The Baby-Sitters Club #1 – “Kristy’s Big Idea”

via Scholastic Blog

Here we are, right back to where it all began. I must say that this one is pretty well-written, I’d guess because Ann M. hadn’t yet turned to ghosties. In addition to zany baby-sitting stories, we’ve also got a fair bit of tween-tastic angst and even a mini-throw-down between the BSC.

Let’s get it on…

Back-Cover Blurb:
Kristy thinks the Baby-Sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun–and make tons of money. (Sorry, but isn’t that what escort services say to lure impressionable college girls into prostitution?)

But nobody counted on crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who don’t always tell the truth. And then there’s Stacey, who’s acting more and more mysterious. Having a baby-sitters club isn’t easy, but Kristy and her friends aren’t giving up until they get it right!

So we start out with Kristy and Mary Anne in class, having a really shitty time because it’s a hot summer day and their cheap-ass school doesn’t have air-conditioning. Yuck. She acts like it’s a big luxury that the teacher is even allowing them to make little paper fans to keep cool, but sitting there sweating all day long doesn’t sound very luxurious to me.

No wonder our girl, Kristy, is so happy when the bell rings that she yells, “Hooray!”

But their teacher is all pissed about that and makes Kristy write a paper about in-class decorum, like being excited to get out of a hot, fart-scented room is a crime or something. You’re a dick, Mr. Name-I-Don’t-Care-About.

Back at home, Kristy’s baby-sitting her little brother, David Michael. And yes, they call him “David Michael” throughout the entire GD book, kind of like “John Amos” in the Flowers in the Attic Series. Of course, we know his name is David Michael Thomas, but then why not call him “David” or “Michael”? It just sounds like he’s in trouble all the time.

Anyway, we get a little intro on Kristy’s family here. Basically, her parents are divorced and her dad is a dead-beat who sometimes “forgets” to pay child-support. Her mother works her ass off to keep the kids in baseball gloves and acid-washed jeans, and as a result, feels kind of guilty for not being Betty Crocker. At the moment, Kristy’s mother is dating a nice fella named Watson, a single father who Kristy (of course) hates.

After watching her mom struggle to find a baby-sitter for David Michael, Kristy gets her Big Idea: why not start a co-op of several baby-sitters, who can all be reached at certain times at one convenient phone number! It’s flippin’ brilliant!

But who’s going to be in the club? Well, MA of course (she and Kristy are best friends), but that’s not nearly enough for a decent-sized club. With a few reservations, Kristy invites Claudia Kishi into the club, too. Kristy feels a little weird around Claudia lately since Claud is really into boys and fashion and MA and Kristy aren’t quite there yet. They’re still caught up in stuff like entrepreneurship–you know, babyish things like that.

Still, everybody seems to get along pretty well, even when Claudia invites the new girl, Stacey into the club. Stacey is cool because she’s from New York, she’s thin, pretty, and has “fluffy” blonde hair.


No kidding.

So yeah… baby-sitting stories… blah blah blah. Nothing as interesting as bullying or childhood obesity, just some misadventures with a cat and an old lady who’s supposed to be a witch because she doesn’t like it when the cat digs up her flowers. We also see the emergence of the famous club notebook, complete with ever-changing font to reflect the different narrators. Fancy!

Meanwhile, Kristy’s spending a lot of time acting like a bitch to Watson, even when he does nice stuff like bring Chinese food. Her brothers are actually pretty cool with the situation, which annoys her even more.

At one point, Kristy gets in trouble for telling Watson he’s a bad father for spending so much time with Kristy’s mother. Can you say, “misplaced anger,” boys and girls? Yeesh. Kristy, if you’re so pissed off by unfit fathers, try giving yours a call. Leave nice, take-out-food-bearing Watson alone!

Things get even more shitty for Kristy when she has to babysit Watson’s kids, lame-ass Karen and What’s-His-Face. Turns out she doesn’t really mind this, though, and everybody gets along pretty well. The kids ask Kristy if she can be their big sister (after one meeting? WTF?) and Kristy tells them that she might be someday, but for now, she’ll just be their babysitter.

I guess it’s sweet, but Karen and her bro seem really clingy. Maybe Watson really is a neglectful father.

And then there’s some crap where the BSC tries to throw a pizza party with like, $10 dollars, which I guess was a fortune in the nineties, because they plan to buy two pizzas with that. I may move to Stoneybrook just for the cheap ‘za.

But the party doesn’t work out. First, Mary Anne’s dad is a dick and tells her she needs to save her money for important things like college (huh?), then Claudia has to spend the weekend studying, then Stacey has to go to New York. Kristy feels totally cock-blocked, and is not pleased when she finds out that Stacey actually was in town for most of the weekend and could totally have attended a pizza party.

Kristy figures it’s because Stacey’s being hyper-concerned about gaining weight and actually confesses later to thinking that Stacey was a closet anorexic. Don’t worry about that until Stacey’s big modeling career starts, Kris. For now, it’s just the diabeetus.

The pizza party debacle comes to a head at the next BSC meeting, in which Kristy confronts Stacey about lying. Claudia and Stacey band together, yelling that Kristy is a nosy bitch who needs to grow up and stop acting like such a little kid all the time. Everybody starts yelling, at which point Claudia’s grandmother comes in and asks WTF is going on. This calms everybody down, but the damage is done.

The BSC is split into two warring factions: Mary Anne and Kristy, and Claudia and Stacey.

Shortly after, Kristy’s Mom and Watson announce their engagement. Yay… or whatever. Unfortunately, they don’t know where they’re going to live, so Kristy has no idea whether or not she’ll have to switch schools and/or quit the BSC after the wedding. Thanks, Mom. I’m sure that fills your angst-ridden daughter with a ton of confidence in the situation.

Still, Kristy realizes that she’s not as angry as she thought she would be. She realizes that Watson and his kids aren’t so bad and that she wouldn’t mind being related to them, even if her first reactions were rather negative. This leads her to understand that she probably shouldn’t have been so judgmental about Stacey, so she calls Claud and Stacey up to apologize about the other day.

The book ends with a super-awesome BSC slumber party. Stacey confesses to having the diabeetus and being embarrassed about going to her doctor in NYC, and everyone tells her that they love her the way she is. Kristy admits that she has a big mouth and wants to be less abrasive, and everyone agrees that she should stop being such an asshole.

Then they swap scary baby-sitting stories… I’m guessing these generally involve a bathtub, poop, and a whole mess of disinfectant.

BSC forever!

Quotable Quotes:

I looked. “What’s wrong with the way I’m dressed?”

“Really, Kristy, a sweater with snowflakes and snowmen on it? You look like a four-year-old.”

“Well, you’ve got sheep barrettes in your hair,” I yelled. “You think they’re adult?”

“Sheep,” Claudia informed me witheringly, “are in.”

I’m seriously beginning to think that most couture designers read this book and realized, “My God! I can design butt-ugly things and then just tell people they’re in fashion! I’ll make a killing!”


I rest my case.

The Moral of the Story:
Kristy Thomas should STFU.

…oh, and something about looking past your first reactions and trying to get to know people better.

…and maybe something about in-class decorum.

Posted in BabySitters Club, Questionable Parenting
19 comments on “The Baby-Sitters Club #1 – “Kristy’s Big Idea”
  1. Sheep are in – a pivotal moment in BSC history.

    I love these early books. That said, I also love the later books where Mary Anne is actually allowed to blink without permission and there’s Mallory to make fun of.

    I always wondered the reasoning behind David Michael’s double name. That said, why shouldn’t boys get two names? Why should the Mary Annes etc of the world get all the fun?

  2. R. G. Quimby says:

    I’m a fan of the later books, too, I guess because those are the ones I’m most familiar with originally. It’s cool to see the early stuff, but I do like having Dawn, Jessi, and Mallory around.

    As for the David Michael/Mary Anne thing… yeah, I never actually thought about that. I always thought Mary Anne should have been Mary-Anne or Marianne. Now it sounds like Mary Anne’s in trouble all the time, too.

  3. Shannon says:

    Wow, that cover really brought back some memories. Look how young they look! As opposed to the later books when they suddenly all look at least sixteen.

  4. R. G. Quimby says:

    They do look really, really young. Like actual twelve-year-olds… you know, when twelve-year-olds looked like twelve-year-olds 🙂 I actually had to rip that cover pic off the scholastic website since my book is one of those big super editions with three novels wrapped in one volume. On my cover, though, they all look a lot older than that.

    Is it just me, or did Claudia turn white for this cover?

  5. Shannon says:

    She does just kind of look like a tan kid with black hair, doesn’t she?

  6. Sadako says:

    I never got why MA and Kristy were supposed to be babyish because they weren’t into fashion/boys like Stacey and Claudia, even though they were clearly uber responsible when it came to babysitting and in MA’s case, making dinner for her father every other night or whatnot. I know girls who still aren’t THAT into fashion–are they babies, Stacey?

  7. R. G. Quimby says:

    Well, you know how it is with pre-teens. The only way for girls to show how responsible they are is to be really into their looks and flirting with boys and stuff. Oddly, this seems to reverse as you get older.

  8. Sadako says:

    The other weird thing is that in BSC world, being TOO into fashion/make up/boys makes you irresponsible. Remember those older babysitters who start their own club? They can stay out way later and they’re all whorish and wear make up and smoke and neglect the kids.

  9. [QUOTE]The Moral of the Story:
    Kristy Thomas should STFU.[/QUOTE]

    That should be the moral of *any* BSC book that focuses on Kristy.

    Oh, and I fixed up that cover with a title that better reflects what I think of the story:

    And if you liked that, check out the other books on The Low-Rent Library’s Summer ’09 Reading List:

  10. R. G. Quimby says:

    Yay for the Low-Rent Library! Fitting in a “2 girls 1 cup” reference into a BSC book is epic… and weirdly frightening.

    @ Sadako — OMG, you’re right! I think I have that book, actually. The moral of the story would probably be something about not being overly concerned with your appearance… which is weird, because Claudia and Stacey spend an awful lot of time on that, don’t they? I always thought so.

  11. [QUOTE]Yay for the Low-Rent Library! Fitting in a “2 girls 1 cup” reference into a BSC book is epic… and weirdly frightening.[/QUOTE]

    I am to please — even if it’s dark, disturbing, and unfit for human consumption. The only thing that matters to me is if I find a way to make it funny. I’m all about the joke execution.


  12. Abby says:

    “Kristy, if you’re so pissed off by unfit fathers, try giving yours a call. Leave nice, take-out-food-bearing Watson alone!”

    To be fair, Watson WAS pretty neglectful throughout the series. He gets a babysitter every book and he only has the damn kids 4 days a month. Watson had a lot of gardening and antique shopping emergencies that would coincidentally come up whenever he had his kids.

  13. Sadako says:

    Well…if your kid was Karen, would you really want to spend that much time with her? 🙂

  14. Angel says:

    LOL!!! Karen is an annoying brat.

  15. bitsy says:

    Not even the 90’s..I think the book was 86/87. yikes. I actually liked the earlier books, pre – moving back & forth from NY or CA to Stoneybrook like 6 times in one year, or the ghastly Chapter 2 where the ghosties would copy & paste the bio’s of the girls only swapping out a crazy Claudia outfit.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Hey, I OWN that pink outfit!

  17. Jukebox Lucky says:

    Dude… David Michael Thomas. HE HAS THREE FIRST NAMES.

  18. Bridget says:

    Jukebox Lucky, Philip Michael Thomas also has three first names. I always thought a middle name was the kind of name you could fall back on if you have a dumb first name like Spurgeon Eliot Seawald or something your mom would yell if she was mad at you. Kristy’s mom called her Kristen Amanda Thomas when she yelled at her.

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