Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Fun Babysitters Club Trivia

Okay, so all of us aging, dedicated BSC fans know that Mary-Ann Spier ran away from her own surprise birthday party and we all skipped that chapter that described each of the club members in detail (because lets face it, the descriptions were the same in every book,) but listed here are some fun facts that you may not have known about this best selling series of children's books.

1. The series lasted fourteen years.

Fourteen years is a very long time. It's even longer when you're thirteen (or eleven,) for twelve and a bit years of that duration. The Babysitters Club debuted in August 1986 with Kristy's Great Idea. The final Babysitters Club book, depicted the four core characters--Kristy, Claudia, Stacey and Mary-Anne finally graduating from Stoneybrook Middle School, along with their friend Abby.

2. BSC merchandise peaked in the early 1990s.

BSC merchandise included various calenders, organisers dolls, videos, a board game and even a line of children's nightdresses. There was also a chain letter book and a how-to guide to babysitting.

3. According to a poll where American readers were invited to vote for their favourite character, Stacey McGill was the most popular.

Kristy Thomas received the least number of votes. Abby did not appear in the poll, as her character did not appear until later in the series.

4. The books inspired numerous spin-off series.

Spin-offs from the Babysitters Club included Babysitters Little Sister (which featured Kristy's stepsister Karen and was aimed at younger readers,) The Babysitters Club Mystery Series (which featured the same characters as the core series but included some kind of mystery to be solved,) The California Diaries which was about Dawn and her friends after her move to California, The Portrait Collection, which was about a school project the eighth grade characters completed, Friends Forever, which wrapped the series up and did not feature key characters such as Mallory Pike and Jessi Ramsey. There were also numerous super specials and three "Reader Request" novels featuring Logan Bruno and Shannon Kilbourne.

5. Only three characters appeared in the series throughout its duration.

Kristy, Claudia and Mary-Anne are the only characters who remain members of the club throughout the entire series. Stacey, the fourth original member, officially left the club twice--once to return to New York (she returned to Stoneybrook after her parents divorced,) and once after she fell in with a bad crowd. She eventually returned to the BSC after discovering that her new so-called friends were using her. The BSC welcomed her back.

6. The other characters appeared as follows:

Dawn Schafer: books #5-#67, #84-#88. Dawn debuted in book #4 as a new girl at Stoneybrook Middle School. She and Mary-Anne soon became best friends (though a misunderstanding early on almost ruined their friendship,) and they soon discovered that Dawn's mother and Mary-Anne's father had been high school sweethearts. (They eventually married.) Dawn returned to live with her father in California on an extended holiday during books 67-83. She returned briefly to Stoneybrook but soon became homesick for California. She moved to California permanently in book #88, but remained an honourary member and made numerous guest appearances in the series, and featured in the spin-off series California Diaries.

Mallory Pike: books #14-#126. A former sitting charge, Mallory was invited to join the BSC after Stacey left for New York. She failed her initiation, but was eventually invited again to join the club after she and her new best friend Jessi started their own Babysitting business. Mallory agreed, but on the condition that Jessi be allowed to join the club too. Mallory eventually left Stoneybrook to attend boarding school.

Jessi Ramsey: books #14-#131. After moving into Stacey McGill's old house, Jessi Ramsey and her family were not initially welcomed into Stoneybrook due to the colour of their skin. This prejudice was soon forgotten when Jessi proved herself to be a talented dancer and a compassionate babysitter (she learned sign language in order to communicate with a deaf sitting charge,) she eventually left the club to spend more time dancing and did not feature as a key character in the Friends Forever series.

Abby Stevenson: books #90-#131. Abby was the asthmatic, jewish and least memorable character of the series, debuting sometime after the books had lost their popularity. She appeared in the Friends Forever series but was not a key character.

7. Author Ann M. Martin surprised fans when she said that she had no strong feelings about Mallory Pike.

During a rare interview in 2010 the softly spoken author was asked what she felt each club member would do when they grew up. She described a future for all of the characters but for Mallory Pike, explaining that she had no strong feelings about the character. This caused some surprise among fans, leading to this little gem on Jezabel.

8. The thirteen year old characters repeat eighth grade three (possibly four) times during the duration of the series.

The girls begin eighth grade in book #10. In book #34 they begin their summer holidays. In book #35 the characters are back in eighth grade at Stoneybrook Middle School. Book #67 depicts them starting eighth grade once again. They start eighth grade again during the Friends Forever series and finally graduate in the last book in the series, the aptly titled Graduation Day.

9. Stacey's full name is Anastacia McGill. 

Despite this, she is known on the back cover of the books as Stacey. Jessi, another character to have her name shortened, is known on the back covers as Jessica. 

10. Abby is the only main character to have a twin.

... and to have a close relationship with her sibling. No other BSC member seems to be particularly close to her brothers or sisters, often dismissing them as annoying or immature. 

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