Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: Kristy and the Baby Parade

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Kristy and the Baby Parade (Baby-Sitters Club #45)

Author: Ann M.Martin

Date: 1991

Publisher: Apple/Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-43574-4

Length: 137 pages

Quote: “I admit it. I was bored. I hardly ever get bored while I’m baby-sitting.”

The speaker is Kristy Thomas, founder and president of the Baby-Sitters Club. Kristy is a millionnaire’s stepdaughter with a whim of iron. When she gets bored, there’s no telling what may happen. This time, she finds an advertisement for a “baby parade” for floats on which children under age three are dragged around in costumes, and starts planning costumes for her two-year-old adoptive sister.

But of course Kristy’s vision is bigger than that. Before she can pick a costume the whole BSC are signed up for an “infant-care class” by a customer. While they’re reviewing the basic rules of infant care, each of the seven Baby-Sitters and one or more “babies” for whom she sits gets involved with the idea of entering all of them at once on a motor-towed “float” with the theme of “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.”

Are international readers familiar with this traditional verse?

        “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
        She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.”

Many variants exist; usually people seem to remember it as a four-line poem, although picture-book-length variations have been printed, and these days the most common ending is probably,

        “She gave them some broth without any bread,
        Told them to be quiet, and sent them to bed.”

Children need to know that, in crowded situations, even Mommies and Daddies have been known to make misjudgments…in old books the last line was often printed as “Whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed,” and I’ve even seen “Put them all outdoors, and wished they were dead.” The Baby-Sitters are too nice to think that sort of thoughts, but they do begin to realize that “there could be such a thing as too many babies” in one place at one time.

Still, they’re the Baby-Sitters Club from the Lost Planet of Nice where not even having to be thirteen for ten years keeps people from behaving well, and they behave well. So, for their age, do the babies. Apart from the vanity of an older teenager who has to be seen towing the “shoe” float and all those embarrassingly younger kids behind a car, nobody gets hurt.

To preserve what a Baby-Sitters Club story is allowed to have in the way of suspense, this review will not reveal who wins the prize. It will, however, mention that jacket artist Hodges Soileau was below his usual form when illustrating this one; in the actual story, Kristy’s two-year-old sister does not step on any of the newborns.

BSC books are Fair Trade Books. Buy them here, for $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, and this web site will send $1 to Ann Martin or a charity of her choice. You could fit half a dozen or more of these paperbacks into a package; six regular BSC books in one package would thus cost $35 via postal money order, for which you'd pay the surcharge directly to the post office, or $36 online, for which we'd pay the surcharge to Paypal.