10 Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’
We all remember the beloved book series 'The Baby-Sitters Club,' which spawned a tv series, a movie and 'The Baby-Sitters Little Sister' book series. But did you know that the series was based on another book about baby sitting? Or that the author, Ann M. Martin, was a freelance author at the time Scholastic published it? If not, read more to get the best up-to-date facts about this beloved series and indulge in a bit of childhood nostalgia.
1. The Series Was Inspired By Another Book About Baby-Sitting
'The Baby-Sitters Club' was created by Scholastic in order to follow on the popular coattails of the book 'Ginny's Baby-Sitting Job.' (Since it was published in the 1980s, no 90s kid had ever heard of it.) Scholastic editor Jean Feiwel decided that the baby-sitting genre could be popular, and enlisted author Ann M. Martin to create the world and characters.
2. It Was a Hit For Scholastic, Considering It Was About Middle School Baby Sitters
The series was only supposed to be four novels but once Scholastic saw how popular they were becoming, they added an extra two to Ann M. Martin's plate, and then asked her for 12 more.
3. Ann M. Martin Based Characters on Her Life
Beloved author Ann M. Martin was only a freelance author at the time the first book was being published in the series; however it was up to her to create the characters, plot lines and extra details of the books. She had to be careful, as Scholastic wanted the series to be about the club and not the baby-sitters, in order to foster a sense of team work and camaraderie amongst young girls. Martin drew inspiration from journals her mom kept for her from childhood, which detailed her life up the age of 15. The character of Mary Anne is based on the author herself, while Kristy is based on her childhood friend.
4. Ghost Writers For the Win! (No, We're Not Talking About The Other Hit '90s Show)
Martin wrote the first 35 books in the 'Baby-Sitters' series solo; the rest was written or cowritten by ghost writers. 43 of them were written by Peter Lerangis who was also the author of the popular teen series 'Sweet Valley Twins'.
5. So. Many. Books.
During the series' four-year run, there were 176 million copies of the books in print. This explains why the libraries of the '90s always seemed to have dozens of copies.
6. Who Remembers Loathing Karen Because She Was Whiny?
There were two spin-offs: 'Baby-Sitters: Little Sister' which was a hit and the less popular series 'The California Diaries,' which followed the exploits of Dawn Schaefer's return to sunny California and was slightly more darker, thanks to its themes of racism, sexual identity and dealing with eating disorders such as anorexia. The series only had 15 books all in all.
7. 'Baby-Sitters Club' Joins the Vast World of Graphic Novels
In 2006, Scholastic's division called 'Graphix' decided to publish the first book in the series into graphic novel form. It was basically an adaption of the first few novels in the series, which were: 'Kristy’s Great Idea', 'The Truth About Stacey', 'Mary Anne Saves the Day', and 'Claudia and Mean Janine.'
8. The Baby-Sitters Are Baaaaaaack!
Back in 2009, Scholastic hoped to revive the love of 'The Baby-Sitters Club' with a new generation of readers, so they re-released the first two novels of the series and had Ann M. Martin write a prequel called 'The Summer Before.' Ahhh, nostalgia, how we love thee!
9. 'The Baby-Sitters Club' Was Clearly Scholastic's Cash Cow Before 'Harry Potter' Came Along
While the novels were being published, there were five additional novels that were being written alongside the main books of the series. These were: the 'Super Specials,' which was a longer story that was narrated by a different sitter in each chapter; 'Reader's Request,' which were novels that focused on the non-main characters of the series; 'Mysteries and Super Mysteries' which every '90s kid liked to read when Halloween rolled around; 'Portrait Collections' which were novels that were written to be biographies into each of the girls' pasts and, finally, 'Baby Sitters Club: Friends Forever' which turned out to be a 13 book mini-series that ended when the girls graduated from middle school. If you were a '90s kid, then you probably had them all thanks to the Scholastic book fairs in school.
10. We Have 'The Baby-Sitters Club' to Thank For Rachael Leigh Cook's Career
In 1990, there was a television show based on 'The Baby-Sitters Club' that was broadcasted on HBO, The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. It only ran for 13 episodes, but the fans absolutely loved it. However, the more famous live-action adaption of the book series was the 1995 movie. Rachael Leigh Cook made her acting debut in the role of the baby-sitter 'Mary Ann' and Larisa Oleynik, of 'The Secret World of Alex Mack' and 'Mad Men' fame, starred as Dawn. However, any true fan of 'the Baby-Sitters Club' would tell you that the television show was far superior.