Baby-Sitters Club Vol. 1: Kristy’s Great Idea

By Raina Telgemeier
Adapted from the book by Ann M. Martin
192 pages, black and white
Published by Graphix/Scholastic Books

I have a confession to make, and it’s a doozy. When Scholastic first published Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club books, I used to sneak into my little sister’s room and read them when she wasn’t looking. I was distinctly not the demographic they were looking for, but I didn’t care. Martin’s books were fun, telling the story of four best friends who formed their own baby-sitting business and learned how to deal with clients, school, and each other. Flash forward twenty years, and Scholastic is now publishing the first in what will hopefully be a series of Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Trust me when I say that I couldn’t be more excited, especially now that I’ve seen just what a fantastic job Raina Telgemeier did with the adaptation.

Kristy Thomas is your typical seventh grader; she’s got siblings that can drive her crazy, best friends who live around the corner, and a lot going on in her life. So much, in fact, that she often has to turn down baby-sitting jobs even though she wouldn’t mind the extra money. Then one day she came up with a great idea, forming a pool of sitters that people can contact to get an assortment of possibilities. But will Kristy’s great idea pan out, or will the club collapse before it even really gets started?

It’s hard to transform a book into a graphic novel, even ones that were originally just over 150 pages long. A single page of prose can easily turn into multiple pages of a graphic novel thanks to the nature of sequential art, so one of the first things Telgemeier had to figure out was how to translate one type of book into another. The result? If you didn’t know better you’d think it was always written as a graphic novel. Scenes flow smoothly, the plot is never lost or jerky (like so many comic adaptations), and Telgemeier makes a lot of smart choices in how to adapt different scenes into the comic format. Kristy accidentally ending up as a dog-sitter works well, for instance, thanks to Telgemeier turning the main action into a three-page wordless sequence of everything that goes wrong in the experience. Likewise, Claudia babysitting the unruly Feldman cousins is very much a “show, don’t tell” experience as Telgemeier wisely lets her art tell the story in a more effective way than any thought balloons or narration captions could have. The basic story of Kristy’s Great Idea is in many ways predictable, but it’s hard to really care. The fun isn’t figuring out what the destination will be (somehow I don’t think anyone is really worried that the Club will break up forever), but rather how Martin and Telgemeier get you there.

Telgemeier’s art is perfect for The Baby-Sitters Club. It’s a very clean, energetic style, one that practically bounds across the page with the eagerness of its junior high school characters. People often mistake a simple style art as being underdeveloped, but they only have to see Telgemeier’s work here to know that’s very much not the case. Her characters are amazingly expressive, their faces showing more variety and nuances of human behavior than most artists are able to create. She’s also really good with bringing movement across onto the page, something that’s fairly critical for the story. When the Feldmans start rampaging across the house, you can instantly see just how much craziness is going on and how out of control they’re becoming. Even something as simple as Claudia whipping a pillow off of her bed and up into the air is so clear that you almost feel like you actually saw it move. I was already a big fan of the story of The Baby-Sitters Club before I’d read the graphic novel, and was familiar and liked Telgemeier’s art as well. Now that I’m done, I’ve shifted from liking to absolutely loving Telgemeier’s comics.

This adaptation of The Baby-Sitters Club is pitch-perfect from start to finish; Telgemeier does an astounding job with turning an old-time favorite into a book that a whole new generation will love. When I first received my copy of the book I told myself I’d wait until after I got some chores done before I’d read it. Two hours later, I’d not only read the entire book (most of my chores since abandoned), but I was already starting to re-read it. By the next day, I was seriously thinking about going to the library to see if they had any of the old books on the shelves. Then I realized that what I really wanted was not to re-read the original books, but to read Telgemeier’s adaptations of them. Here’s hoping we get more and soon. Trust me, you’ll be a fan as soon as you give them a try.

Purchase Links:

8 comments to Baby-Sitters Club Vol. 1: Kristy’s Great Idea

  • hey i love ur books they are the best keep making more!!!!

  • cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!
    I have never read such an awsome book….I mean ta say comic book in my life.Kristy is my favorite character,she is like her brothers,mary anne….perhaps she is shy but she is pretty cute,claudia…gorgeous is the word to describe her and stacey…..fabulous in the whole wide world.

  • i love ur boooks they r awsomely awsome cant wait to read more.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • manuella

    i like your books so much thank u for write the book

  • manuella

    i hope u write more

  • ilove these books i want to read the whole season all i read was mary anne saves the day,and so on i read only 4!!! need to read the rest!!! :D

  • alyssa

    i read 1-4 in one night thier so awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • alyssa

    i read 1-4 in one NIGHT it only took 1 HOUR i love them hope you keep wrighting these i love them !!!!!!!!!!