About the Book

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club #1)
Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-sitters Club #2)
The Truth About Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club #3)
Published: 1986

Once upon a time, I was sitting in a restaurant in NYC with Erin, Jenny, Sarah and Lenore, sharing a delightful dinner of duck sausage and black rice, steak frites, an amazing asparagus dish I can no longer remember due to the delicious cocktails I also consumed, discussing Sweet Valley High and our various ongoing series reviews. I started to say something about all of our loyal readers who clamor for us to tackle The Baby-Sitters Club, something along the lines of, “It’s a book about fucking BABYSITTING. W.T.F.”* when I changed my mind. What prompted this unusual display of sensitivity, especially when I have just proceeded to blow it by publicly relating my almost utterance on the internet? A GENIUS IDEA, that’s what.

*Lest you all think I’m a heartless snob, I want you to know my favorite books at one time were Miss Hickory, about a woman with a chestnut for a head, and Drusilla, about a corn husk doll come to life. So.

You guys, I totally get the nostalgic appeal of The Baby-Sitters Club if you read them as a kid (and yes, it KILLS me to put that hyphen in every time, thank you for asking). But I think I’m the only person I know who DIDN’T read them as a kid. In fact, I had nothing but disdain for them as a kid, having read one chapter of one book once when I spent the night at my friend Stephanie’s house and we watched Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and played Megaman 3 on her Nintendo, and I thought it was totally boring. I mean, how COULD a book about babysitters live up to the excitement of sneaking out to star on Dance TV? It can’t, that’s how.

What? Oh, yeah. My great idea. Who better to listen to your pleas to do a drinking game/recap-review of The Baby(hyphen)Sitters Club than someone who’s never read them? Until now, I mean. I can’t very well review them without reading them, although I was sorely tempted to try after about the 85th babysitting episode. I love babies — hell, I HAVE one (aka Mr. T) — and I was a Red Cross certified babysitter, but there’s only so much one woman can take without a little gin to smooth the way, which is why there’s a drinking game, too! So here are the rules, and remember folks, this all comes from a place of love. For you, not the damn babysitters. I’ll be doing these three or five at a time, depending on how many books I can get my hands on and how much I can take. Because I know this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but did you guys know these books are mainly just A DESCRIPTION OF BABYSITTING JOBS? I just … I … honey, where’s mommy’s drink?

The Official FYA The Baby-Sitters Club Drinking Game

Take a drink when:

  • Stacey’s diabetes is mentioned
  • Kristy calls an emergency meeting
  • Stacey or Claudia call Mary Anne or Kristy babyish
  • Mary Anne cries or blushes
  • Claudia gets candy out of a hiding place in her room
  • Someone describes what Claudia is wearing
  • You want to take Kristy aside and tell her it’s OK to be a lesbian
  • Mimi’s Japanese accent is described as “rolling”
  • The babysitters say something pretentious or lame about being babysitters (i.e. “We babysitters have to stick together!” or “That’s because we’re responsible babysitters!”)

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club #1)
Published: 1986

In which Kristy comes up with the idea for the lamest club ever

Number of Drinks Taken: 37

The Plot and Narrator’s Subplot:

Kristy’s mom has a hard time finding babysitters for her little brother, David Michael (not David. Not Michael. Jesus save you if you call him Davy or Mikey). She spends probably five minutes calling two people before she finds someone to come over, and Kristy, who can’t resist butting into everyone else’s business, comes up with the idea to form a club about babysitting! Except it’s really not a club, it’s a business, but whatever. She bosses her friends Mary Anne and Claudia and the new girl Stacey into sharing babysitting job offers and working out a schedule, AND makes them fill out a log book about all their jobs. Also she hates her mom’s boyfriend and refuses to babysit his kids*, although she claims to be such a responsible babysitter. But in the end, the club can’t save her from Winston’s (or Watson’s? I can’t remember) kids and she ends up liking them and liking Wilson, too, and they bond over cheese fondue.

*I gotta take Kristy’s side here — if this guy is such a great non-custodial parent, why is he always dumping his kids with babysitters? I mean, he only gets them for a weekend, and they spend half of Saturday with a sitter, then like every night with a babysitter while he bones Kristy’s mom. AND he lets his daughter be totally rude to the crazy neighbor lady who is not a witch, she’s just SICK AND TIRED of their cat shitting in her flowerbeds. WTF? No Keith Mars Award of Awesome Dadhood for you, Watson.

The Most Insufferable Babysitter: Kristy

Look, I get it. The club was your idea. The book is from your point of view. But do you have to be so damn bossy? And so snooty about not liking boys or clothes or makeup? Go find Elizabeth Wakefield or something.

Claudia’s Best Outfit:

A baggy yellow-and-black-checked shirt, black pants, red jazz shoes, and a bracelet that looked like it was made from a telephone cord. Her earrings were dangling jointed skeletons that jumped around when she moved.

The red jazz shoes are what did it for me, even though they were up against an outfit with baggy lavender overalls.

Bonus Stacey outfit:

A matching top and skirt made of gray sweatshirt material with big yellow number tens all over it. Her hair was pinned back with clips shaped like rainbows. Little silver whistles were dangling from her ears.

Y’all, I read the REPRINT edition of this book. I can only guess what 2011 tweens have to say about these clothes that are “all very cool.”

Baby Mr. T’s Verdict:

Yeah, the girls are all very responsible babysitters, blah blah blah. But does Mr. T really want to hang out with Kristy? Let’s face it, he probably would love ALL the babysitters. As long as I don’t have to drive her home.

Title: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-Sitters Club #2)
Published: 1986

In which Claudia wears lobster earrings. Oh, and Kristy gets a token boyfriend.

Number of Drinks Taken: 32

The Plot and Narrator’s Subplot:

There’s some weirdo going around calling people and hanging up, then robbing houses. He only steals jewelry, and doesn’t break in when anyone’s home. The girls get all afraid the Phantom Caller is going to crash through the window wearing a Scream mask and murder them break in and steal jewelry when they’re babysitting, so they come up with a code to call the other babysitters so they can alert the police. Anyway, Claudia and Kristy get hang-up phone calls while they’re babysitting, and they get all scared but can never remember the code, even though Kristy bossed everyone into drilling it every day at school. Finally, Kristy and Mary Anne get scary calls while babysitting and call the police, and it turns out the hang-ups were from some boy who liked Kristy and wanted to ask her to the Halloween Hop.

Also, Claudia is in love with Trevor, a moony 12-year-old who writes poetry for the school’s lit mag, which, if my memory of our 7th-grade lit mag serves, probably goes something like this:

C is for cool

L is for love

A is for always

U is for U and Me

D is for daring

I is for I love you

A is for amazing

She also has a hard time doing her homework, and learns some Important Life Lessons about Sibling Rivalry from her grandmother, Mimi, even though her sister Janine is a grade A douche and is probably best friends with Enid, except Enid doesn’t have a high enough IQ to be best friends with Janine.*

*Best quote from the book: “Well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not up to trigonomulus, or whatever it is she does. We can’t all be scholars.”

The Most Insufferable Babysitter: Kristy again!

She’s just so damn bossy. Thank God the book is Claudia’s so I could laugh whenever she got annoyed with Kristy.

Claudia’s Best Outfit

Today, for instance, I’m wearing purple pants that stop just below my knees and are held up with suspenders, white tights with clocks on them, a purple-plaid shirt with a matching hat, my high-top sneakers, and lobster earrings.

Baby Mr. T’s Verdict:

Claudia is awesome, as long as she lets me play with her crazy earrings. But when I try to eat them, she takes them away, and that’s totally bogus.

Title: The Truth About Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club #3)
Published: 1986

In which we get alcohol poisoning because of the diabeetus

Number of Drinks Taken: I lost count at 78

The Plot and Narrator’s Subplot:

These really mean 8th-grade girls who are, like 17 or something so they must be really dumb, too, set up a Baby-Sitters Agency. It’s a copycat BSC, and they’re out to steal the girls’ clients with their late-night-staying, old-birthday-having teenage babysitters! And they’re not even responsible! They, like, totally smoke and watch TV and have their boyfriends over, and the kids are so unhappy. What are the girls going to do? Kristy gets the genius idea to fight the competition by wearing fucking SANDWICH BOARDS TO SCHOOL, as if that’s going to help their image and get kids to join the coolest club ever. Eventually, they tell the parents about the bad babysitters and get them fired. Also, one of their clients has a baby, leading to the best line ever in the book: “I was surprised to see that Mrs. Newton still looked, well, fat.” AWESOME, Stacey.

Also, you guys! Stacey has the diabeetus! But she’s really a perfectly normal kid, and it’s just a disease her body has handling sugar. She’s not weird or anything, she just has the diabeetus. Did you know she has the diabeetus? Anyway, her parents don’t want her to have the diabeetus, so they take her to all these doctors and she’s getting tired of it and she’s not going to take it anymore!

The Most Insufferable Babysitter: It’s a tie! Kristy and Stacey!

Stacey’s fat comment (hey, it’s been a year since I had my kid, and I have people asking me when my second one’s due) puts her in the running this time, although I don’t think I’ll ever NOT want to give Kristy the insufferable award. This time, it’s the sandwich boards. And the 50 million emergency meetings. And all the nattering on about responsible babysitting. I mean, YES, it’s important. I don’t want a babysitter who smokes and brings other people over, either, but damn, girl. The next thing you know, you’re going to grow up to be a Log Cabin Republican with all your judgy judging.

Claudia’s Best Outfit:

Brace yourselves, guys. Stacey totally didn’t describe any of Claudia’s outfits! I think she’s jealous of Claudia’s style. I mean, yeah, that dinosaur pin for your beret is pretty daring, Stace, but I’m willing to bet Claudia has a beret SHAPED like a damn dinosaur.

Baby Mr. T’s Verdict:

Stacey’s cool and all, but I really want to get candy and she totally won’t let me. She says it’ll spoil my dinner — what’s up with that? Who wouldn’t want to spoil a dinner of pureed squash and hamburger?

That’s it for today, guys! Until the next emergency meeting of The Baby-Sitters Club, don’t wear anything Claudia wouldn’t wear, don’t say anything Kristy wouldn’t say, don’t do anything Mary Anne wouldn’t be allowed to do, and don’t eat anything Stacey wouldn’t eat.

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.