~ 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
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...
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.
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.
Some things to spot in the film:
My BSC Collection
Original series books 1-6, 10-100,
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