Saturday, January 13, 2018

Judging By The Covers: The Baby-Sitters Club

Oh, great -- she's talking about The Baby-Sitters Club again...

Yes. Yes, I am.

This time I'm talking about the BSC book covers. There are the covers I grew up with. And then there are the covers that came later, when the books were re-designed and re-printed sometime in the 90's. (There are also the minimalist covers that came later... like this one... but I'm not going to go into those. I'm also not going to bother with the UK covers, though I do encourage you to check those out, for they are gloriously hideous.)

Anyway. Between the first printing of the early BSC books and the re-prints in the 90s, there were some changes. For example, here's book #15 -- the original and the re-release side by side. For the re-release, they shrank the illustration, added the BSC members' pictures on the side, and added some color. No harm, there.

In other cases, they created all-new illustrations for the covers:

Although I will always love the original (left) because it's what I had growing up, I do think Kristy, at least, looks better (well, less babyish) in the updated version on the right. I mean yes, in the book, she does wear jumpers, but... she really shouldn't, is what I'm saying.

So apparently Kirsten Dunst was the paid model for the toddler on the original cover, but all I ever really get from that picture is that the child looks hella heavy. Put down the kid, Claudia, and pay attention to your phantom phone calls!

Aw, I love the original cover the best, even if Stacey seems to be mugging for the camera.

The newer version doesn't work for me. Mary Anne looks too grown-up. I don't know as her overprotective dad would've let her wear that short of a skirt. Yes, I judge.

The house is messier in the second version, which jibes with the book. Then there's Dawn's face. Version 1: Going cuckoo! Version 2: Oncoming migraine.

In the first one, everyone is cute, and in the second, Karen is making an unnecessary mess. That's our Karen!

I definitely prefer the second cover. I never really cared for the original illustration, what with Jamie's weird face and Claudia's chicken elbow.

* * * * *

So those were some of the bigger changes that happened.

Other times, the changes to the illustrations were so subtle, I doubt Scholastic thought anyone would notice.

Can you spot the difference in the two illustrations below?

Did you catch it? Claudia's face is different and Charlotte's hair is darker.

Now look closely at these two...

Jessi's sweater, socks, hair, and... FACE!?!?! What was wrong with her face in the first one, huh?

Mallory's outfit got a color change. At least now she won't clash with the couch.

Mary Anne's hair got smaller and she got a new bathing suit. Stacey's whole head got a makeover.

Jessi's face gets altered... again. She does look (appropriately) younger in the second one. I'm glad they let her keep the awesome 80's jeans, at least.

Heaven knows what was wrong with Kristy's face and posture in the first one. In the first she looks completely spellbound, and in the second, she's... pinching herself?

Jessi gets a new hairstyle!

Kristy loses her totally radical side-swept bangs, gains a baseball cap, and the carnie on the right gets ghosted away...

Do wishes really come true? If you're wishing for a new face and hairstyle and your name is Jessi, I think it's safe to say YES!

* * * * *

In the end, I guess none of the changes were really bad. (And again, if you want to see bad, take a look at the UK covers.)

You may also enjoy (but in a good way) The Definitive Ranking Of Baby-Sitters Club Cover Outfits, over on Buzzfeed, and The Plot Of Every Original 'Baby-Sitters Club' Book, Based On The Covers, at


Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

Hello! Were all the books published with the original covers? I can't find any one past #88 with it and I am wondering if I am wasting my time...

molly said...

I may be a year off, but I think all the BSC books published between 1995 and 1999 (when the original series ended) were done with the "newer" covers (with the girls' portraits on the side.) That's around the time they began reprinting the older books with the portraity covers as well. So to answer your question -- no.