Madonna! Leggings! Big hair! Like these ’80s icons, The Baby-Sitters Club is gearing up for comeback. The juggernaut book series for preteen girls had a run of 213 titles and 176 million books sold from 1986 to 2000. The revamped series will skew slightly younger than its original audience of 8-12 year old girls. The New York Times reports Scholastic is bringing out a new “prequel” by Ann M. Martin, the original author of the series, titled “The Summer Before.” One bookseller quoted by the Times thinks the retooled series will sell “really well to the girls who aren’t quite ready for vampires and particularly to the parents of the girls who aren’t quite ready.”
The re-released books will be getting a minor facelift to bring references to technology and fashions up to date. A“cassette player” has become “headphones” and a “perm” has become “an expensive hairstyle,” the Times notes. That’s already led to some grumbling. “If the series really is a classic then wouldn’t changing the text so Claudia can receive phantom texts rather than phantom phone calls be considered sacrilegious?” wonders Margaret Hartmann at the blog Jezebel. ”As a child I appreciated The Secret Garden without Mary taking a jet to Mr. Craven’s ’80s bachelor pad.”
If Scholastic is looking for ideas to update the series, former teacher Maureen Miller has some suggestions at her new blog, McReeney’s Thing on the Internet, rendered in pitch-perfect Baby-Sitters Club jacket copy blurbs:
#1: Kristy’s Great Idea
Kristy thinks the Baby-Sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of laughs–and get them into an academically competitive preparatory school of their choice. But nobody counted on alerts, questions about vaccinations, wild sexts, and parents who don’t always E-mail back. Having a baby-sitters club is hard work, but Kristy and her friends aren’t giving up until they get into Choate!
#8: Boy-Crazy Stacey
Things are great in the Jersey Shore: There’s a housing bust knocking down the rent on the beach house, erosion, plenty of mid-priced chains and lot parking… and the hottest guy Stacey has ever seen! Mary Anne knows that The Sitch is way too old for Stacey, but Stacey’s in luv. She fends off guidettes, fetches him brewskis, and spends all her time with him… instead of the kids. Suddenly, Mary Anne’s doing the work of the day and night nannies working off their undergraduate debt while they pursue master’s degrees, and she doesn’t like it one bit. But how can she tell Stacey that The Sitch isn’t interested–without breaking Stacey’s pride?