October 10, 2009

BSC #1, Kristy’s Great Idea: “Sheep are IN”

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 11:37 pm by Jenn

As if Kristy would wear a jumper.

Summary: Kristy’s mom has trouble finding a baby-sitter one night, which inspires Kristy to come up with the idea of a club where parents can call one phone number and reach a number of possible sitters. She invites her best friend, Mary Anne, and their across-the-street neighbor Claudia to join. Claudia brings in the new girl at school, Stacey, who’s supposedly sophisticated because she moved from New York City, but who acts weird about food and is clearly keeping a secret. (It’s diabetes. You’ll hear a lot about that in future books.) Kristy is also dealing with her mother’s relationship with the rich Watson, who has two young children Kristy wants nothing to do with.

Thoughts: The Baby-sitters Club books were one of my biggest obsessions when I was younger (the other biggest obsession being Saved By the Bell). I read them all numerous times. I dressed up as Stacey for Halloween when I was about nine. (Yeah, no one got it.) I bought every book as soon as it came out and read it immediately.

Revisiting the BSC books a few years ago was a great trip down memory lane. They’re extremely G-rated and inoffensive, unlike a lot of YA literature out there now. (No vampires in Stoneybrook.) They’re outdated in many ways, but for the most part, they can still apply. There’s a lot in the series about accepting people who are different, working to make friendships last, and being yourself. (Also, grammar! I still remember some of Janine’s grammar lessons, like when it’s appropriate to use the work “hopefully.”) Even though the girls are only 12 at the beginning of the series, they demonstrate a lot of responsibility, and I can actually see people hiring them to baby-sit. Though I started baby-sitting around that age, so maybe I’m biased.

The early books always amaze me with how much they fit into so few pages. There really aren’t wasted scenes (well, for the most part), and they also do a good job of establishing characters and relationships. In addition, because the characters are still underdeveloped, they’re not as annoying as they become later. Kristy isn’t bossy at all, and Karen is only slightly irritating. Just wait for the later books when you want to pinch her every time she shows up, whether she opens her mouth or not.

Oh, but there’s also a lot of snark. Any loyal BSC fan knows that some of the more interesting parts of the books come from Claudia’s outfits. Here are her outfits in Kristy’s Great Idea, as well as a couple of Stacey’s:

  • Claudia wears “short, very baggy lavender plaid overalls, a white lacy blouse, a black fedora, and red high-top sneakers without socks.”
  • She later wears “a baggy yellow- and black-checked shirt, black pants, red jazz shoes, and a bracelet that looked like it was made from a telephone cord.” Along with this she wears earrings shaped like skeletons.
  • Stacey wears “a pink sweat shirt with sequins and a large purple parrot on the front.” Sounds ultra-sophisticated to me.
  • When she first meets Sam, Kristy’s older brother, Stacey is wearing “a matching top and skirt made of gray sweat shirt material with big yellow number tens all over it. Her hair was pinned back with clips shaped like rainbows. Little silver whistles were dangling from her ears.”

This is also the book where, during a fight about fashion with Kristy, Claudia utters the instantly classic line, “Sheep are in.” Indeed, Claudia. Indeed.


  1. Paula said,

    Thank you so much for this blog! I loved this series when I was in grade school; I read most of the books up the about the #70s. Loved the Super Specials too; I always brought one along on family trips. And I completely forgot about the mysteries and Super Mysteries! I stopped reading sometime in middle school; no self-respecting 12-year-old would be caught dead reading these. But I always wondered what became of these chicks–did they ever turn 14? Were they doomed to haunt SMS in perpetuity? I’m half-tempted to read the rest of the series that I missed out on, but a) I’m 30 and would not want to be seen reading these, b) I’d prefer to spend that time boning up on the classics, and c) the books are kind of hard to come by now. Except for the recent re-releases and graphic novels, most of the books have been removed from bookstores and library shelves for years. A lot of them you can buy for the price of shipping online, but do I really want to become a BSC hoarder? Not exactly. So thank you for reading these so I don’t have to! I like your take on the stories; a lot of the plots were certainly outlandish, or sometimes Inappropriate for 13-year-olds. Still, what a fun trip down memory lane!

  2. “…a bracelet that looked like it was made from a telephone cord.”
    I always remember this. Always. And Sheep ARE in! I love this one too… I always remember Kristy eatign her sandwich instead of the food Watson bought over, and making him into a snowman and biting off his head… And how strange BooBoo acted around Mrs Porter. I actually read this one recently which is why I remember so much 🙂

  3. bscag said,

    Oh man…so happy to have found this! I’m going to spend the next few days reading all your BSC posts, and then I’ll move on to others.

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