Are you a Kristy, a Claudia, a Mary Anne or a Stacey? If you’re like millions of twenty-somethings who grew up on Ann M. Martin’s prolific Baby-Sitters Club series, you can probably answer that question quickly, with evidence and justification, all these years later.
Me? I’m a Mary Anne with a little Kristy thrown in, who wishes she was more like Stacey.
As someone who spent much of my preteen years racing through the 200+ of books in the series, including Super Specials, Mysteries, Baby-Sitters Little Sister, and California Diaries spin-offs, I was embarrassingly excited to hear about Scholastic’s plans to reissue the series. Set to begin in April 2010, the reissue will include updated versions of the first two books, as well as a brand new prequel titled The Summer Before.
From a marketing perspective, this makes near-perfect sense. Here’s my math: The original series ran from 1986-2000. The oldest readers–ten-year-olds who started reading the series in 1986–would be in their mid-thirties by now, right around when they might have 7-10 year old daughters of their own. By reissuing the series now, Scholastic can take advantage of the nostalgia of former BCS fans who will pick up the book for their preteen daughters, nieces, and family friends. If it works as planned, this will continue as younger readers of the original series start to have their preteens to shop for, allowing the reissue to continue for years to come.
There’s a big if here though. Will today’s generation of preteens–raised on Twilight, Miley Cyrus, YouTube, and sexting–latch onto something as safe as the Baby-Sitters Club? And even if they do, will they have the attention spans to follow a series made up of so many books? It’ll be interesting to see what happens in April when it all comes back to life.
In the meantime, I’d like to petition for an adult follow-up to the series that revisits the characters as young adults. It would be the stuff my chick lit dreams are made of.