My youngest, 9, does not care to read chapter books and so she isn’t interested in reading the same things her older sister did at the same age. However, she loves reading in comic form, be it manga, comics, or graphic novels. So the challenge is to find her new reading material. She loves Raina Telgemeier so I decided to take a chance on Raina’s graphic novel adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s Kristy’s Great Idea, book one of The Baby-Sitters Club series. I was a big fan of the original BSC books and collected a large number of them. Filled with nostalgia and high expectations of Telgemeier, I looked forward to reading this!
I’m happy to say that Telgemeier has delivered a loving adaptation. Her artwork feels suited to the story of friendship that is at the heart of the BSC books. The short nature of the story probably helped with translating to a graphic novel, and the format works quite well. It has been nearly 30 years since I read Kristy’s Great Idea but I re-read it so many times that the story instantly came back to me as I was reading this version.
Kristy Thomas watches her mother calling around looking for a babysitter, when it dawns on her, wouldn’t it be great if a parent could call one phone number to reach a group of babysitters. And like that the idea for the baby-sitters club is formed. Kristy and her friends Claudia Kishi, Mary Anne Spier, and Stacey McGill are the founding members of the club. Each BSC book would focus on a particular person and this is Kristy’s book.
Kristy’s parents have been divorced for some time and her mom is now dating, Watson, a fellow divorcee with two kids of his own. Kristy is uncomfortable with her her mom dating Watson and refuses to ever baby-sit his kids. Starting the baby-sitting club has its own challenges as the girls navigate working together fairly to share jobs. Their friendship is challenged when Kristy catches Stacey in a lie. It turns out Stacey has a secret, she’s diabetic and has been hiding it from her friends.
I remember as a kid being surprised and then educated about diabetes from this book. I remember this being important when the book came out, to have a diabetic character. And it just goes to show the power of books and the importance of inclusion. Many kids felt seen for the first time in the character of Stacey.
I read this aloud to my daughter and afterwards she clutched the book to her chest and said that we MUST get the rest of the series. Once again Telgemeier knocks it out of the park!