Review: ‘The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #4’
The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #4: Claudia and Mean Janine
By Ann Martin, Adapted by Raina Telgemeir
Scholastic Graphix, $8.99
[[[The Baby-Sitters Club]]] was perhaps the first series of novels written for the Tween audience before the demographic term was coined. Ann Martin managed to tap into the interests of adolescent girls and depicted their interests, fears, and friendships. Just about every YA series since owes a debt to Martin and her four plucky sitters.
Artist Raina Telgemeier grew up reading the books and therefore brings a level of passion and insight into her adaptation of the books as graphic novels for a new generation of Tweens.
The fourth book in the series focuses largely on Club president Claudia and her brainy sister Janine as the summer after seventh grade begins. To make money, the club decides to run a day care babysitting service for the neighborhood and they find themselves filled with kids and sometimes their pets (never mind questions about liability insurance). Claudia’s summer is turned upside down when her grandmother has a stroke and needs to relearn how to function.
The book moves along briskly enough, giving each character a distinctive look but all the characterization is entirely surface. There’s really not enough to show us who they are as individuals and why they are such good friends. The book moves along until Claudia and Janine have it out and discover things about each other that one would think they knew as siblings under the same roof.
Lined notebook paper with a club member’s thoughts act as chapter breaks although they oddly tell you what you’re about to read rather than reflect on the actions that just ended. It robs the work of an opportunity for some depth.
The book has the 162-page adaptation followed by a short look at the process Telgemeier uses to adapt each novel.
For the intended audience, this will have all the same charm as the original prose works.