Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun – and make tons of money.
But nobody counted on crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who don’t always tell the truth. And then there’s Stacey, who’s acting more and more mysterious. Having a baby-sitters club isn’t easy, but Kristy and her friends aren’t giving up until they get it right!
As a little girl, I absolutely loved The Baby-sitters Club series and would save up every penny I could to purchase the newest one. Of course, Kristy’s Great Idea came out when I was only a year old, so I can’t claim to have been a fan from the very beginning. But considering I read my first BSC book at the age of five or six, I definitely feel a kinship to the book and its characters.
Kristy’s Great Idea is where it all begins. Kristy Thomas has entered into seventh grade with her childhood friends, Mary Anne Spier and Claudia Kishi. Despite having a rocky summer vacation, the friends are trying desperately to keep their friendship from drifting away. This isn’t exactly easy as it is becoming clear Claudia is growing up, thus leaving Kristy and Mary Anne to feel as if they are being left behind.
Nonetheless, in a spark of genius, Kristy comes up with an idea of forming a club/business that will help parents with easily locating a babysitter with only one phone call. As Kristy brings the idea to her friends’ attention, Claudia suggests inviting a new girl, Stacey McGill to join them and in no time, The Baby-sitters Club is up and running. The girls experience some memorable, yet stressful experiences as they embark on their first babysitting gigs. But nothing, not dogs, crazy kids or a spooky witch next door can keep these girls down.
Each girl in the club is different from the other.
Kristy Thomas: Living with her single mother and three brothers, Kristy is the tomboy in the club. She’s athletic, impulsive and bossy. She has yet to gain an interest in trivial things like boys and dating. As the creator of The Baby-sitters Club, she’s nominated President and with that title comes the responsibility of hosting the meetings three times a week. In this book, she struggles with overcoming her dislike for her mother’s new boyfriend, Watson. After years without a man in the house, Kristy even goes as far to avoid meeting Watson’s children until an emergency leaves him in desperate need for a sitter and only Kristy being available to help.
Claudia Kishi: Claudia is an exotic beauty with a great passion for art, clothing and boys. Her discovery of boys has caused some distance between her and her best friends, Mary Anne and Kristy in the summer prior to Kristy’s Big Idea. But with the creation of The Baby-sitters Club, she has found it to be helpful in keeping their friendship strong, while still having enough room to add in new girl, Stacey. Though Claudia is extremely creative, she lacks any enthusiasm when it comes to school. Especially since she’s lived in the shadow of her genius sister, Janine. As Vice-President of the club, Claudia’s room serves as home base for the club’s meetings and she’s always willing to provide plenty of snacks.
Mary Anne Spier: Mary Anne Spier is shy, quiet and childlike. Some of which comes from her overprotective father, who tries too hard to protect his daughter. Despite their differences, she is Kristy’s best friend and at times a good voice of reason. She still dresses like a little girl and with her strict father always looking over her shoulder, she finds it hard to see a time in the future where that may change. As Secretary for the club, she’s responsible for maintaining the club’s schedule. Though she’s quiet and demure, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and is probably the most loyal of them all.
Stacey McGill: A New Yorker, born and raised, Stacey is still adjusting to small town life when she’s invited to join The Baby-Sitters Club. She’s sophisticated, fashionable and just as boy crazy as Claudia, making her the perfect choice for a new best friend. Due to her diabetes, she’s extremely cautious with what she eats and has to spend a lot of time worrying about her health. She’s naturally good with numbers and this helps her to be the perfect candidate for the club’s Treasurer.
Say what you will about the writing. It’s meant for young girls, not a grown adult and the writing reflects Martin’s intended audience. The pace can be a little slow at times and clearly being in the mind of a twelve year old is not always the best experience. Nonetheless rereading this book brought back so many memories. For one, I am still young enough to remember The Baby-sitters Club television series from the 90’s and Kristy’s Great Idea was one of those episodes. As I was reading the book, I can still envision the original actresses who portrayed Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey. While I enjoyed rereading this book, I wish I could recapture the enthusiasm and joy I had experienced as a child. Perhaps, it’s just proof that as I have aged, so has my literary tastes.