Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Babysitters Club returns!

The Babysitter's Club books by Ann M Martin were to my tween years what Miley Cyrus is to pre-pubescent girls today. The books sold a staggering 176 million copies worldwide during their 14 year print run before coming to a halt in 2000.

And now Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne are back!

Children's book publisher Scholastic Inc has announced plans to resurrect the series which followed the four 12-13year old girls on their babysitting adventures and friendships which garnered 213 titles. Scholastic will reissue repackaged and slightly revised versions of the first two volumes of the series in April in the hopes of igniting enthusiasm in a new generation of readers.

At least one prequel is also planned.

Scholastic editorial director and an editor of the original The Baby-Sitters Club David Levithan, said the decision to bring back the old series was at the request of fans.

“This whole generation of girls who had grown up reading ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ were now teachers, librarians or mothers,” Mr. Levithan said. “And at any opportunity they had, they let us know they wanted them back. We couldn’t go to a convention without having women come up to us and say, ‘You’ve got to bring these books back.’ ”

Original author Ann M Martin, who wrote more than 60 of the original books, admitted to missing the books which propelled her career.

“When I started to think about the books with a certain amount of nostalgia, I was happy to revisit them,” she said.

Mr. Levithan said the publisher was aiming the series at a slightly younger age group than it was originally pitched — at girls ages 7 to 10 rather than 8 to 12. But some likely readers are older fans, many of them now in their 20s and 30s, who recall the series fondly if not with rabid passion. Some of the outdated expressions and technologies, such as perms and cassette players, would also be updated for modern readers he said.

Do you remember (fondly or otherwise) The Babysitter's Club books? I loved them and wanted to form my own club - sadly living in the country, miles away from my friends and the legal age for babysitting being 14 made this an impossibility. I'm delighted to see these rather wholesome, pleasant reads coming back and hope pre-teens of today (and their parents) will latch on to and love them again. I also hope story lines such as Mary Anne losing her kitten and Jessie being told she is too tall to be a ballerina will have as much pulling power as the current fad for vampires and werewolves.


Sarah said...

Oh wow! I had a whole bunch of those back in the day! Would be interesting to see how the revisions turn out - interesting that they're aiming for a younger audience. :-)

Kate said...

I loved Babysitters Club books! Had heaps of them but sold them all at a carboot sale when I decided I was too old for them. I was in love with Logan, Mary-Anne's boyfriend!

Ginger said...

Even when I was 8 I thought the Babysitters Club was complete dross. I guess it's good that children are encouraged to read but - ugh. Really?