The Anti-Twilight: The Baby-Sitters Club Is Back

Jeanne Sager

Photo from Scholastic
The return of The Baby-Sitters Club with a pre-quel out on shelves today gave me a chance to revel in nostalgia over the weekend, paging through the all new The Summer Before, followed by a refresher of Kristy's Great Idea.

Placing them both in a box of middle-age books I'm saving for my daughter, I made one vow. She must read these before Twilight.

Not that I'm looking forward to her reading Twilight, to her possibly identifying with a fickle wilting flower who can be convinced in a glance that her world will end without a man.

The very idea turns my stomach. I admit to reading the books, even liking the books, but I read my first at 26, when I could accept them as drivel read purely for escapism and nothing more.

But somehow it's bound to happen, isn't it? Even eight, 10 years down the line, if her voracious taste for reading is like mine, its mere presence on my shelves will be like the cookie calling from the cabinets when you're on a diet.

Before she gets there, she'll need a good supply of strong role models, of girls like the good ol' BSC, who spent their weekends with good friends eating popcorn and having sleepovers, their evenings at the homes of local parents', putting in a good day's work.

Babysitting has somehow been relegated largely to the female world (a pity, I say, as my husband made a fine babysitter as a teen, and I've often used my brother as a back-up), but it carries with it good values: responsibility, discipline, resulting money management skills.

In these silly books that took much of my parents' money and much of my tween time (the summer I turned 8, Kristy's Great Idea was the first book I recall staying up until the wee hours to complete), I was presented an idea that twisted the treatment of babysitting as largely girl's work to an empowering height. They could make money! They could make plans! They could do it without the boys (although, to be fair, there were a few boy sitters along the way)!

At their core, the Baby-Sitters Club books might not be fine literature, but they're just the sort of books that our daughters need -- fun and fundamental.

What books are you eager to share with your daughter?

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