Tag Archives: Babysitter’s Club

The Summer Before – Review

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The Baby-Sitter’s Club: The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin

Age: 8+

Told through the eyes of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Ann and Stacey, we get a look into the lives of the four girls who would later form The Baby-Sitter’s Club. Kristy is unhappy that her mom is dating again. Mary Ann is constantly struggling to prove to her father that she is responsible and is no longer a baby. Claudia is making some tough decision about growing up and growing away from two of her best friends. Stacey is new to Stoneybrook and trying to find a place to fit in, despite her diabetes.

Although this book was written years after the Baby-Sitter’s Club series ended, I thought that the stories held true to each of the four girls and their friendships. At times the narration felt more like a flashback, an adult Kristy or Stacey recapping that summer in their lives. The voices and conversations were far more mature than what I would expect an 11 year old to say.

For those that read through the entire series and the spin-off stores like I did, this book doesn’t really supply you with any new information about the girls. I did like reading from all four perspectives, especially about the same events that happened during the course of their summer break. It was also the perfect length, in total pages and per chapter. There was an even number of chapters for each girl, but I did feel that Kristy took center stage a lot. That’s probably because quite a few of the Mary Ann chapters were about Kristy. I thought the Mary Ann chapters were fairly boring, and the Claudia chapters about growing up and having a first boyfriend were the most entertaining. This is fairly odd for me, because reading the series I loved the Mary Ann books and usually skipped over the Claudia titles. The conflict and drama is pretty low on the richter scale, so it might come off as too slow for kids 11 and up, but the younger crowd will enjoy it.

Older Baby-Sitter’s Club fans will appreciate the book for its nostlagia and younger readers will enjoy it for a peak into the lives of the girls before the club.

I also heard that Scholastic began reissuing the series in April this year (hence the timing of The Summer Before). I’m not sure how many libraries will reinvest in this series, since it is nearly extinct in most library systems in the US. I’d like to see the BSC series make a comeback though. It was one of my absolute favorites growing up and one of the main reasons I was such a book nerd.

In case you missed the BSC tribute back in November, follow the link to a week-long tribute started by everybody’s Friend Amy to your favorite girls and books from Stoneybrook, Ct.

The Summer Before (BabySitter’s Club)
by Ann M. Martin
Scholastic Press, 2010
ISBN 0545160933
215 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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Babysitter’s Club week on the blog-o-sphere

For those of us who grew up with the Babysitter’s club, now is your chance to visit that long-last era of your life and reunite with the best friends you always wished you had. All this week, various blogs will feature special character spotlights and ruminations on one of the most beloved series of our youth.

Make sure to check in regularly at My Friend Amy’s blog for a daily dose of BSC reviews, character spotlights and more! She’s the host of this fun tribute, so make sure to tell her how thrilled you are she’s doing this.

I’ve noticed the sad decline of the BSC series on the library shelves, and it seems to be spreading nationwide. While the Boxcar Children series is still running strong, most libraries have already deleted almost all of their copies, due to condition and lack of circulation. I loved this series. My sister signed up for the monthly BSC book club, but I was the one who read all the books. Even going into the BSC Little Sister series with Karen. I ordered all the books from the Scholastic book orders we got in elementary schools (who doesn’t love those?). I have almost all the mysteries, all the vacation books and I’ve seen both movies and all the TV shows. I’m glad this week gives me a chance to travel back into a time of my life that really helped shape my future. Although the classics are out of circulation, you can catch the girls in a graphic novel format, and keep the stories going.

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