The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine

by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix

Format: softcover, 6x9, black & white, $8.99

ISBN: 978-0-439-88517-1

Reviewed by: School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—
Seventh-grader Claudia Kishi is a talented artist and a dependable baby-sitter, but those things don't seem to matter to her parents, who keep comparing her to her brainiac older sister. When school ends for the summer, Claudia is looking forward to art classes and running a morning day camp for the neighborhood kids with her friends. Everything changes when her beloved grandmother has a stroke. Suddenly, Claudia finds herself taking on more and more responsibilities at home, while Janine gets to focus on her summer classes. Readers will relate to Claudia's struggle to understand her sister and cope with the changes in her family. This installment in the series adapts the seventh title in Martin's original sequence, and the story and characters still feel fresh nearly two decades later. Telgemeier's black-and-white illustrations are crisp and clear, while concise narrative passages keep the focus on the dialogue and action. Here and there, a wordless panel conveys much more than a simple description; if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the portrait of Louie the collie after the day-camp kids "make him look beautiful" must be worth a chapter or two alone. A concluding "Making of" chapter provides a peek into Telgemeier's process when adapting the original novels, which will be especially interesting to readers thinking of developing their own comics. The well-developed characters and familiar struggles with friends, family, and school will keep kids coming back to these books.— Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, Panorama City