Welcome back to Nostalgic Reads! It’s been a while! Today, we head back to Stoneybrook and the continuing adventures of Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey and Dawn – the Baby-Sitters Club!
About the Book
Title: Baby-Sitters on Board!
Author: Ann M. Martin
Series: The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #1
First Published: July 1, 1988
Blurb: Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, Claudia and Dawn are the luckiest baby-sitters in the world. This summer they’re going on the greatest trip ever: a plane ride to Florida, a boat trip around the Bahamas, and then three days of fun – in Disney World!
Of course they have a million adventures. Claudia gets notes from a mysterious “Secret Admirer.” Kristy, Mary Anne, and Stacey make some unusual new friends. Dawn has her first real romance. And they still have time for what they like best of all – baby-sitting.
Taking a quick break from the regular series with this one. This book is the first of the Baby-Sitters Club Super Specials and, as such, has a differences from the normal books. For starters, it’s a bit longer and has point of view chapters from each of the baby-sitters plus a few other characters, including Mallory (who is not a baby-sitter at this time) and Karen (Kristy’s little stepsister who will go on to have a series of her own later). We’re jumping in here as I am trying to read these chronologically, although there is some inconsistencies with the timeline. As a pre-teen, I didn’t care about that, of course. I just wanted to go along on the adventure!
Reading this as an adult and especially living in a post-9/11, during-COVID world is a trippy experience (pardon the pun). The Pikes have won an all-expenses paid trip that includes a cruise through the Bahamas and then a trip through Disney World. For their family of TEN. Plus the two baby-sitters (Mary-Anne and Stacey) they hired to help with the kids. So as not to leave any of the club out, Kristy’s stepdad, Watson, decides to plan a trip going along with the Pikes and takes the rest of the baby-sitters club with him. Must be nice to have money. Reading about how they traveled through the airport with tons of luggage, how the kids were taken up to the cockpit to meet the pilot during the flight – it all sounds so weird now, especially since I just took a trip a few weeks ago. No extra security! No masks! Bizarre!
Also, several of the children are basically just given the run of the cruise ship and of the islands they are visiting. Like, ten year olds. Call me overprotective, but I would never do that with my kids, especially in an age before cell phones. I’d barely feel comfortable with it now and they are both teenagers.
Of course the book sets us up with lots of potential storylines: a stowaway, a mysterious and glamourous girl who might be an actress or a countess, a treasure map, drama between a neat freak and a slob sharing room, another child on board with an apparent host of medical issues, a rock star, a secret admirer. There’s a lot going on, at least 15 subplots. I’m not going to go into detail about them because that would make this post almost as long as the book itself, but since this is The Baby-Sitters Club, everything gets wrapped up nice and neat by the end of story.
I think my favorite part about reading this one was when they went to Disney World. I grew up in Florida and went to Disney quite a bit when I was a kid. The annual passes were much cheaper back then so we could just go up there for a long weekend. I got to know Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center pretty well. When I went back a few years ago with my own kids, we had a good time but it also made me a little sad because there had been a lot of changes. It wasn’t the same theme park of my childhood. However, the Disney World in this book was exactly the same as my early memories of the place – right down to the 3D movie Captain EO with Michael Jackson. It was nice to be able to revisit it.
I think that’s a big part of why I’m enjoying going back and reading all this stuff for “Nostalgic Reads.” In many ways, it’s like a time capsule of my youth. That’s the magic of reading though, isn’t it?
Categories: nostalgic reads
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