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Childhood Favourites: The Babysitter’s Club

A photograph of the cast of The Babysitter's Club film

Promotional photograph from The Babysitter’s Club, copyright © 1995 Columbia Pictures.

One day, when I was about twelve, my mother came to me and said that her co-worker’s daughter was getting rid of her collection of The Babysitter’s Club books – would I like some of them? I replied in the affirmative and, having noticed the ‘some’, said I’d rather like all of them. Being polite doesn’t become a young reader who is being offered a bookish gold mine.

My mother was already on her way back to the phone, these were the days of twisted cords, and didn’t hear the last bit. Or perhaps she just pretended she didn’t.

Nevertheless a few days later a big box of books was in the hallway. There were around forty to fifty in it – a whole collection up to a certain point minus the odd books. (There were 131 books in the original series.)

Many I’d already read. I had a staunch favourite: #21, Mallory And The Trouble With Twins; it was a book I’d read a few times and I read it a few more. If I remember rightly, the twins’ ages made for much mischief, what I suppose we’d call ‘action’ today, even if there wasn’t much plot. That there were two children made it more fun and I thought the names – Marilyn and Carolyn – were a riot. I don’t know how many times I read that book, but it seems it was enough that I remember the names even now. Most of the collection went unread; likely they’re amongst the books packed away and I hope to read them some time, especially as the page count will seem far smaller.

I discovered book #21 and, I believe, the series itself, on one of our infrequent trips to the library. I can’t remember how often I finished other books I took out – I was one of those children who thought what we now term ‘all the books’ and then realised I had a pile of books that was quite daunting. (This is likely the reason the trips were infrequent.) Ann M Martin’s books, however, I read from cover to cover, even all those overly-long re-cap introductions. Mallory was my favourite, closely followed by Mary Anne and Claudia. Stacey was out of the running because I considered her an interloper – I read the books out of order and she left early on.

Nowadays I know many of the books (those following #35) were ghost-written. A sort of pseudonym of many writers, it was an ‘ah ha’ moment – I always did wonder where Martin found the time.

I can’t remember many books I read in my first double-digit years, but I’ll always remember the club. Nostalgia hits me on a fairly regular basis and I’ll probably have to find a copy of the film at some point for a re-watch because wouldn’t you know I loved that, too.

What book(s) defined your pre-teen years? Did you read The Babysitter’s Club?


Literary Feline

September 18, 2015, 4:14 pm

I have never read any of the Babysitter Club books, although I knew about them. I am not sure why I didn’t have an interest in them. I was more enamored with The Girls of Canby Hall series by Emily Chase.


September 18, 2015, 5:45 pm

I don’t think I read any of The Babysitter’s Club but in a similar vein I do remember my mother’s cousin passing on all her Sweet Valley High books. In my pre-teens I also read a lot of Point Horror books.


September 18, 2015, 9:08 pm

I was a big fan of The Babysitters Club too and read most of the first sixty or so books (not many after that as I considered myself too old by then). My favourite characters were Kristy and Stacey, but I can’t remember which specific books were my favourites. I do remember the one with Marilyn and Carolyn! You’ve made me want to do some re-reading, but unfortunately I think I gave most of the books away, along with my Sweet Valley books (which I loved as well).

April Munday

September 18, 2015, 10:07 pm

I’m far too old to have read that series. I read the Famous Five, Malory Towers and the St Clare’s books by Enid Blyton. I thought Darrell Rivers was a fantastic name. Despite the fact that the library was literally at the bottom of my road, I had to own them and I managed to track down the final Famous Five book while I was at university. Sadly, I really didn’t enjoy reading it.

Jenny @ Reading the End

September 20, 2015, 10:33 pm

Oh wow, I forgot about Marilyn and Carolyn! I remember them! I totally read the BSC books when I was a kid — the Super Specials were particularly glorious. Did your box of books includes the Super Specials too?


September 21, 2015, 3:27 am

I missed The Babysitter’s Club by a few years. By the time they really became popular, I was past the target age and not interested in them at all. I do feel like I missed something by not having such a profound series to influence my childhood. Ah, well.



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