalists, entrepreneurs, etc. To know that this series inspired a generation of readers and writers is very humbling.

Q: There’s been a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about where Claudia, Kristy, Mary Ann, and Stacey would be now, in 2010, had they grown up. Do you have any thoughts on what path each would have taken?

Martin:  I understand the fascination of the older BSC fans who would like to know what happened with the characters when they got older. It’s thrilling to realize that after all these years the fans remain passionate about the books and the characters in The Baby-sitters Club. I can see Kristy running a business--I can also see her being in politics. I think Mary Anne became a teacher. I imagine Stacey went into fashion--not as a designer, but maybe on the business side. And Claudia became an artist. I think fans can fill in for the rest of the characters!



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  • Great for kids as young as 8 or 9!
    From Amazon

    The Baby Sitters Club is an excellent series of books for young readers. In this book, the first of the series, Kristy comes up with the idea of forming a group or club for baby sitting. The families in the neighborhood could then call one number and get four potential babysitters rather then calling four different girls if one was not available. This group helps four girls become best of friends and helps them all to have a common focus to base their friendships on. The story is well written so we can get the background on all four of the girls as well as Kristy's whole family. The stories keep you reading to the end without wanting to put it down. My daughter is ten and just getting interested in reading. She loves this series and actually was the one to recommend it to me to read. Admittedly I was not quite the reader she is at that age. I'm glad she has a wonderful love of reading and has the good sense to read books like The Babysitters Club. The books are good, clean entertainment in an otherwise tainted world. By Kerri J. Busteed Author of Will's First Hunt Will's First Hunt

  • Courtesy of Teens Read Too
    From Amazon

    When Kristy Thomas finds her mom struggling to find a babysitter for David Michael, Kristy comes up with the idea to start a Baby-sitters Club with her friends. One phone call soon equals four possible babysitters. It's not all fun and games for her and her friends, however. Stacy is acting weird and seems to be hiding something from the rest of the club members. Kristy's mom is engaged and she isn't sure she will like her soon-to-be step-siblings, and Claudia keeps getting a lot of grief from her older sister, Janine, about her and her friends making too much noise during club meetings. To top things off, their babysitting jobs force them to deal with crank phone calls, wild pets, even wilder children, and parents who don't always tell the truth. Will The Baby-sitters Club get off the ground and succeed? Will Kristy come to terms with her mother's engagement? This is a reprint of a great book. The story is filled with memorable characters, life problems that are realistic and humorous at times, and a plot that keeps the reader interested. Those who like realistic fiction and humor will enjoy reading KRISTY'S GREAT IDEA. Reviewed by: Kira M

  • The Club is formed, but the job is full of surprises for the members!
    From Amazon

    Synopsis: Kristy Thomas's mother brings her kids pizza one night for dinner, meaning that she wants to ask them a favor. Kristy's mother asks one of her children Sam, Charlie or Kristy to watch over the youngest child David Michael the next day because Kathy, the regular Babysitter wouldn't be able to make it. None of the kids are able to baby-sit David Michael either, including Kristy's friend Mary-Anne Spier or Claudia Kishi. Kristy suddenly thinks of a great idea for a club, and thus forms the Babysitter's Club! Kristy tells Mary Anne and Claudia about the idea and they agree to join. Claudia suggests they include her new friend Stacey McGill to the Club, and the girls agree because Stacey is from New York. The Club is soon formed and Kristy has no issues with Babysitting anyone, except her mother's boyfriend's (Watson's) children Karen and Andrew, because she doesn't like Watson. After setting up fliers and placing an ad on the paper, the Club finally gets some orders. However, when Kristy finds out that she has to baby-sit dogs, or when Claudia realizes that the kids she is babysitting are a terror, and Mary Anne fears that Mrs. Porter could really be a witch, and the Club finds Stacey acting really weird, they realize that they got more than what they bargained for. Can the Babysitters Club survive? Review: I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the idea of how the series focuses the story lines from one person's perspective, in this case, Kristy's. I just felt that there was so much going on this book that was so interesting, that I really couldn't put it down. From the mystery of Stacey acting strangely or Mary Anne suspecting if Mrs. Porter is actually a witch, or the drama of Kristy getting angry with Watson as well as getting into a fight with Stacey about her lies, to the comedy of Kristy having to `baby-sit' Mrs. McKeever's two dogs, and a bit of romance too as Stacey falls head over heels for Kristy's brother Sam, I felt that this book had a little bit of everything and was a great introduction to the series. Being the first book in the series, I also enjoyed the introduction of the characters, and how they form the club which sets pace for the series. Overall, I thought this was a very nicely written first book, and would definitely continue reading the series.

  • To the people who think this series is bad for girls
    From Amazon

    For those who cry it's unrealistic...so I suppose you've never read your children fairy tales? Or any book with themes with witches and vampires. No matter how modern day it is, fantasy creatures don't exist and we read them onto adult hood. You want to talk about a bad book for young girls? Rip Stephanie Meyer's books off the shelves. They're the most atrocious books for girls I've ever seen on the market and tells them it's fine to be abused by a guy. There is NOTHING poisonous about these books. They'd be alot better off with these books than half the garbage on television. Plus if your daughter grows up and is -that- naive as a teenager, then it's YOU who failed as parent. This series is here to teach young girls basically right from wrong and how to be a good person in general. The books and shows of the 90's taught my generation this. Not the author's fault that the age target for this book is new age for being a whore. The book is geared toward ages 9-12 . So for those who think "well girls my age smoke and have sex at this age."-Either the parents are dead beats or you didn't read the target age for this book.

  • Ahh, good memories...
    From Amazon

    I remember finding the BSC over fifteen years ago, and reading most if not all of the earlier books. While many people would consider this a "tweener" novel today, the truth is that these books had lots of practical advice about relationships and babysitting. To me today, these books are appropriate for today's youth, even if many youngsters today may think this series is outdated! I have since given away all of my BSC books except one that was autographed by Ann Martin, and hope that someone else enjoyed them as much as I did. This book is a nice debut to what was a classic series back in the 80's and 90's. While some might scoff at the idea of a baby-sitting club, i felt that the idea was presented well throughout the series, with its share of accomplishments and problems. This was a good book that started off a more than decent series.

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