“Say hello to your friends (Baby-Sitters Club)”


I’ve always been a super-fan of something. When I find something that I love, I tend to jump on the bandwagon and become infatuated. It happened with “Full House.” It happened with Pogs and snap bracelets. It happened with Elijah Wood (have you seen “The War”?). It happened with “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” and “Lost.” But before any of these things, I was obsessed – OBSESSED – with “The Baby-Sitters Club” books.

(Note: if you have no context for or history with these books, then just stop reading now. This is headed toward pre-pubescent girl territory. You have been warned.)

There was a new book every month. EVERY MONTH! None of this “waiting for years” crap like J.K. Rowling pulls – Ann M. Martin cranked out a paperback novel every 30 days. I would pick up my copy at a local bookstore, and devour it within a few hours. And then, I would write letters to my friend Sheryl in California about how much I loved the BSC*.

(*Yes, I abbreviated. I was that down with these books. Granted, I was also known to sign off by saying, “See you on the pilf” – which was “flip” backwards – so I couldn’t have been THAT cool.)

Each book was narrated by a different member of the club – Kristy, Mary Anne, Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Mallory, or Jessi – and there were 131 books in the series. Occasionally, there would be a “Super Special” edition, which were typically longer and featured narration that traded off chapter-to-chapter.

Wikipedia has some fantastic one-line summaries of each book, such as:
– Dawn and the Impossible Three – Dawn sits for the wild charges of a recent divorcee.
– Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery – Mary Anne gets mysterious letters saying she will have bad luck.
– Stacey’s Ex-Best Friend – Stacey’s best friend Laine believes baby-sitting is for babies, which causes a rift between the two friends.
– Get Well Soon, Mallory – Mallory has not been feeling well and finds out she has mononucleosis.
– Kristy and the Copycat – Kristy’s stepsister Karen continually copies her.

Isn’t it obvious how absolutely riveting these stories were? And all these things happened when they were 11-13 years old!

The characters were diverse, and pigeonholed in their roles. Kristy was the bossy, tomboy leader. Mary Anne was her quiet and studious best friend – and the only one with a steady boyfriend (Logan Bruno, so dreeeeeamy). Dawn was Mary Anne’s other best friend – a health-nut from California who ate tofu and had long, gleaming blond hair. Claudia was Japanese-American, dyslexic, and wolfed down junk food (don’t worry – she was always skinny). Stacey was Claudia’s best friend – a native New Yorker, very “urban-chic,” and had diabetes. Mallory and Jessi, the “junior members,” were only 11-years old, and… well, let’s be honest, no one really cared about them.

I dreamed about being as cool as these girls. It’s amazing how a 9-year old girl can idolize fictional characters; in my mind, they were very real. I paid $15/year to be a member of “The Baby-Sitters Club Fan Club,” getting me a quarterly newsletter and free junk – like BSC buttons and postcards. I had The Baby-Sitters Club wall calendar. I owned every paperback available.

But eventually, the magic faded. I BECAME a baby-sitter – and not just any baby-sitter: Annie the Nanny. I didn’t need to live vicariously through these make-believe girls. When I was in high school, we sold all of these books at a yard sale – chunks of my childhood pawned off for a quarter a piece.

Thank goodness I can go listen to the theme song any time I want.


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  1. Sarah on December 10, 2008 at 10:05 AM

    I absorbed those books growing up. I mean, I had all of the super series and everything. It was only later that I realized I really really disliked babysitting. I did sort of love the movie though. And I hope that you’ve read this, because it’s the best BSC (yes, i’m abbreviating) thing I have EVER READ

  2. Greta on December 10, 2008 at 10:09 AM

    I LOVED THE BSC. How have we not talked about this yet? I always loved reading about Claudia and Stacey’s outfits. And Logan was super, SUPER dreamy. And remember when Mary-Ann and Dawn became step-sisters??

    I graduated from BSC on to the Sweet Valley Twins– lots of boy drama in those ones. :) Did you ever get into those?

    Good start to the day. :)

  3. Kristin on December 10, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Confession: I still have the BSC movie on VHS, as well as the doll collection I acquired during childhood.

  4. Mary on December 10, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    Annie, I too, was the in love with the BSC. We even tried to start our own club, but as soon as the binder was put together (babysitting tips, neighborhood families, CPR guidelines (I KNOW)), we lost interest. ha!

    also, how have we never talked about The War!? SUCH a good movie.

  5. Annie Parsons on December 10, 2008 at 10:14 AM

    Sarah: I LOVE “What Claudia Wore.” Hilarious.

    Greta: I know – how have we never talked about the BSC? I totally read the “Sweet Valley High” books – I remember reading that the twins were “a perfect size 6,” and that became my life goal. And then, I became a size 6… but by that time, the “perfect” size had moved down to a 2. So. I’ll never win.

    Kristin: the movie starring Rachel Leigh Cook as Mary Anne??!? I’m jealous.

    Mary: did you make Kid Kits? :)

  6. Hope on December 10, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    the war?!
    the babysitter’s club ?!

    throw in goosebumps, and i just took a looong walk down memory lane. :)

  7. Faryle on December 10, 2008 at 10:24 AM

    And you just summed up what I did for a large portion of my adolescent life.

  8. eric on December 10, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    i just found your blog through your brothers blog a week ago. great stuff! am i the only dude who reads it? thanks for the note at the top, never been exposed to the BSC…thankfully for me. :)

  9. Annie Parsons on December 10, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Eric, you are not the only guy who reads this blog! Right? Right, guys?



    Will the men of Maundering Pondering please show themselves?

    (I think there are a few… :) )

    In any case, you are welcome here, Eric! Thanks for reading!

  10. Case and Los on December 10, 2008 at 11:09 AM

    I too, owned all of the BSC books. Dawn was my girl, being from CA, blond and healthy. And the Sweet Valley books, and the Thoroughbred club series too (my horse phase was a little long)… When I went to SPU, I donated like 200 of those books to the local library, expecting them to name a wing after me, or something. They didn’t. Go figure.
    p.s. I always wanted to go to Stonybrook.

  11. Rebecca on December 10, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    hahaha i love that on the intro to the show, the frames freeze on the characters and then keep moving again after a moment. khoolest effectz!

    kristy was always super annoying to me. and kind of dawn too. but i loved stacey and claudia a lot. of course, i barely read any of the books. just watched the one vhs we had over and over. it was like i jumped on YOUR bandwagon after you jumped on the REAL bandwagon.

  12. bec on December 10, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    oh, and that last comment was definitely me…using my full name.

  13. Annie Parsons on December 10, 2008 at 11:34 AM

    Becca, I knew it was you. No one besides the Parsons sisters spells it “khoolest.” Except for Derek Zoolander, of course.

  14. Carly on December 10, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Annie, you might enjoy this blog our dear Mary sent me this morning: http://whatclaudiawore.blogspot.com/

    I am pretty excited to click on that link and listen to the theme song!!!

  15. skim on December 10, 2008 at 1:11 PM

    Haha! I LOVE the BSC…and that song! I always randomly burst into that one line–“say hello to your friends”–and have to catch myself before I embarrass myself in front of strangers. In high school I worked on a high school project with a group of girls, and we joked that we were the BSC because we were so picturesque-ly diverse.

  16. Emma on December 10, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    Can you believe that the BSC now has a graphic novel version! Check it out sister.


  17. KP on December 10, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    omgosh. i absolutely LOVED those books too. i’d get a big pile of them at the used bookstore and sit in my room and absorb them for hours and hours. i re-read one of them actually when i was bored a few months ago, not nearly as cool now as i remembered them being. but i always wanted to be kristy, and have a big family. that song brings back memories! totally made kidkits, def read sweet valley high and goosebumps, and my favorite books were when stacey finds out she has diabetes and when claudia breaks her leg. and when dawn finds out she has a “secret passageway” in her bedroom. good times :)

  18. bronzedshoe on December 10, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    I loved these books too! I thought that the girls were so grown up and I wanted to be just like them. I think the stories that stuck with me the most were the ones about one character dealing with her parents divorcing. Maybe because that was my first exposure to the idea of a broken family. Anyway, thanks for this flashback!! Good times.

  19. Tad on December 10, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    Annie’s right, other guys read this blog.

    I always wished I could have been one of the Pevensie’s in Narnia.

  20. ~lady j on December 10, 2008 at 3:09 PM

    I too was obsessed with the BSC! Except I totally wanted to be Jessi (she was a ballerina! that was awesome)… or Claudia. But Mallory never did it for me either. She did eventually end up dating that Australian boy though. Ben Hobart? Right? :) Good for her.

  21. Justin...that's all on December 10, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Here’s another guy who reads the blog. I am out of my element with the whole Baby Sitters Club thing, but it was funny none the less. I was super into The Boxcar Children. Remember those books?

  22. Justin...that's all on December 10, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Here’s another guy who reads the blog. I am out of my element with the whole Baby Sitters Club thing, but it was funny none the less. I was super into The Boxcar Children. Remember those books?

  23. Kristin on December 10, 2008 at 3:52 PM

    Oh man, I LOVED Kristy!

    Annie – most certainly the movie with Rachel Lee Cook and Larisa Oleynik (also seen in The Secret World of Alex Mack as well as 10 Things I Hate about You.) And Schuyler Fisk was Kristy, man I loved her. Also starring in the film SNOW DAY, which I fully intend on watching this week in hopes of our first Seattle snow (keeping fingers crossed for Saturday!)

  24. | B e c k | on December 10, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Annie, I couldn’t compare to part with my complete collection, so you can borrow them any time you want. I think I was either too old or too cool for the TV show/movie, though.

    I’m glad you acknowledge that no one really cared about Mallory and Jessi because that’s EXACTLY what went through my head as you were describing them. You pulled the words from my head verbatim (but not literally… gross.)

    It always pissed me off that Mary Ann, the shy studious one, had the boyfriend. How UNTRUE to life can that be. PSH.

  25. Sara on December 10, 2008 at 4:52 PM


    I have never posted on someone’s wall that I hadn’t met BUT I HAVE TO COMMENT ON THE BSC!!!

    I loved them as well–was part of the official club, started slanting my “s”‘s to write more like Stacey (she was my favorite), and even wrote Ann M. Martin a fan letter! (dooooork, I know–but she did write back!)

    In fact, a friend and I were reminiscing about our BSC days and began planning a party based on that theme…until we realized no man would ever attend such an event.

    At least we still have the Super Specials…

  26. marisa on December 10, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    (the whole time i’ve been reading this post and people’s comments i can’t get the song out of my head…)

    so is it sad that i owned all of the baby sitter’s little sister books? maybe because they were a little shorter…and i like to accomplish things quicker…maybe.

    and i had the boardgame.

    …cause you know that you’re friends are always there…

  27. J-Woo on December 10, 2008 at 10:20 PM

    Wandered here from my good friend Allie’s blog… What a fun blog you have!

    I was obsessed with the BSC too. Had the movie, everything.

    Couldn’t stand tomboy Kristy, thought (at the time) Claudia was a little heathenish always saying “Oh my lord,” and Dawn was just too perfect to really connect with. Maybe I liked Stacey the most…

    But I think I was always a little skeptical that adults would really trust a bunch of 13 and 11 year old girls to take care of their little ones. I remember one book when there was another babysitter club in town, with older teens… but they were quickly put out of business when one of the clients found a cigaratte burn on their sofa! Dun dun dun!!

  28. Valerie on December 10, 2008 at 10:34 PM

    Umm, I used to LOVE the BSC! I totally still have the movie on VHS! I so wanted to be them. Any of them.

    Also: Harry Potter AND Lost AND Lord of the Rings? Annie. Were we separated at birth or what? Because seriously. Add The Office and Newsies to this list and…my head just starts to explode a little bit.

  29. browneyedgirlie on December 11, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    I read these books all. the. time.

    I, too, would go to the bookstore to get the latest one, except, I would stand there and read the first chapter before my mom bought the book.

    I’ve always been a fast reader, too, so by the time we got home, I’d be halfway through the book. My mom often joked that she wanted to turn around and return the book to get her money back.

    I don’t have any of mine left, though, which is a bummer. I was so much like Mary Anne, except I never had a boyfriend as dreamy as Logan…

    Did you ever watch the BSC series on HBO? Loved. that.

  30. Sarah Kate on December 11, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    1). I love how the word mononucleosis was spelled out in it’s entirety.
    2). I just watched Stacey (?) save the trees – with Zack Braff.

  31. wrecklessgirl on December 14, 2008 at 1:19 AM

    BSC were also my favorite books growing up….i did the starting-a-BSC too….then one day, i became a full time live in (mom/)nanny. i blame it on the book series *wink*

    my name is kristy. i was kristy, and i always looked up to kristy. i loved the correlation.

    hey, i wonder where my old BSC books are anyway!

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