the best friends you’ll never have

If you really think about it, the Baby-Sitters Club was a genius idea. Obviously, those at Scholastic and Ann know this already, since I am sure that it paid for many houses and several college educations. But they hit upon a formula that works very, very well when you consider the target audience.

When writing for the middle grade reader, you’re generally advised to write about characters a few years older than the reader. That’s why so many successful books for this age group are about kids aged 13-14–old enough to be seem very glamorous to someone in fourth or fifth grade, but not old enough that they have to deal with issues that you’d find in YA. The BSC, written about seventh and then eighth graders (except for Mal and Jessi), fits this mold exactly.

The Baby-Sitters Club added a little something extra, though, that you don’t see in Girl Talk, et al. And that “something” is… baby-sitting. Why was the inclusion of baby-sitting genius? Yes, baby-sitting is one of those things, like thirteen-year-old boys, that seems much more awesome than it is in reality. You’re a kid, you get baby-sat, it seems like the coolest thing in the world. But naturally, plotlines involving baby-sitting will also involve children. These children are, in many cases, the age of the intended reading audience.

So what the Baby-Sitters Club was able to do was bring the glamour of middle school (everyone who has been through middle school is laughing at the idea of it seeming cool, but you know you thought it was!), but have characters who are the same age as the reader that they can relate to. This way, you get a series that covers all the basis: cool older kids, relatable younger kids.

And that is why Scholastic editors from the late 80s-early/mid-90s were all able to buy yachts!*

*Just kidding.

I had surgery last month, which explains my lapse in posts. But I will now return to a more regular posting schedule.

2 Responses To This Post

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mallorypike said, January 6th, 2016 at 10:19 pm

That’s true! I can’t think of a children’s series better than BSC. Maybe Sweet Valley but BSC is better in my opinion.

greer said, January 8th, 2016 at 11:12 pm

I’ve read very little Sweet Valley, but even so, I’d err on the side of thinking that BSC was a little bit better :)

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