I am just assuming that we all read – or were at least aware of – The Babysitters’ Club. So really the only question is ‘who was your favourite?’.
It was a funny thing, I read all of the books avidly when I was about 11 and wracked my brains for a club that I could start, which would follow a similar format (fun meetings with my friends, a dedicated phone line like Kristy’s, making money, distributing flyers around the local area and being known as an interesting young entrepreneur) – despite having little to zero interest in actual babysitting. The babysitting bit I could totally live without. I don’t think I ever came up with a viable alternative. Yet still I was totally obsessed with the books, buying them by the batch with my pocket money and then reading them in one sitting.
I wonder if you can guess who my favourite babysitter was? Spoiler: it was Claudia Kishi. I mean, she was awesome! She had multiple ear piercings (which I was desperate to have). There were itemised descriptions of her ‘crazy’ fashion sense and homemade outfits – much like mine, only mine were far less successful. She was Japanese-American (exotic) and apparently had ‘long black hair and perfect skin’. She was clearly the best one.
The first book I read in the series was actually the second – Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls. I have no recollection of the plot, beyond the fact I thought it was totally rad. My favourites were all Claudia stories – Claudia and the New Girl was particularly good, in which she became best friends with Ashley, an arty chick who was way cooler than the other babysitters (drama ensued); and Claudia and The Sad Goodbye, in which her lovely grandmother Mimi died, had me verging on hysteria.
I must admit that I found Kristy and Mary-Anne pretty boring. (It was a bit like the ‘who’s your favourite Spice Girl?’ thing – it would always be the one most like you [ahem, Geri].) I didn’t have much in common with Kristy (bossy tomboy) or Mary-Anne (shy good girl). My second favourite was Stacey McGill – Claudia’s best friend, a cool blonde maths genius originally from New York. I suppose that makes Dawn my third-favourite, which sounds about right. Some of the Stacey books were also among my favourites – Boy Crazy Stacey, set on holiday in New Jersey, was one of the best, if memory serves; and the one where they go and visit her in New York was amazing.
The New York one may have been a ‘super bumper special’ or whatever they were called. They were great – epic-length adventures featuring all the gang in improbable situations or on holidays. These definitely involved such scenarios as: going on a cruise, going to Disneyland, getting stranded on a remote island, winning the lottery, getting snowed in. You know the kinda thing.
There were definitely elements that would be different today. I seem to remember that Stacey’s diabetes was treated as a massive drama, as if she might go into a hyperglycaemic coma at any moment – not a brilliant message. Plus, there’s the fact that they were… a bit rubbish.
Anyway, even better – when Googling the BSC for reminders, I found this brilliant, brilliant article:
Now I’m off to see if you can get the BSC books on Kindle…