Taking a page from Broadway and George Lucas, Scholastic Inc., the children’s book publisher, is trying for a revival — with a prequel attached.
In April the company plans to reissue repackaged and slightly revised versions of the first two volumes in one of its most successful series, “The Baby-Sitters Club,” in the hopes of igniting enthusiasm in a new generation of readers. And just as Mr. Lucas brought “Star Wars” back with a whole new arc of stories that began before the original series, Scholastic is publishing a newly written prequel, “The Summer Before,” by Ann M. Martin, the original author of “The Baby-Sitters Club” books.
The move follows Scholastic’s 2008 resuscitation of “Goosebumps,” another of its most popular series. For now Scholastic and Ms. Martin only have plans for the one prequel, although the publisher will release three more reissues of the original series later next year.
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Monday, February 1, 2010
Bringing Back the Babysitters
The beloved children's series "The Babysitter's Club" is being reissued this spring, with brand spanking new covers and a new prequel from Ann M. Martin, according to The New York Times:
I was obsessed with this series as a little girl. I read every book multiple times. They were fun, relateable, compelling, and pure. It's refreshing to me that Scholastic is reissuing these gems and giving the youth market some good role models once more, as there so much edge to children's fiction these days.
However, I'm less than enthused about the redesign of the cover. While I agree that they need updating for today's audience, I don't think they went about it the right way. The cartoon-feel makes these books seem TOO young to me. With kids acting more and more mature, even the appropriate age level might shy away from such illustrated covers. In addition, by removing the babysitters themselves from the covers, on of the biggests draws of the series--there's a girl for everyone to relate to, emotionally and physically--is minimized. It takes the reader away from the heart of these novels--the self-discovery, the friendships, the process of growing up.
But at least these are better than the previous adaptation to a graphic novel (on left). I can't imagine that this worked, but who knows.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see if kids in the 21st century love the Babysitter's gang as much as us 20th century kiddies did.