Review Detail

Great Idea, Great Graphics
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Twenty years ago, Ann M. Martin and Scholastic had a great idea: The Baby-Sitters Club. What began as a modest book series about four middle-school best friends, their baby-sitting jobs, and their families became an international phenomonon, spawing over 100 books, a television show, a film, and more, appealing to readers of all ages all around the globe.

Scholastic has re-released four BSC books as graphic novels. The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix line includes:

Kristy's Great Idea
The Truth About Stacey
Mary Anne Saves the Day
Claudia and Mean Janine

Raina Telgemeier has done a fantastic job with these books. Not only does she provide adorable artwork, but she remains faithful to the original stories. The text - the majority of which has been pulled straight from the books - was approved by Ann M. Martin. There are a few little contemporary updates - a word here, a gadget there - but, happily, the stories and the words remain 99.9% unchanged. For example, the brief references to G.I. Joe and Rainbow Brite in Kristy's Great Idea remain in tact. (That made me incredibly happy because I am as big a fan of Rainbow Brite as I was of the BSC - maybe even bigger!)

With her aforementioned adorable artwork, Raina Telgemier has created characters that not only look their age but are dressed appropriately. She has captured the essence of these familiar faces and their personalities. The characters change clothes often, which is rare in comics, but their wardrobes are always modest. Tomboy Kristy wears comfortable, sporty attire; shy Mary Anne wears her hair in braids and dons schoolgirl skirts due to her father's strict rules; fashionable Stacey has cute tops and jeans; and creative Claudia shows off funky ensembles that are her trademark. On the cover of the novel, Kristy sports a shirt for 06, but one could interpret that as 2006 or simply think 06 is a player number. The clothes don't scream "trendy" at one extreme, nor "1986" in the other. In fact, the only part of the pictures that differed from my mental pictures of the girls were Claudia's bangs, which are dyed pink on the covers. Other than that, the illustrations stay completely true to the book's descriptions of the girls, their relatives, and their clients. Telgemeier conveys the girls' emotions and energy very well.

The graphic novels are around 180 pages in length. Kristy's Great Idea begins with Kristy suffering in a classroom on a hot afternoon - just as readers remember it. The stories are timeless, focusing on friendship, first crushes, families, and school. The original characters were twelve years old and in seventh grade when the books began; the majority of the readership is composed of students in elementary school and middle school. The books discuss respect, loyalty, and responsibility, mixing in plenty of fun, secrets, and slumber parties.

Those who read the books in the 1980s and 1990s may now share the books with their own children, students, and younger siblings . . . and add these well-done graphic novels to their own collections! A must-have for libraries - public, school, or home - and for bookstores.
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