Again? Yes, again! When I clicked over to dooce.com today to catch up on the posts I've missed in the last few weeks, I never expected to see a guest post on a favorite childhood book series. But there it was...a full post dedicated to none other than The Babysitters Club.
I distinctly remember that I was in the third grade when I discovered The Babysitters Club series (or BSC, so I don't have to keep typing that out over and over). That would have been 1990-1991, so yeah, twenty years or so ago. TWENTY YEARS.
I was always a big reader, and I think I just picked up the book because it looked like a good story. I am pretty sure it was not the first book in the series. I'm thinking it was like #8 or so, but I don't remember for sure. What I do remember is being so excited to find out it was a series (I've always been excited by the small things, you know), and telling anyone who would listen about the cool new books I had "discovered".
Over the next few years, I read a lot, I mean A LOT of BSC books. We got to order books from school occasionally, and I would eagerly search for a book in the series that I didn't already own. (Do schools still do book fair events? I lived for those.) (Why, yes, I was a nerd, why do you ask?) I also have some memory of joining a BSC-by-mail type deal. I think we got three books at a time or something. Even if I already owned two of the three books in the set being offered, I would rationally explain to my mom that I needed to order it anyway, because everyone needs backup books. What if something happened to my first copy and I was left with a hole in the series? Surely I couldn't be expected to skip from #17: Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery to #19: Claudia and the Bad Joke. I had to have them ALL, plus Super Specials (#7: Snowbound was my favorite special...I remember reading it during one of the few very rare "snowstorms" we got during my childhood).
My friends and I would dream of having our own Babysitters Club, never mind that the only babysitting we did was for our own siblings and we highly resented having to do that. Also, we were like ten or eleven...who leaves their kids with eleven-year-olds?! I guess it was a little different back then, but I just can't imagine leaving my girls with pre-teens. I do remember doing a little baby-sitting for non-family by age 12 or 13, which is the age of the kids in the books, but geez...how did they stay so busy? Parents must have had a lot more date nights back then.
Besides dreaming of our own club, we spent lots of time figuring out which characters we identified with the most. (I liked Kristy because she was a tomboy and into sports. I played softball when I wasn't holed up somewhere with a book.) We spent hours copying the handwriting of each character, and I'm pretty sure I could still imitate the writing of at least three of the original four members. Sad, I know.
I have had a fun walk down memory lane as I read the post and comments related to the BSC. Apparently, it was a series that was a major part of childhood for a lot of us. I would love to go back and read a couple of those old books now, and try to remember what I thought about it the first time around. If only I had some of those old treasures lying around somewhere. Oh, wait, in my mom's storage closet there just happens to be a box of BSC books, in chronological order, through about #80 or so! Duplicate copies of some, but you better believe there's not a single book missing.
I can't wait to share things like this with my girls. One of my most fervent hopes is that they love reading as much as I always have...I feel like it will give us something to bond over. If they do, there's a box of vintage, quality BSC books just waiting for them. If they don't like the BSC, well, there's always Sweet Valley High!
Your turn...what were your favorite books as a child/young adult? Did you love the BSC too? What books are you most looking forward to sharing with your kids?