This tween chick-lit book is the first in "The Baby-Sitters Club" series by Ann M. Martin and is published by Scholastic Inc.
Kristy's Great Idea is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Plot SummaryAfter Kristy Thomas' mother has to make multiple phone calls to find an available baby-sitter for Kristy's younger brother, Kristy decides to start a baby-sitters club. The club would meet at specific times each week so parents would be able to reach multiple sitters at one time and with one phone number. Kristy asks her good friends Mary Anne Spier and Claudia Kishi to join the group, along with a new girl in school, Stacey McGill. Kristy is thrilled by the club's successful start, but she is not happy when she is the only sitter available to watch the children of her mother's boyfriend, Watson. Although Kristy dislikes Watson simply because she feels he is trying to intrude on her family, she warms up to his kids and later to him after he and her mother become engaged.
Kristy feels compelled to say what's on her mind at all times, and she confronts Stacey at a club meeting about a lie told by Stacey’s mother regarding Stacey's whereabouts. Stacey shares how her parents have been keeping her recent diabetes diagnosis a secret to those outside the family. The girls resolve their issues with one another, and Kristy hopes that the baby-sitters club will stay together for a long time.
Kristy's mother is firm yet loving with her children. She doesn't tolerate Kristy's rude behavior toward Watson; however, she understands that her divorce and possible remarriage are difficult for them. Kristy's father has not had any contact with his children in over a year. Mary Anne's father has set extensive rules for Mary Anne (such as what she can wear, how she can spend her baby-sitting money, etc.), and she is often frustrated because she is not allowed to do some of the things her friends can with their time and money. When Claudia's parents discover she is performing poorly in school, they quickly establish a homework hour to help her better balance her time between schoolwork and her other interests. They also refuse to let her wear make-up to school.
Other Belief Systems
Watson's 5-year-old daughter, Karen, believes their neighbor is a witch and that their cat is under the neighbor's spell.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What does Kristy do and say to make Watson feel unwelcome around her family?
What might she have done differently to avoid hurting Watson's feelings and upsetting her mom?
- Why is Mary Anne initially unable to join the rest of the club for a pizza party?
What kind of agreement does she make with her father?
Can you describe a similar situation in which you disagreed with someone but came to a compromise?
- Of the comments made by each of the girls during their argument, which ones were said simply to hurt someone else's feelings?
How could they have handled this situation better?
Kristy's mother and Watson consume alcohol with a meal.
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