~ Personal ~

 

When I was seven (in the bygone days of 1993) I got Karen's Ghost for Christmas.  My sister commented that there were 'loads of those books', and after that I bought Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls and then Kristy's Great Idea.  At that time Dawn's Big Date had just come out and I bought it through a bookclub (at that time it was like "Who the bloody hell are Mallory and Jessi?"), and my BSC collection started from there.  I tried to collect all the books of the Babysitters Club and the Specials, and while I didn't really collect the Mysteries like I did the other books, I still bought a fair few of them too after I'd completed my original series collection (save for those still being released at the time).  I bought a few Little Sister books but, although I did enjoy them, I did feel like Karen's books were a bit babyish even when I was fairly close to that age myself.  Now when I reread the books I've gradually come to dislike Karen intensely, and she especially annoys me in the original series books when they babysit her and Andrew.

My favourite era in the BSC series would have to be the first books (about 1-15), especially Mary Anne's.  I had to choose I think my favourites would probably be Logan Likes Mary Anne! (book 10)and Mary Anne Saves the Day (book 4) - not necessarily in that order, though.  I liked her overall tone (not that it differed much from the rest, but she seemed different in the early books), and I identified a bit with her shyness and I very much liked the description of her room and how she wanted her father to relax the rules in book 4 and the party in book 10.  I also liked the description of her relationship with her father in her Portrait book.  I suppose if I had to choose a favourite character I'd probably say Mary Anne, but that's maybe just based on that I like a lot of her books - I like her chapter in The Babysitters Remember and I really liked her Portrait book.  I also quite like Claudia, even though her spelling and general stupidity drive me up the wall.  Stacey got some good plotlines, too.  In the latter half of 2007 I was able to read a few of the Friends Forever books and I quite like them - Mary Anne's in particular.  My favourite BSC spin-off is the California Diaries series by far and I hope to complete my collection of them someday.

My least favourite book is perhaps Mystery 13, Mary Anne and the Library Mystery.  In fact, that's the only BSC book I read just once.  I've never really been a huge fan of the Mysteries - I only started half-heartedly collecting them once I had all of the original series books.  They're just a bit too far-fetched for my liking and I actually find them quite boring.  I'm not sure who my least favourite babysitter is, but my least favourite BSC character overall is Karen.  I got very bored of her supposed vivid imagination and found her really dull and repetitive: blah blah, my neighbour's a witch, a ghost lives in my attic, etc. etc..  Most kids would've outgrown the ghost idea within a fortnight or so, but Karen prattled on about Ben Brewer for 100+ books...and given that he's her great grandfather, she really needs to get some respect for her elders!  I also really hated Karen in the TV series ("Oh, Kristy's too busy to play with me, so I'll steal from one of her best friends!  Maybe then she'll notice me!").

As I've mentioned previously, many of the books were available in bookshops throughout the '90s - none of them seemed to stock all the books but, if you visited more than one bookshop, completing one's collection wasn't difficult.   I used to visit four bookshops within walking distance of each other - James Thin's used to have all the newest ones first, one of the Waterstone's had the California Diaries and all four put together could get you a more or less complete set of BSC books if you kept going over a period of time.  I also found that bookshops in airports seemed to stock the newest books.


The Babysitters Club Movie + TV Discussion
- Please be aware that any opinions expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of any professional critic or anyone associated with the film or TV series, etc....

First off, I think the BSC movie was fairly well done.  For the most part it stayed true to the books and it wasn't too bad as a standalone film.  While I liked some aspects of the characterisation, some of it was a bit off.  I had a problem with the Alan Gray character in the film: in the books he was a bit of a joker, but in the film he was a complete spazz and accident-prone - more of a mix of Abby and Jackie Rodowsky.   And why did they make him Dawn's love interest?  Yes, I know - if he liked Kristy (as in the books) then the film really would be entirely Kristy-centred, but they could've used some other boy...
To be honest I didn't really like Kristy as much in the film.  She seemed really whiny and immature most of the time, whereas in the books occasionally she was a bit petty (being jealous of Dawn, for instance), but for the most part she was quite responsible.  I think in this case I preferred the TV actress' portrayal of Kristy.
I did like the Cokie actress, though - she was almost exactly as I imagined Cokie in the books (apart from I don't really think of them with American accents in my head), and I think another good choice was the Mary Anne film actress.  The TV actress played Mary Anne very well in terms of her expression and personality, but she was tall and a bit plump, whereas Mary Anne was always described as short and petite in the books...

While on the subject of actresses and characters, I really preferred Claudia's film actress to the TV one.  In the books Claudia was always described as being really gorgeous, but the TV actress never struck me as being particularly pretty, and at times her voice got on my nerves...I like Claudia's wardrobe better in the movie, too - it might not have been as outrageous as it was described in the books, but at least she looked nice whereas TV Claudia looked...er.  Claudia was supposed to have the whole outrageous dressing thing and still look GREAT!  Along the same lines I didn't like how Dawn's hair was wavy - it was meant to be straight, really light blonde and really long, so when I saw a Dawn with medium length darkish blonde wavy hair I was a bit peeved.
Mallory's film actress was miles better than the TV one (at least what I remember of the TV one).  I really liked the way she made Mallory seem young, but not too childish (as I seem to remember the TV Mallory being).  I also liked her Mallory looks in the film as well.

The kids in the film seemed to be a bit weird - if I'm not mistaken, in the film one of the Arnold twins would only whisper things?  Er, okay...and while in the books they mentioned that Jamie liked plasters (because they would cheer him up when he fell), in the film he seemed to be obsessed with them and was covered in them all the time.  Film Jackie wasn't accident-prone and spent the majority of the time moping around.  In the film I think my favourite child characters were Nina Marshall and Suzi Barrett (another one who wasn't really the same as in the books, but likeable all the same).

I didn't much like Luca, although he does have the best line in the film: "I promised your father I'd take you home demmit!".  I don't much like his ropey accent, but I do like that line.  Anyway, what kind of seventeen-year-old wants to go out with a thirteen-year-old child?  A four year age gap just doesn't work at that age.
Just one more thing and I'll shut up: wasn't Watson meant to be balding?  In the film he has a full head of hair...

Some things to spot in the film:

  • When Stacey arrives at the Wilders' house, the door opens by itself.  Watch that part closely - you'll see Rosie doesn't touch the door as it opens...
     
  • In the baseball (correct?) practice at the day camp the same shot is used for Jackie's two swings.  In the second shot Jackie swings for the ball, misses, hits his foot with the bat and falls over screaming.  In the first shot Jackie swings and misses, but it cuts before he falls over.  Watch closely and you'll see that the bat hits his foot and his mouth opens, but the sound is muted. 
     
  • In the test Claudia manages to answer about seven questions in the space of two seconds.  A remarkable feat, considering she just had a complete mental block.
     
  • At the beginning Jessi dances into what the sign states is the Stoneybrook Dance Academy.  Jessi forced it down everybody's throats in the books that she was a fantastic dancer ("Oh oh!  I don't mean to sound conceited or anything!") and went to a special dance school in Stamford.  Also note that in that scene the camera is at an angle it shouldn't really be when Jessi raises her leg that high while wearing a skirt...
     
  • There's another up-skirt shot when Claudia decides to fill in as vice-chairman.  Thankfully, in both instances the girls are wearing giant granny knickers so it's not really that dodgy.  But even so, bleh.

My BSC Collection
- All goods are UK releases unless stated otherwise

Original series books 1-6, 10-100,
Babysitters Collection 3 (books 7-9)
Specials 1-12
Mysteries 1, 2, 4-6, 11-13, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25-30
Mystery Specials 1 & 2
California Diaries 1-10
Little Sisters 1, 2, 12, 15, 16, 18, 24
Dear Babysitter...Letters From The Babysitters Club
Merry Christmas, Babysitter...Seasons Greetings From The Babysitters Club
Hardcover BSC film tie-in book
[US edition]Original series books 102, 105, 115, 116, 117, 121, 127
[US edition] Mysteries 32, 34
[US edition] Super Mystery 3
[US edition]The Complete Guide to the Babysitters Club
[US edition] Portrait Collections: Kristy's Book, Mary Anne's Book, Claudia's Book, Dawn's Book, Abby's Book
The Babysitters Club: the Movie (VHS)
[US release] The Babysitters Club: the Movie Soundtrack (CD)
Babysitters Club Tote Bag
Babysitters Club School Year Diary
Babysitters Club pack from Scholastic

I got my US editions from Amazon.com back in the day and randomly came across some in a charity bookshop in late 2007.

Books I have read but do not own:

[US edition] Original series books 101, 113, 119, 122, 123, 126, 128-9, 131
Mysteries 3, 8, 9, 14, 20, 22, 33, 36
[US edition] Specials 13, 15
[US edition] Portrait Collection: Stacey's Book
[US edition] Shannon's Story, Logan's Story
[US edition] Friends Forever Special 1, 1-3, 9, 11
Little Sister 8, 11, 21
The Kids in Miss Colman's Class 3, 9, 10

 

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