Publication date: April 2010
Hardcover, 224 pages
From the Publishers:
Before there was the Baby-Sitters Club, there were four girls named Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, and Stacey McGill. As they start the summer before seventh grade (also before they start the BSC), each of them is on the cusp of a big change. Kristy is still hung up on hoping that her father will return to her family. Mary Anne has to prove to her father that she's no longer a little girl who needs hundreds of rules. Claudia is navigating her first major crush on a boy. And Stacey is leaving her entire New York City life behind in order to find new friends in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.
This book is a never-before released prequel to The Baby-Sitters Club. My daughter was really excited about this. The book is written from the first-person POV of all four girls. It does this by dedicating alternating chapters to each girl, allowing the reader to get to know each character’s story as related by them. My daughter pointed out that she liked this.
The book gives the reader more background information about each of the four girls, building up to when they all start school and eventually join together to make The Baby-Sitters Club. My only concern was when Claudia turned twelve and had a crush on Frankie, a boy two years older. They started hanging out together, and she was thrilled to be his girlfriend. Her parents allowed this, and although we could sense their discomfort, never once does a parent discuss dating with Claudia. Let me tell you my warning bells went off. This led to a pleasant discussion with my daughter about when to start dating and why. Thankfully, Claudia’s relationship with Frankie was platonic—no kissing or even handholding—and it was over by the end of summer.
We can see by the story that although all four girls are the same age, they have different issues and are dealing with them according to their level of maturity. This is realistic, whatever the issue. As in the case of dating, Kristy and Mary Anne wouldn’t ever think of going out with a boy at age twelve while Claudia did. As a parent, it opened up my eyes to the concerns of young girls who need a measure of independence (such as baby-sitting and earning some pocket money) along with the guidance only a loving parent can give.
Friendships, moving to another city, loss of a parent, divorce, dating, and growing up are some of the themes that run through this book. It was a great mother and daughter read with plenty of things to talk about afterwards.
Disclosure: Thank you to Nikole from Scholastic Canada for sending us this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.