Overview

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey GN

Review

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The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey GN

Credits

  • Words: Raina Telgemeier and Ann M. Martin
  • Art: Raina Telgemeier
  • Inks: Raina Telgemeier
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: The Truth About Stacey
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Price: $8.99

The classic, long-running book series gets the full graphic novel treatment by Eisner-nominee Raina Telgemeier, and the result is one effortlessly engaging read.

Being a boy, and having little childhood experience with girl-targeted franchises save for a single, older sister who was (gasp!) an avid Sweet Valley High reader, I never knew of The Baby-Sitters Club’s existence until my editor offered me this graphic novel for possible review. Well, I suppose the title did ring some muffled bells in my head, but I’d never actually read any part of the series, nor knew anyone that had, and aside from the insinuations of the title, I didn’t even know what it was about! My girlfriend (also a Sweet Valley High fan!) blah-blah bad-mouthed the GN the moment she saw it, mocking the characters and the story and the dialogue and all around preparing me for a read that (at that point) I couldn’t help but remain skeptical about. Regardless, I had a job to do, and so I took a deep breath, cleared my mind of all remnant recriminations, and cracked open the The Truth About Stacey.

Now, not only was I new to the franchise, but The Truth About Stacey is the second Baby-Sitter’s Club graphic novel (and adapted from the third prose novel), so in truth I was being dropped into the middle of the whole BSC she-bang with neither compass nor simple catamaran to rough the waters of treacherous continuity. Thankfully, nothing of the sort was necessary – Ann M. Martin’s tale as adapted by Eisner-nominee Raina Telgemeier was perfectly understandable, enjoyable, and follow-able without any knowledge of the larger franchise’s history, story, or characters necessary (which was a good thing, as I had none of the above). In fact, I didn’t have an inkling that I was jumping into such deep and entrenched territory until long after I’d read the graphic novel and looked the series’ chronology up online. It was that accessible!

Even better – the entertainment value of the book is off the charts. Recall: I am a boy. I am not prone to liking stories that involve preteen girls sitting in their bedrooms in small groups and talking about all the other preteen girls at their junior high school. Baby-sitting, as a job or even an experience, is not something I have any interest or personal investment in; in short, this story, on a surface level, connects with me not one iota. Yet it did. The characters are instantly likeable, the plot appealing and winsome. There have, in the history of my life, been only three girl-oriented properties that have been this perfectly suited to my very male-centered tastes (and thus marking them as possibly universal, gender-wise) – Anne of Green Gables, the My Little Pony animated movie, and now The Baby-Sitter’s Club graphic novels.

The Truth About Stacey follows the character Stacey McGill and her struggle to come to terms with her diabetes, her new home in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, and also her circle of friends’ (the entirety of the self-proclaimed Baby-Sitters Club) battle with an upstart new local rival, The Baby-Sitters Agency. Auteur Raina Telgemeier masterfully weaves a captivating pictorial epic that covers some of the great childhood struggles – moving to a new town, physical illness, rejection, and capitalist competition. Telgemeier’s art is equally as impressive if not more so; her figures and style are reminiscent of Amelia Rules’ Jim Gownley and Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson, though she imbues her characters with a charming gawkiness all her own. The scenes are flawlessly paced, the story faithful to the source material to nearly a fault, and the dialogue smooth and rhythmic.

If The Truth About Stacey is the paradigm for all forthcoming Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels, then they should all easily be worth twice what Scholastic is charging (a mere $8.99 for a 134-page book!). The first GN – Kristy’s Great Idea – is also by Telgemeier, and she’s signed on for at least the following two (for a total of four in all), so there’s no reason to think that the quality of the product should decline anytime soon. Scholastic was smarter than the average bear to hunt down an up-and-coming talent such as Telgemeier – who also happens to be a coveted Eisner-award nominee – to handle the art and scripting chores for the opening salvoes of this ambitious graphic novel line, and if they can keep such well-chosen artists pouring through the gates, the quality alone should ensure that this franchise has as long and cherished a run as the prose novels before them. This is great comics, no matter which way you cut it – for all ages and all types, bar none.

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To order The Truth About Stacey or the prequel Kristy’s Great Idea direct from Scholastic, go to: http://www.scholastic.com/annmartin/bsc/

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