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Literature / The Baby-Sitters Club
aka: Baby Sitters Club

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A highly successful and popular series of middle grade books aimed at pre-teen girls, about a group of kids who run a club that offers their services as babysitters. The series was written by Ann M. Martin and published between 1986 and 2000. It also inspired a 1995 film, two different TV series, dolls, 2 board games, 4 educational CD-ROM games, a soundtrack, several graphic novels illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (first 4) and Gale Galligan, and more. Every story was told from the first-person perspective of the protagonist, and began with a description of the rest of the club members.

In most of the books, the title club consisted of:

  • Kristy Thomas: Rags to Riches tomboy with an endless supply of "great ideas"
  • Claudia Kishi: Japanese-American, artistic, defied the "Model Minority" stereotype by being hopeless at school
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  • Stacey McGill: stylish kid from New York, resident math whiz, but most importantly...diabetic.
  • Mary Anne Spier: Author Avatar and Kristy's shy best friend
  • Dawn Schafer: stereotypical "California girl," becomes Mary Anne's stepsister. Eventually gets her own spinoff series.
  • Mallory Pike: wannabe writer who comes from a huge family
  • Jessi Ramsey: the token black kid who experiences racism because of it, aspiring ballerina, and Mallory's best friend
  • Abby Stevenson: Final and latest Sixth Ranger; Jewish, twin, asthmatic, athlete, prone to cracking jokes that are So Unfunny, They're Funny

Secondary characters included:

  • Janine Kishi: Claudia's genius older sister, alternately a source of frustration and support, but she wants to be supportive. Narrates in a Super Special.
  • Charlie Thomas: Kristy's responsible oldest brother, who often drives her and her friends around in exchange for gas money from the club dues.
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  • Sam Thomas: Kristy's second-oldest brother, who often prank calls the club meetings and has a semi-mutual crush on Stacey. Narrates in a Super Special.
  • Karen Brewer: Kristy's little stepsister and a member of her softball team. Title character of the Baby-Sitter's Little Sister series.
  • Jeff Schafer: Dawn's younger brother, whose homesickness for California and acting out was a running subplot between #9-#15. Narrates in a couple Super Specials.
  • Logan Bruno: Mary Anne's boyfriend from Kentucky and part-time club member. Narrates two "Special Edition Reader's Request" books and in several Super Specials.
  • Shannon Kilbourne: Part-time club member and rich-kid friend of Kristy. Narrates a "Special Edition Reader's Request" book and in a couple Super Specials.
  • Cokie Mason: Popular girl who was a rival to most of the club, who often attempted to win Logan away from Mary Anne.
  • Laine Cummings: Stacey's best friend from New York.
  • Sunny Winslow: Dawn's best friend from California. A main character of the California Diaries series and source of much of the drama.
  • Anna Stevenson: Abby's identical twin sister.

There were at least three spinoff series: Baby-Sitter's Little Sister (about Kristy's seven-year-old stepsister, Karen); California Diaries (about Dawn and her friends in California); and Friends Forever (in which the club was reduced to its original four members). As well as these and the main series, there were additional Mysteries, autobiographical, and Super Specials books. Little Sister also had its own spinoff, The Kids In Ms. Colman's Class. As you might suspect, many of the books were ghostwritten, although Martin wrote the original 35 books herself.

A prequel, The Summer Before, was released more recently, about the original four club members during the summer before seventh grade and showing what their lives were like right before they started the club, to coincide with the books being reissued.

     The Main Books In The Series 
  • Kristy's Great Idea (1986) (1st graphic novel, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier.)
  • Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (1986)
  • The Truth about Stacey (1986) (2nd graphic novel, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier.)
  • Mary Anne Saves The Day (1987) (3rd graphic novel, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier.)
  • Dawn and the Impossible Three (1987) (5th graphic novel, the first illustrated by Gale Galligan.)
  • Kristy's Big Day (1987) (6th graphic novel, illustrated by Gale Galligan.)
  • Claudia and Mean Janine (1987) (4th graphic novel, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier. The last one to be illustrated by her before leaving for personal projects.)
  • Boy-Crazy Stacey (1987) (7th graphic novel, illustrated by Gale Galligan.)
  • The Ghost At Dawn's House (1987)
  • Logan Likes Mary Anne! (1987) (8th graphic novel, illustrated by Gale Galligan. To be released in September 2020.)
  • Kristy and the Snobs (1988)
  • Claudia and the New Girl (1988)
  • Good-bye Stacey, Good-Bye (1988)
  • Hello Mallory (1988)
  • Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn (1988)
  • Jessi's Secret Language (1988)
  • Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery (1988)
  • Stacey's Mistake (1988)
  • Claudia and the Bad Joke (1988)
  • Kristy and the Walking Disaster (1989)
  • Mallory and the Trouble with Twins (1989)
  • Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter (1989)
  • Dawn on the Coast (1989)
  • Kristy's Mother Day Surprise (1989)
  • Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger (1989)
  • Claudia and the Sad Good-Bye (1989)
  • Jessi and the Superbrat (1989)
  • Welcome Back, Stacey! (1989)
  • Mallory and the Mystery Diary (1989)
  • Mary Anne and the Great Romance (1990)
  • Dawn's Wicked Step-Sister (1990)
  • Kristy and the Secret of Susan (1990)
  • Claudia and the Great Search (1990)
  • Mary Anne and Too Many Boys (1990)
  • Stacey and the Mystery Of Stoneybrook (1990)
  • Jessi's Baby-sitter (1990)
  • Dawn and the Older Boy (1990)
  • Kristy's Mystery Admirer (1990)
  • Poor Mallory! (1990)
  • Claudia and the Middle School Mystery (1991)
  • Mary Anne vs Logan (1991)
  • Jessi and the Dance School Phantom (1991)
  • Stacey's Emergency (1991)
  • Dawn and the Big Sleepover (1991)
  • Kristy and the Baby Parade (1991)
  • Mary Anne Misses Logan (1991)
  • Mallory on Strike (1991)
  • Jessi's Wish (1991)
  • Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street (1991)
  • Dawn's Big Date (1992)
  • Stacey's Ex-Best Friend (1992)
  • Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies (1992)
  • Kristy for President (1992)
  • Mallory and the Dream Horse (1992)
  • Jessi's Gold Medal (1992)
  • Keep Out, Claudia (1992)
  • Dawn Saves The Planet (1992)
  • Stacey's Choice (1992)
  • Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym) (1992)
  • Mary Anne's Makeover (1992)
  • Jessi and the Awful Secret (1993)
  • Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever (1993)
  • Claudia's Friend (1993)
  • Dawn's Family Feud (1993)
  • Stacey's Big Crush (1993)
  • Maid Mary Anne (1993)
  • Dawn's Big Move (1993)
  • Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter (1993)
  • Get Well Soon, Mallory! (1993)
  • Stacey and the Cheerleader (1993)
  • Claudia and the Perfect Boy (1994)
  • Dawn and the We Love Kids Club (1994)
  • Mary Anne and Miss Priss (1994)
  • Kristy and the Copycat (1994)
  • Jessi's Horrible Prank (1994)
  • Stacey's Lie (1994)
  • Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever (1994)
  • Claudia and Crazy Peaches (1994)
  • Mary Anne Breaks The Rules (1994)
  • Mallory Pike, #1 Fan (1994)
  • Kristy and Mr. Mom (1995)
  • Jessi and the Troublemaker (1995)
  • Stacey vs. the BSC (1995)
  • Dawn and the School Spirit Squad (1995)
  • Claudia Kishi, Live from WSTO! (1995)
  • Mary Anne and Camp BSC (1995)
  • Stacey and the Bad Girls (1995)
  • Farewell, Dawn (1995)
  • Kristy and the Dirty Diapers (1995)
  • Welcome to the BSC, Abby (1995)
  • Claudia and the First Thanksgiving (1995)
  • Mallory's Christmas Wish (1995)
  • Mary Anne and the Memory Garden (1996)
  • Stacey Mc Gill, Super Sitter (1996)
  • Kristy + Bart = ? (1996)
  • Abby's Lucky Thirteen (1996)
  • Claudia and the World's Cutest Baby (1996)
  • Dawn and Too Many Sitters (1996)
  • Stacey's Broken Heart (1996)
  • Kristy's Worst Idea (1996)
  • Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout (1996)
  • Mary Anne and the Little Princess (1996)
  • Happy Birthday, Jessi (1996)
  • Abby's Twin (1997)
  • Stacey the Math Whiz (1997)
  • Claudia, Queen of the Seventh Grade (1997)
  • Mind Your Own Business, Kristy! (1997)
  • Don't Give Up, Mallory (1997)
  • Mary Anne to the Rescue (1997)
  • Abby the Bad Sport (1997)
  • Stacey's Secret Friend (1997)
  • Kristy and the Sister War (1997)
  • Claudia Makes Up Her Mind (1997)
  • The Secret of Mary Anne Spier (1997)
  • Jessi's Big Break (1998)
  • Abby and the Best Kid Ever (1998)
  • Claudia and the Terrible Truth (1998)
  • Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer (1998)
  • Stacey's Ex-Boyfriend (1998)
  • Mary Anne and the Playground Fight (1998)
  • Abby in Wonderland (1998)
  • Kristy in Charge (1998)
  • Claudia's Big Party (1998)
  • Stacey McGill... Matchmaker (1998)
  • Mary Anne in the Middle (1998)
  • The All-New Mallory Pike (1999)
  • Abby's Un-Valentine (1999)
  • Claudia and the Little Liar (1999)
  • Kristy on Bat (1999)
  • Stacey's Movie (1999)
  • The Fire at Mary Anne's House (1999)

The books provide examples of:

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    A-F 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Ross Brown in Abby's Un-Valentine. There's nothing wrong with the kid himself, but the trope fits in because Abby's really not happy about his interest in her.
  • Abusive Parents: At least once, with a dad who verbally and physically abused his seven- and five-year-old. Claudia was there to call in the cavalry and get the mom and kids the help they needed.
  • Academic Athlete: Kristy has the management skills to create the club and be its president. Her sport is softball and she even starts a kids' team. It's also mentioned in at least one book that she's a straight-A student.
  • Accidental Bid: Referenced in Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever. When Stoneybrook Middle School holds a charity auction, Kristy reflects that her only knowledge of auctions is from a movie scene where the heroine sneezes and then has to buy something worth $40,000.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The softball teams that Kristy and Bart coach are called, respectively, Kristy's Krushers and Bart's Bashers.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In Dawn and the Impossible Three, Buddy Barrett appears to have been kidnapped while Dawn is watching him.
    • Similarly, the Mystery story Kristy and the Missing Child. It's pretty much exactly what the title says; one of the BSC charges disappears on his way home from baseball practice. Several fairly horrifying theories are mentioned or considered. The actual scenario, once they figure it out, turns out not to be quite that bad, but it still qualifies as this in and of itself.
    • Stacey remarks in her first book that her parents are overprotective because not only does she have type 1 diabetes, but just after they found this out, her mother learned that she couldn't have any more children. They live in constant fear of losing their only child.
    • There's also Baby Sitters' Island Adventure, in which Claudia and Dawn, along with a handful of their charges are trapped on an island with no means of getting home for a long weekend. As part of the book shows, the parents and friends who can't reach them are scared out of their minds. This is especially worrying for Jessi, who is left in charge for the whole weekend and becomes horrified when Becca, one of the stranded charges, doesn't come home. Her aunt Cecilia, whom she calls for help, blames her for letting Becca go, despite her parents giving permission. Dawn and Jeff's mom is also heard worrying that, even if the kids are fine, her ex-husband will use the incident as proof she's an unfit parent and sue for full custody.
    • In Happy Holidays, Jessi, Jessi's baby brother Squirt is injured in a car accident.
    • Amelia Freeman's fate in Mary Anne and the Memory Garden. Her parents were doing everything right, but thanks to another driver who wasn't, they got into a horrible accident and their thirteen-year-old daughter died.
  • Adults Are Useless: Usually averted. The parents are generally pretty good parents, and the sitters will not hesitate to take advice from them. Sometimes played straight in the Mysteries series, if the girls going to an authority figure would break the plot. However, also often played straight in that the parents of charges are frequently clueless about problems their children are having, until the BSC members bring it to their attention. For example:
    • Mrs. Arnold not realising that her identical twin daughters are acting out because they're sick of being treated like they're one person.
    • Mrs. Addison failing to realize that her kids want to spend some time with her instead of being dumped on sitters all the time.
    • Mrs. Barrett, when she's first introduced, is in the middle of an unpleasant divorce; as a result she is highly disorganized and does things like neglecting to leave the sitters with contact information and even forgetting to inform Dawn of one kid's allergies.
    • In a later book, Mrs. Prezzioso not noticing her older daughter's obsessive finicky behaviour and acting out, as she's too distracted by becoming a pageant mom for her younger daughter.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • One example that stands out in particular is the relationship between Claudia and her genius sister Janine. There are many books where the two of them bond over junk food, have a heart-to-heart talk, and realize that they're Not So Different. By the next book, their relationship is back to where it was.
    • A feature in many Little Sister books, where Karen learns not to be a brat only to promptly forget it by the time the next book comes around. It may be partially Justified by her age though.
    • There were also multiple books where the sitters pushed Charlotte Johanssen into some sort of public performance, only for it to blow up in their faces and for them to have to apologize to Charlotte and her parents. Not only did they not learn any general lessons about respecting boundaries, but even the specific lesson, "Don't force Charlotte to do stuff she doesn't want to do," never seemed to sink in.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • The Junk Bucket.
    • Subverted with the Pink Clinker, which actually works well; Nannie just likes to call it that.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Cokie Mason and her friend Grace.
    • Shawna Riverson is portrayed as an Academic Alpha Bitch in Claudia and the Middle School Mystery where she is the main antagonist. The "academic" part is removed when she appears again in Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies, where she's just The Ditz.
    • In the Little Sister spinoff, Pamela Harding.
  • Always Identical Twins:
    • Abby and Anna; Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold; Mariah and Miranda Shillaber; the Pike triplets are also identical.
    • From the Little Sister series, Terri and Tammy Barkin.
    • Invoked in the Little Sister book "Karen's Twin". One of Karen's classmates wants to be "twins" with her and starts pushing her to dress identically (which even Terri and Tammy don't do) and pouting about the fact that they don't look enough alike. Throughout all of this, not one person brings up the fact that non-identical twins exist.
    • Rather amusingly, the first exception mentioned in the series are Ricky and Rose Salem... who are infants, and because of this, despite the fact that they're not identical in the traditional sense, many people still have difficulty telling them apart.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Alexis, Mallory's initial roommate when she goes to boarding school, clearly has some kind of disorder that leads her to behave in very unpredictable ways.
    • The extent of Claudia's difficulties with school, particularly post-Flanderization, would seem to indicate some kind of learning disability or something else along those lines.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Ducky, in the California Diaries. His best friends are all platonic teenage girls, and his last scene in the series has him buying a ton of books from a bunch of gay authors.
    • Some fans suspect that Kristy fits this trope. She could occasionally be persuaded to wear a dress, and did have an on again-off again "boyfriend" named Bart; but she never seemed to take as much of an interest in him as the other girls did with their own boyfriends, and finally broke up with him. And in the movie, as The Nostalgia Chick noted, there's what can only be described as a Longing Look between her and Claudia.
  • Amicably Divorced:
    • Fairly nuanced with Watson and Lisa. Kristy describes their divorce as friendly, and Watson goes out of his way to help her when she's injured and her second husband is out of town, but the "Little Sister" spinoff series shows that there's still tension there. In one early book, Karen starts acting out as the impact of the divorce begins to hit her (not exactly shining behavior, but normal enough given her age and the major life disruption she's been through), and her parents react by fighting and blaming each other. In a later book, both Watson and Lisa want Karen and Andrew to spend Thanksgiving with their family and both of them want to celebrate on the actual day, so Karen and Andrew end up going to two Thanksgiving feasts in one day. Karen overeats and gets a stomachache, while Andrew ends up falling asleep. To their credit, Watson and Lisa realize their pettiness put the kids in a bad situation and try to compromise better in the future. There's another book where Karen describes how awkward it is to have both of her families trying to enjoy a camping trip together, but at least they're trying. They're also willing to adjust the custody arrangement when Karen and Andrew express distress over the fact that they have so little time with their father.
    • Dawn's parents seem to be a straight example. While we don't see them interact much, when they do, they seem to be on good terms; they never talk badly about each other, and they're both willing to work together (without fighting or being petty) and make sacrifices when it comes to doing what's best for their kids. The longest scene of them together is the first chapter of BSC in the USA, which is a lot of awkward silence until Dawn throws a bagel at Jeff, but it ends with everyone laughing.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • David Michael and Karen, for Kristy. However, it's worth noting that Karen annoyed the readers more than she ever annoyed Kristy — Kristy and Karen are just different enough to get along and just far apart enough in age that their similarities (namely, being bossy and stubborn) don't come into conflict, since Karen hero-worships her stepsister. It also helps that they only live together half the time, at most.
    • Karen herself gets this from Andrew (rarely) and Emily (somewhat more frequently). Notably, many of the cases involving Emily end up deconstructing this a bit; if Emily is acting in a way that's annoying and unusual, it's usually because something is upsetting her and, being a toddler who is still getting used to a new language (presumably she didn't hear much English when she was in Vietnam), she can't communicate well enough to explain what it is.
    • Dawn's brother Jeff, in early books.
    • Claudia can be this to Janine sometimes, though it's more common for Janine to be the one annoying Claudia.
    • All seven of Mallory's siblings qualify, except maybe Vanessa; but she has her moments too. The triplets see Nicky in particular as this, since he's the only brother in the family who isn't a triplet and he desperately wants to hang around with them. Byron is better about it than Adam and Jordan, eventually even agreeing to share a room with Nicky when the other two balk at any changes.
    • Mostly averted, though, with Jessi's younger siblings, Becca and Squirt.
    • Deconstructed a bit in one scene between Haley Braddock and Jessi. Haley admits that while she knows Matt doesn't deliberately try to annoy her (they're actually pretty close most of the time), she's occasionally frustrated about having a sibling with a disability and the fact that her own life sometimes gets caught up in the challenges that come with Matt's deafness. In return, Jessi tells a story about being frustrated with her own siblings' needs interfering with her plans to reassure Haley that what she feels is fairly normal for an older sibling.
  • Arc:
    • Some plotlines spread over a couple of books, such as Kristy adjusting to her stepfamily. At the end of the series Mary Anne's house burns down, which forms the background for the Friends Forever spinoff.
    • The Dawn-considers-moving-back-to-California plotline lasted for so many books that many fans were extremely glad when she ultimately did move back and finally stopped agonizing about it.
  • Artistic License – Child Labor Laws: Some of the BSC members have, or have at one point had an official job with a paycheck, despite them all being 13 or under. In real life, the minimum age to work in Connecticut is 14. It's especially obvious when certain characters get jobs that would never hire someone in their age range in real life, such as 13 year-old Stacy getting a job at a fancy department store or Laine working at a trendy New York boutique.
    • Similarly the minimum age to work in New Jersey is 14, so in there's no way 12 year-old Chris from Mary Anne and Too Many Boys could have actually worked at the Ice-Cream Palace.
  • Artistic License – Law: In Mary Anne Saves the Day, her father comes home grousing about losing a grand larceny case where the person was clearly guilty, and then takes a phone call, presumably from someone in his office, about appealing the ruling. If he was upset about a criminal going free, then he was obviously a prosecutor, and as such would have known that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime if they were found not guilty. This is called "double jeopardy", and is part of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Richard also could not be a prosecutor and own his own law firm (mentioned in the subsequent book), since prosecutors don't have private practices; they're employed by the government. (It is possible it was a civil trial involving larceny, i.e. a victim suing the perpetrator, which would explain both of these, but if that's the case, he's talking about it in a very casual/imprecise way, not at all like someone with his supposed level of experience and familiarity.)
  • Ascended Extra: Mallory is a baby-sitting charge during the first several books, although her parents eventually agree that she can be the second sitter (they always hire two sitters when all eight children are home). Later, when the club needs additional members, she gets brought in as a main cast member.
  • Asian Airhead: Claudia. Early books treat this very mildly; later books make her seem almost borderline developmentally delayed. Made worse in the movie.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Janine Kishi is Asian and extremely brainy.
  • Author Appeal: Ann M. Martin had the girls, as well as their classmates and the kids they babysat, watch the same TV shows and movies she enjoyed as a child. The result is a bunch of preteens from The '80s and The '90s whose pop culture references mostly come from Leave It to Beaver, I Love Lucy, and other shows that were canceled decades before they were born. However, there's also some Truth in Television here (literally), because the books were written for the most part in The '80s. At the time, kids were watching reruns of classic sitcoms because basic cable stations, especially the TBS Super Station and USA Network, showed them nonstop as a source of cheap daytime programming filler. Additionally, Nick @ Nite debuted in the mid-80s and took over children's programming with reruns of some of these same sitcoms starting at 8 PM.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults
  • Beauty Contest: The Little Miss Stoneybrook contest.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mary Anne can get extremely vindictive when she is pushed too far.
  • Big Applesauce: Stacey is constantly reminding the readers how awesome New York is. The other book narrators make a big deal out of Stacey being from the city as well.
  • Black Best Friend: Jessi is friends with the other girls, and also black.
  • Blended Family Drama:
    • Downplayed with Kirsty and her new stepfather Watson. She initially acts like a brat to him when he starts dating her mother, but this is fully resolved by the time he and Elizabeth get engaged, and she eventually accepts him as part of her family. She also bonds pretty easily with her new stepsiblings.
    • The series mines some drama from this trope when Mary Anne's single father Richard marries his high school sweetheart, Sharon (Dawn's single mother). Although Mary Anne and Dawn are good friends, they take some time to get used to the notion of a stepfamily. They soon get over it, though, and Mary Anne also develops a good relationship with Sharon. However, Dawn later begins to miss California enough to move back there to live with her biological dad.
    • Downplayed for the Barrett-DeWitt family. There's a little bit of tension initially, but most of the major conflict comes from them trying to cram nine people (including two toddlers) into a fairly small house. In fact, when they draw up plans to expand the house, the five non-toddler kids object to the layout because it's set up to give each child their own small bedroom, but they've decided that while their current rooms are too small, they like the underlying idea of having a room together and would rather have two larger bedrooms (one for the boys, one for the girls) to share.
  • Blessed With Suck: Rosie in Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street. Being a Child Prodigy who's talented at everything isn't so great when your parents force you to take dozens of extracurriculars to "improve your skills", constantly push you to be perfect at everything you do (to the point that even things you enjoy doing are no longer fun), and you have no friends because everyone at school either hates you or is jealous of you.
  • Blithe Spirit: Abby is noticeably sassier and more irreverent than the other girls, particularly where (post-Flanderization) Kristy's rules and bossiness are concerned.
  • The Board Game: Two, actually - a regular one and a mystery one.
  • Book Dumb: Claudia is hopeless at school, hates math, and has serious spelling problems.
  • Bookworm: Mallory, and Jessi to a lesser extent.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Karen. Good grief, Karen. Jenny Prezzioso is seen as such by the sitters.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: All of them have their moments, some more than the others, depending on the book.
    • Claudia is the most stereotypical example. Besides art, her main interests include clothes and boys, she hates studying, whines every time she has homework, thinks her parents don't understand her, hides things in her bedroom her parents don't approve, and acts bratty to her older sister because she's jealous of her.
    • Dawn has probably the worst example of this trope in Here Come the Bridesmaids! when her father is getting remarried. She all but pitches a fit because her stepmother-to-be doesn't want to have Mary Anne as a bridesmaid as well as Dawn. Remember, Mary Anne is Dawn's stepsister on her mother's side and is not remotely related to Dawn's father, let alone his new bride. Furthermore, Dawn never asked if Mary Anne could be a bridesmaid. She just assumed that Mary Anne would be sharing the moment with her and bought her a dress. To Dawn's credit, she never brings up her (frankly, stupid) assumption to her father or stepmother. But Mary Anne still ends up wearing the bridesmaid dress, because she assumed it'd be a church wedding, not a beach wedding, and didn't pack appropriately. One has to wonder just what Dawn's father and stepmother thought about that.
    • Kristy has shades of this in the first book in the series, when she is flat-out opposed to her mother's developing relationship with Watson. She insults the man, refuses to eat dinner when he treats them, and is generally unpleasant. It seems to be less a matter of her disliking Watson personally and more of a desire to keep her fractured family from experiencing any additional changes. Happily, she warms up to him in time (finally meeting Karen and Andrew helps), and before the end of the book, she's decided she's okay with the idea of him marrying her mother. In a later book, she admits that she loves him a lot.
  • Broad Strokes: The books make a few vague references to the 1995 film. BSC in the USA has Kristy mention her father's "sneak visit" where she had to lie to all her friends, and she also writes about it for her autobiography project in Kristy's Book. The only thing that really gets talked about, though, is the Kristy and her father plotline— the greenhouse, the day camp, Cokie Mason, Cousin Luka, and especially Dawn going on a date with Alan Gray are left in canon limbo.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    • Probably the worst example was when the girls were in New York and a British diplomat oh-so-conveniently staying in the same building as Stacey's friend Laine needed two thirteen-year-old baby-sitters to show his kids around the city.
    • A couple of books feature them intentionally setting this up. During the time when Stacey is living in New York, she invites the others up for a weekend to babysit the kids in her building while the adults are at a conference, and Stacey later comes to Stoneybrook to help out when they plan a special event for Mothers Day.
    • The BSC assume that they will be taking a Busman's Holiday wherever they go, such as when Dawn goes to visit her dad in California and remarks that she may babysit for some of her old clients while she's there. You know, because their parents wouldn't have found new sitters since she left the state, and would be so thoughtless as to intrude on her two weeks with her non-custodial parent by asking her to work.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Mallory has bad things happening to her in many books. The other girls have their moments too.
    • Mallory's brother Nicky is always picked on by his older brothers.
    • Jackie Rodowsky only appears to be clumsy, unlucky, and attract all kinds of disaster.
  • Buxom Is Better: Stacey mentally snarks at how much smaller Mary Anne's chest is in her bikini top than her own.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kristy and her older brothers finally get to do this to their Disappeared Dad in Kristy's Big News, where they spell out in no uncertain terms just how much their lives got turned upside down when he abandoned the family.
  • Cats Are Mean: Boo-Boo, Watson's cat, who is mostly mean because he's old and wants to be left alone. Boo-Boo is probably the only straight example though; most of the other cats in the series are at worst aloof, and some (like Mary Anne's cat Tigger) are downright friendly.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Several involving Dawn:
      • In Mary Anne Saves the Day, the narrator Mary Anne meets Dawn for the first time and explicitly says she's pleasant-looking, but not pretty. In later books she is always described as drop-dead gorgeous.
      • In the early books, Dawn is a semi-vegetarian who eats chicken and fish; she avoids red meat because she thinks it's unhealthy and doesn't like the taste. She specifically says in one book that her vegetarianism doesn't have anything to do with feeling sorry for cows, and in fact she doesn't even like animals all that much. This is somewhat hard to reconcile with the radical environmentalist she is in the later books.
      • Early books also show her and her father as very organized and practical, as a contrast to her absent-minded mother. She's not as organized as Mary Anne, but she's close, and Jack Schafer plans a trip to Disneyland like a war campaign. But after her mother marries Mary Anne's father, Dawn and her dad both get hit hard by the "California casual" stereotype. They're never quite as bad as Sharon, but they're written to contrast with Mary Anne and her extremely organized father.
    • In Jessi's first appearance (Hello, Mallory), we learn that she loves to tell jokes, and apparently "knows more jokes than anyone in the world". To the point that Mallory asks her if she wants to become a comedian and then Jessi reveals that she actually wants to be a dancer. In all the other books, "the dancer" becomes Jessi's defining trait while her fondness for telling jokes is never brought up again.
    • In Kristy's Big Idea and Kristy's Book, Elizabeth Thomas relies on babysitters and day care in order to prevent Charlie, Sam, and Kristy from feeling like parents to David Michael. In Kristy's Big Day, however, Charlie rages at his father about having had to quit baseball in order to stay home with the baby David Michael, giving readers a more troubled impression of the Thomas siblings' childhoods than had been previously depicted. (Of course, given the time lag between when Patrick left and the start of the series, it's possible that Charlie did bear a greater burden at first, especially given that Kristy and possibly also Sam would have been too young to share responsibility, and it was only later that Elizabeth was able to organize things so he didn't have to.)
    • Early on, Jill, a member of the We (Heart) Kids Club, is established as serious and thoughtful; at one point, Dawn describes her as being like Mary Anne. In the first California Diaries book she is portrayed as very childish, which contributes to Dawn, Maggie and Sunny drifting away from her.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: This series practically owns this trope.
  • The Chew Toy: Jackie Rodowsky, an extremely clumsy and danger-prone kid.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Rosie Wilder is a smart and multitalented little girl. Naturally the kid gets paired with Claudia.
    • Jessi seems to be this to some level with ballet. She's the youngest person in the advanced class, is frequently getting invited to special classes, and gets several lead roles over the older dancers.
    • Susan Felder with music (specifically the piano) and with keeping track of dates.
  • Christmas in July: The BSC throw a "Christmas in Summer" party for sitting charge James Hobart, who is Australian, to cheer him up when he has a broken leg. This happened again at summer camp in one of the Super Specials.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: This is pretty much the case for most of the girls' non-BSC friends, with the major exceptions being Laine Cummings, Stacey's on-again, off-again best friend from New York, and Sunny Winslow, Dawn's Troubled, but Cute best friend from California. But Sunny starts her own baby-sitting club, anyway, so she doesn't really count.
  • Class Trip: Several, most notably the school-wide ski trip.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Dawn shows a dose of this in Mary Anne's Makeover, in which she admits that she's jealous of all the time Mary Anne's been spending with her father and that it makes her miss her own terribly. Dawn comes off as being resentful of Mary Anne for having her father around... apparently forgetting that this is Mary Anne's only living parent.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dawn's mother, with Dawn being her Cloudcuckoolander's Minder. Mrs. Barrett is like this when first introduced, although she improves in later books.
  • Comic-Book Time: The series spans nearly 20 years but the gitls never become high schoolers.
  • Competence Zone: Age eleven. Ten-year-olds are practically infants in comparison.
  • Condescending Compassion: Stacey toward a new girl in one book.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Kristy, Dawn, Mallory and Jessi, to their respective siblings.
    • Janine is slowly revealed to be this, though Claudia initially doesn't see her this way.
    • Later books in the series have Stacey as this to Charlotte Johanssen; both are only children, and take to calling each other "big sis" and "little sis".
  • Cool Old Lady: Nannie (Kristy's grandma) is the young in spirit "active old lady" type, Mimi (Claudia's grandma) is the "sweet old lady" type.
  • Costume Porn: Any given book will have several detailed descriptions of all the girls' outfits, but especially Claudia's. There's usually a shopping trip to the local mall, too, which enters Fridge Logic territory when one wonders how they manage to afford all that stuff on their $4.00-an-hour babysitting gigs.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Happens to Kristy in The Movie.
  • Death Glare: Kristy's "Look"
  • Darker and Edgier: The California Diaries series. However, the use of this trope surprisingly didn't come off as cheesy or overdone. It allowed for more character development and exploration of realistic adolescent themes, like depression, drifting away from childhood friends, and (arguably) closeted homosexuality.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Amelia Freeman, though mentioned, was largely a background character until Mary Anne and the Memory Garden, the book in which she dies partway through.
  • Death of a Child: Mary Anne and the Memory Garden has an Ascended Extra classmate die in a car accident.
  • Dinner Order Flub: In one book, Claudia goes out with a guy she likes to a French restaurant. The guy is a very smart/intellectual type, and Claudia is trying to keep him from realizing she's not. She figures hey, she's not a picky eater, so she picks something on the menu at random. The "something" in question turns out to be escargot, or snails, which she then forces herself to eat to keep up the pretense.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kristy's father, Patrick Thomas, abandoned his wife and four children and almost never calls or writes.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul":
    • Stacey is not fond of being called Anastasia.
    • King, one of Logan's football teammates, does NOT like it when people call him by his given name, Clarence.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The whole plotline about Stacey's diabetes and the associated stigma leading to her moving away from New York lest she lose all her friends. In retrospect, the series' origins in the late eighties makes it likely that the diabetes stood in for something else.
    • It's mentioned constantly that Mary Anne's father loosened up considerably when he started seeing Dawn's mother. Adults rereading the series could easily read between the lines there.
  • Drunk Driver:
    • One of their classmates, Amelia, is killed by a drunk driver in Mary Anne and the Memory Garden.
    • Abby's father was killed by a drunk driver prior to her series debut. According to Abby's Book, his death is the reason their mom moves Abby and Anna to Stoneybrook in the first place — to distance herself from the memories.
  • Education Mama: In Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street, Claudia babysits a Child Prodigy named Rosie. Because of her incredible intelligence, her parents force her to take tons of classes and extracurriculars, to the point that she gets sick of it and declares that she just wants to be a normal kid.
  • Egg Sitting: One book focuses on this.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Dawn's middle name is Read. Figure that one out.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Boontsie (Stacey), Sunshine (Dawn), Shannie (Shannon)
  • Enhance Button: In one of the Super Mysteries specials.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In one of the mysteries books, a movie star is condescending towards his co-star (whom the BSC know and are babysitting) and refuses to work any harder than absolutely necessary. But when one of his fans is revealed to have been sabotaging said co-star, with two of the events (replacing breakaway glass with real glass and cutting his limo's brakes) potentially being lethal, for "stealing [Actor]'s spotlight", he's noticeably horrified.
    • Another mystery book is about fires being set at the local library, which has started a program to get kids reading. The program also attracts the attention of some book-banning protesters, who stand outside of the library and demand that the employees remove certain texts from the reading list. Naturally, the girls treat them as suspects in the book burning crime, and at one point ask them about it. The group's leader admits that while she has burned books in the past, she now realizes the dangers of that tactic and advocates peaceful protest instead—they want the books out of kids' hands, not destroyed.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: There are two out of four white girls from out of state: Stacey, the sophisticated New Yorker, and Dawn, the breezy Californian. Lampshaded in one book where Kristy reminisces about how she first met Shannon (whom she intensely disliked at first) and snarks about the trope in relation to Shannon and her friends, all but one of whom are blonde.
  • Everytown, America: Stoneybrook
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lampshaded by Jessi in Hello, Mallory, when she snarks that naming a babysitting club "The Baby-sitters Club" is incredibly obvious.
    Jessi: I mean, it's like calling a restaurant The Restaurant.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: Rosie Wilder's parents more or less try to force her to be this, with predictably poor results. Rosie becomes this for real at the end of her first book when she decides, after talking it out with her parents, to pick one extracurricular in each of three categories (academic, performance, and creative) to focus on. With the pressure gone and no longer constantly jumping from one thing to the next, she begins to enjoy her chosen activities (math club, violin, and art lessons).
    • Sean and Corrie Addison's parents also force them to be this. In contrast to Rosie's parents (who were genuinely, if misguidedly, trying to nurture her talents), the Addisons seem to do this primarily just to keep their kids occupied and out of their way so they can have "time to [them]selves".
    • Shannon Kilbourne is involved in several school clubs in addition to the BSC, even having leadership roles in a few of them, entirely by her own choice. The only time it becomes difficult for her is during Kristy and the Sister War; the rest of the time, she handles it all very well and even seems to enjoy having a packed schedule.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mary Anne tended towards this in several books. Lampshaded in one book where she agrees to help an old lady around the house in exchange for sewing lessons, and soon is taking calls from her at all hours of the day, even interrupting a date with Logan to go over and help her with something; it apparently never occurs to her to say no until Logan insists.
  • Extruded Book Product: What eventually happened to the series.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The BSC were allowed to succeed most of the time, but once the problems get big, like trying to keep an autistic savant from being sent Off to Boarding School or reform a racist family, the Aesop is always along the lines of You Can't Make A Difference When You're Thirteen Years Old. Little Sister was even worse about this, with Karen failing at nearly everything she tried to do because You Really Can't Make A Difference When You're Seven Years Old. The only time Karen actually succeeded was during a Whole Plot Reference to The Secret Garden, since you can't very well have your Mary Lennox surrogate not shake things up.
  • Fanservice: Somewhat creepily, Stacey. She notes how well she fills out the top of her string bikini.
  • First Girl Wins: Dawn's mother was Mary Anne's father's first love, but they drifted apart because her parents didn't approve. Some twenty years later, they finally tied the knot.
  • 555: All phone numbers in this series begin with 555 (or KL5, to be more specific).
  • Five-Token Band: Let's see. We have a Japanese-American girl, an African-American girl, a boy, three girls with divorced parents, two girls with one deceased parent each, one Jewish girl, a diabetic girl, and an asthmatic girl... and that's just in the club itself.
  • Flanderization:
    • All of the girls' quirks suffered this to some degree with the ghost writers, most notably Kristy's bossiness, Dawn's passion for environmental causes, and Claudia's bad spelling.
    • Margo Pike's motion sickness. In Boy-Crazy Stacey, Margo almost gets carsick on the way to Sea City but feels better once she moves to the front seat. Somehow, this turned into pretty much her only character trait, to the point where it was surprising she could walk down the street without getting sick.
    • In early books, Vanessa's talking in rhyme is something she does only occasionally. In later books, she almost never stops.
  • Food Porn: Especially prominent in Dawn and Claudia books.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: The original four members: Kristy is known for her leadership skills and great ideas, which along with her outgoing nature make her a good softball coach. Mary Anne is very organized and has a sensitive and shy nature. Claudia is a passionate artist and is known for her creativity and fashion sense as well as being boy-crazy. Last of all there is Stacey, who is like Claudia but a more sophisticated math genius who is admired because she's from New York.
  • Free-Range Children: The club themselves are actually the worst offenders of this. It's one thing in a relatively small city like Stoneybrook seems to be, but even when they're on vacation in other places, these eleven- and thirteen-year-olds are still allowed to roam around freely without adult supervision, even in New York City.
  • Friend to All Children: Obviously all of them, especially Kristy.
  • Frozen in Time: The girls spent literally dozens of birthdays, holidays, and summers in eighth grade. At one point Claudia was demoted to seventh grade, but the others stayed in place. They finally finished middle school in the last book of the Friends Forever spinoff.
  • Full-Name Basis: Gabbie Perkins refers to everybody by their first and last names.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • Used for Jessi's ballet teacher, who is French. (When combined with Jessi's very loopy penmanship in the handwritten chapter openings, it's practically indecipherable.)
    • Also Logan's southern accent, the Hobarts' Australian accent, and any allergy speak.
    • And in the Super Special where they go to camp, one girl has a pronounced lisp.

    G-O 
  • Granola Girl: Dawn loves the beach and California living, and is a health food nut, an environmentalist, and a strong opponent of guns and violence.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: During Mimi's recovery from a stroke, she struggles to remember the proper English words for items and usually remembers their Japanese equivalents first (i.e. "kodomo" for "child" or "shiroku" for "white").
  • Happily Married: Claudia's, Mallory's and Jessi's parents. Also Elizabeth and Watson, and Sharon and Richard. Richard was also this with Mary Anne's mother until her death.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • In one of the 2010 reissues, "thongs" was changed to "flip-flops", for obvious reasons.
    • Logan also says "I decided to act as if I’d seen a million little kids fly through the air and nearly cream themselves on pianos, though" when Jackie Rodowsky (who else?) leaps off the couch and nearly crashes into the piano in Super Special 11: The Baby-Sitters Remember.
    • Not to mention the harmonica going "WAAAAAAAAAANK!" in Stacey vs. the BSC.
    • And in one book, a particularly big crying fit by Mary Anne was described as "Mary Anne became a gusher."
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Mallory writes a play that makes her look ideal. Her family? Not so much.
  • Hollywood Autism: Kristy and the Secret of Susan is a blatant example of this. Martin gave Susan every single symptom imaginable (this does not happen in reality) and portrays her as the stereotypical savant with all sorts of impossible abilities.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kristy.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Jessi says this in regards to "Follow that cab."
  • I Am Not Pretty: Mallory sees herself as this.
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • Dawn's "I'm Awesome!" necklace
    • The fandom loves to snark about the outfit Mallory wore to her first meeting: a red jumper with her name on it and white tights with little hearts.
    • Mary Anne's "famous cities" skirt is pretty well-known and liked in the fandom.
  • Identical Grandson: One of the later books has Claudia thinking she might be adopted due to some flimsy circumstantial evidence. When she finally talks to her parents about it, they assure her that she's not - and as proof, they show her old photographs of her beloved grandmother Mimi, who looked exactly like Claudia when she was young.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy:
    • Jamie Newton, towards his infant sister Lucy in early books (especially Claudia and Mean Janine) but he gets over it.
    • In Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise, this is Andrew's reaction after learning that their parents will adopt a child. He gets better after Kristy comforts him. There's also a brief moment where Andrew's older sister Karen is worried that her baby sister will become Watson's Daddy's Girl instead of her, but she gets over it very quickly.
    • Jenny Prezzioso's jealousy over the upcoming baby is the main subplot of "Mary Anne Vs. Logan", thinking the baby will get all her parents's attention. Once she sees her baby sister, she comes to love her, though her jealousy occasionally comes back in later books.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Claudia is supposed to be a great artist, but since the books don't have any illustrations, we're not given much evidence.
    • Mary Anne was made club secretary because of her supposedly neat handwriting. Many readers found that, of all the girls' handwriting that appear in the books, Mary Anne's is one of the most difficult to read.
    • When Mal first meets Jessi in "Hello, Mallory", Becca says Jessi knows a lot of good jokes. This is never brought up again later in the books at all.
  • Informed Attribute: Dawn is supposed to be the "individual" of the group, but she changes her appearance and behavior not once, but twice - just to get a guy.
  • Informed Judaism: Abby usually has this going on, although one book does give her a Bat Mitzvah.
  • Initiation Ceremony:
    • In one book, Kristy tries to join a girls' softball team at SMS, which holds a hazing ritual for new members to spray-paint an old shed. This leads to disaster when the shed subsequently burns down, and Kristy assumes it must be from the highly flammable paint.
    • Kristy also makes up an initiation ceremony on the spot for Mallory and Jessi joining the Club, which hurts Dawn's feelings because there was no formal ceremony for her— they just took a vote and toasted it with pizza. Dawn wonders to herself if it's because Kristy still resents her for being Mary Anne's other best friend. (Dawn did get a brief ceremony when she was 'promoted' to replace Stacey as treasurer, though.)
  • Intelligence = Isolation: Very common in the series.
    • Claudia's sister Janine is a Teen Genius with an IQ of 196 who frequently confuses the others with her Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. She has not much of a social life and spends most of her time on her computer. She's secretly jealous of her less intelligent sister Claudia because she has a lot of friends.
    • Charlotte Johanssen. In the third book it's revealed that she's ostracized and bullied by her classmates for being so smart. They make fun of Charlotte and call her a Teacher's Pet. She gets to skip a grade, which resolves the issue.
    • Rosie Wilder is a Child Prodigy not just at academics (she's as smart as Janine), but extremely talented at everything. However, she's also a Broken Ace hated by all her classmates. It helps that, unlike the two examples above, Rosie is kind of an obnoxious Jerkass and as a result no one gets along with her (not even fellow genius Janine) until she forms an Odd Friendship with Claudia.
  • Jerkass: Kristy's father Patrick is portrayed this way in the Forever Friends book where he remarries, and even more so in The Movie. It's also hinted in Claudia's Book, where she notes that as a little girl she seriously disliked Mr. Thomas.
  • Just Friends: One book is based around Kristy's relationship with Bart and whether or not they would become an Official Couple. Kristy finally decides they should remain "just friends" when it becomes clear that Bart expects more from the relationship than she wants.
  • Kid Detective: There was an entire spinoff Mystery series based on this trope.
  • Kids Are Cruel:
    • The classmates of the baby-sitting charges (especially Charlotte's before she skips a grade), though this is existent in the BSC's classmates as well, especially in Mallory and Jessi's sixth grade class. They actually are so relentlessly cruel to Mallory that she ultimately gets her parents to send her to boarding school to get away from them.
    • Played ridiculously straight in Poor Mallory!. After Mallory's dad loses his job, Mallory and all her seven siblings get bullied at school because of that.
    • Some of the charges can be this too. Lou McNally and Sean Addison in particular both show shades of this, and some of the Pike kids (particularly the triplets) occasionally behave this way towards their siblings. There's also Betsy Sobak, who doesn't intend to be cruel, but she's obsessed with practical jokes to the point where she often fails to consider the feelings of her targets. After Claudia is inadvertantly injured by one of her pranks (she didn't tell Claudia that the chain of a swing was broken, thinking it'd just break under Claudia's weight when she sat on it, but instead, it held, then Claudia suggested a game, Betsy got distracted and forgot the chain was broken, and the chain finally gave out mid-swing, leading to Claudia breaking her leg so severely, she had to stay in the hospital with the leg in traction), the club join forces with some of their other charges to get Betsy to stop playing pranks. She eventually seems to take the lesson to heart, and her later appearances don't mention prank-playing.
  • The Klutz: Jackie Rodowsky, AKA "The Walking Disaster"
  • Law of Disproportionate Response:
    • The Club had Andrew, who was pretending to be a monster, terrify the life out of one charge because she didn't want to wear a smock and paint.
    • Jessi accused one kid of being racist because the kid didn't want to play.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Little Sister series. The Kids In Ms. Colman's Class was even lighter and softer than that.
  • Limited Social Circle:
    • The members of the club become like this in later books. The first five books had them having friends outside the club: in seventh grade, Kristy and Mary Anne eat lunch with the Shillaber twins while Claudia and Stacey hang out with a large group of boys and girls instead. They ditch all their other friends in eighth grade, when the BSC start sitting together at lunch every day, with only Mary Anne's boyfriend being allowed to join them occasionally. Any new friends who do come around are usually for the sole purpose of driving a wedge between the girl in question and the club members.
    • In Mary Anne and the Memory Garden, Mary Anne decides she wants to try to make at least one new friend in addition to the club, and befriends her classmate Amelia Freeman. Unlike most other examples, Mary Anne's friendship with Amelia is not in itself the source of any conflict, but Amelia ends up dying in a car crash.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: In Jessi's Wish. Other books had children with deafness (that boy and his sister become regular BSC charges and major recurring characters), Down's Syndrome, and autism. In one of the Super Specials, Stacey befriended a wheelchair-bound boy who was about to have surgery for a heart condition. May extend to Stacey herself, who was diabetic. In another book a babysitting charge has to adjust to blindness. Abby and her twin sister Anna both have scoliosis, but while Abby's is mild, Anna's is severe enough to require her to wear a brace to correct it.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: The series has three: the movie, the 1990s series, and the 2020s Netflix series.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Many, many minor and background characters who changed with every book.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Several times:
    • In the Very Special Book that warned against drunk driving, a (mostlynote ) new character is introduced as one of the nicest, friendliest girls at SMS. She is killed almost immediately in a drunk-driving accident.
    • New, never-before-seen families ask for sitters in the books dealing with racism (Keep Out, Claudia!) and autism (Kristy and the Secret of Susan). Susan actually does pop up again a hundred books later, in Babysitters European Vacation. She's home for the summer and attending a day camp where Dawn spends a day.
    • Averted with Jessi and the Secret Language; while it does feature a new family with two children, one hearing and one deaf, the kids become recurring characters afterward, since Matt becomes a close friend of the Pike triplets and Haley is friends with Becca and Charlotte.
  • Long-Running Book Series: At least one book a month for more than ten years!
  • Lost Wedding Ring: One book involves Stacey being accused of stealing a valuable ring. As it turns out, it was the cat's fault.
  • MacGuffin: In some of the Mysteries books
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The Pikes have eight children, including identical triplets. The Brewer-Thomases and the Barrett-DeWitts are also examples of this trope, although they are blended families.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Appears pretty much whenever the girls deal with something weird. They usually get a mundane explanation that covers most, but not all, of what's been going on. Particular examples would include The Ghost at Dawn's House and Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery.
    • Surprisingly averted in most of the mysteries — many of them are more along the lines of Nancy Drew than anything paranormal, and even the ones that appear to have paranormal elements usually turn out to have a rational explanation — but played straight in Mallory and The Ghost Cat, where Mallory hears a cat meowing in the attic of a family with no pets. She finds a stray cat has wandered in, but then she notes that the strange meowing noise is still coming from the attic, even when the stray is right in front of them in another room. They then track down the stray cat's owner, who turns out to be a dead ringer for a photograph they had found of a man who previously owned the house — and said owner also had a cat identical to the found stray (both the cat and the man are long dead). And then, lest you think that the meowing noise was just a weird noise the house was making that happened to resemble a cat, Mallory returns to the house to find that the family has adopted a cat from a shelter... and according to them, they haven't heard the meowing noise even once since.
    • The first book in the Little Sister series, where the only undebunked evidence Karen has at the end is that she saw the lady she thinks is a witch flying on a broom... and that might have been a dream. A later book in the series has Karen suspect that Mrs. Porter's granddaughter, Drusilla, is also a witch. Drusilla eventually admits that she's not, but says she's never been sure about her grandmother...
  • Meaningful Name:
    • This is most likely completely unintentional, but "Mallory" is Norman French for "unlucky".
    • Also probably completely unintentional note , "Claudia" is derived from the Latin for "lame." Given her learning difficulties...
  • Meat Versus Veggies: The Schafer-Spier family deals with this a lot.
  • Melodrama: There's no other word to describe the scene in Boy-Crazy Stacey where the girls are saying goodbye. They're all going their (temporary) separate ways and the waterworks are endless. Sobbing, hugging, wailing. How long will they be apart? Two weeks.
  • Middle Child Syndrome:
    • Tiffany Kilbourne has this.
    • Kristy has a bit of this as well: too young to hang out with Sam and Charlie, too old to play with David Michael, Karen, and Andrew on their level.
    • Karen is the middle child in her dad's new, blended family, especially after Emily is adopted (her dynamic with Andrew is a little different), and is sometimes jealous of his relationship with Kristy and Emily, who live with him full-time.
    • Nicky Pike seems to suffer from this as well, since his brothers don't especially want to hang around with him and he's right at the age where he frequently doesn't want to play with girls.
  • Missing Mom: Mary Anne's mother died of cancer when she was very little. She left a letter to Mary Anne that she was to have received on her sixteenth birthday.
  • Mistaken for Thief: One mystery involves someone thinking Stacey stole a diamond ring, which was actually pushed under the carpet by a cat.
  • Mood Whiplash: Claudia and the Terrible Truth, where the Very Special Episode-esque main plot (the girls finding out that two of their new charges are being abused by their father) is interspersed with the sitters helping kids preparing for a St. Patrick's Day parade.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: The characters are twelve-to-thirteen but act several year older and, even by 1980s standards, they're given a lot of freedom.
    • Some of the BSC charges also act older than their stated age. The most blatant example is probably Gabbie Perkins, who is supposedly only 2 1/2 but often seems to have a vocabulary and general awareness of how things work that would be more in line with a child at least a year older. (Then again, maybe she's just precocious.)
  • Mouthy Kid:
    • Karen is ridiculously mouthy.
    • One of Kristy's biggest flaws is this, though to a lesser degree than Karen.
  • Ms. Imagination: Karen, Kristy's stepsister.
  • Multigenerational Household: The Thomas-Brewers, and the Kishis before Mimi's death.
  • Must Have Lots of Free Time: Charlie, Kristy's seventeen-year-old brother, apparently has all the time in the world to drive Kristy, Shannon, Abby, etc. wherever they need to go.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Mary Anne and, to some extent, Mallory.
  • The Namesake: The title club is sometimes the only thing its members have in common.
  • National Stereotypes: The Australian family in Kristy and the Secret of Susan has the surname Hobart (the capital of Tasmania), eat vegemite, use slang that no one in Australia has used for ages (like "brekky" and "funny as a funeral"), and have to endure tons of Crocodile Dundee references.
  • Never Trust a Title:
    • Dawn and the Impossible Three. The title refers to the three Barrett kids Dawn watches in the book, but they are just three normal kids with an impossible mother. Every single problem in that book is caused by their irresponsible mother.
    • Claudia and Mean Janine. Janine never does anything mean, and a large part of the book has Claudia being mean to Janine.
  • New Year's Resolution
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Several, although Mary Anne's cat Tigger is probably the most frequently showcased - partly because Mary Anne, unlike the other pet owners, is an only child.
    • In the Little Sister spin-offs, Karen has a pet rat named Emily Jr. (after her adopted sister). It's not the only pet she lives with, but, especially because the other pets belong to families she goes back and forth between, having one that's hers is significant to her.
  • No Periods, Period: It's plausible for a thirteen-year-old girl not to have started her period yet, which makes a reasonable justification for each of the girls individually, but it's decidedly less plausible that none of them would have started menstruating by that age, especially since some of them (Stacey in particular) are mentioned to be fairly well-developed, suggesting they've been in puberty for a few years already. Presumably it's not mentioned because the target age range for the books was a bit younger than thirteen, and they didn't want to freak out the kids (or their parents).
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: The first few books show the passage of time as the original five complete seventh grade and start eighth, but once they're in eighth grade, they stay there until the last book of the series finally lets them graduate.
  • Old, New, Borrowed and Blue:
    • When Kristy's mom gets married, her underwear is her "something blue." Too Much Information, Elizabeth.
    • Dawn's mother also does this, though in her case the underwear is "something new."
  • Off to Boarding School:
    • Mallory, although this is actually her decision.
    • Logan almost gets shipped off to his father's old boarding school, but he and Mary Anne manage to talk his father out of it.
    • In Kristy and the Secret of Susan, the titular baby-sitting charge was sent to boarding school due to a severe case of Hollywood Autism.
  • Official Couple: Mary Anne and Logan. Kristy and Bart are an official sort-of-couple, and Stacey's part of a few.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Stacey shows heavy signs of this during the books where she and Mary Anne accompany the Pike family on their summer vacations to Sea City. It's very obvious that she's used to not having to show consideration for siblings, as she keeps prioritizing her own plans over Mary Anne's and even over minding the children. Although this is averted with Mary Anne, who is an only child herself for the first few.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Kristy, Stacey (short for Anastasia), Jessi, Abby, and many minor characters. Claudia's and Janine's aunt and uncle are universally known as "Peaches and Russ," not even "Aunt Peaches," etc.
  • Only Sane Man: Jessi and Mallory in some of the later books.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Two characters are named Sabrina Bouvier - a child beauty queen that BSC meets in Little Miss Stoneybrook ... and Dawn, and later a classmate at SMS.
    • Lampshaded in Here Come the Bridesmaids! where the narrative acknowledges that both the BSC and the W♥KC have a regular sitting charge named Ryan DeWitt, and no, they're not related.
  • Opposites Attract:
    • Mary Anne's father and Dawn's mother are a textbook example.
    • Shy and quiet Mary Anne paired with jockish and outgoing Logan.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: During the otherwise-serious Kristy and the Missing Child, Mallory is at one point trying to get a favor from her brother Adam, and butters him up by calling him her "favorite triplet-with-a-name-beginning-with-A". The other triplets' names? Byron and Jordan. The narration even Lampshades this fact. note  Fortunately, Adam is willing to roll with it instead of giving Mallory a hard time like he usually would, presumably recognizing that they're in a fairly high-stress situation (the Pikes are babysitting the eponymous missing child's siblings).

    P-Z 
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Dawn's mother's parents disapproved of Mary Anne's father, in part because he came from a poor family, which is a big part of why they split up after high school. However, when they meet him again after Sharon's divorce, they're impressed by how well he's done and more or less acknowledge that they might have judged him too harshly.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Claudia's grandmother Mimi was this to Mary Anne, whose mother is deceased.
    • After Patrick and Elizabeth's divorce, Charlie became a Parental Substitute/Promoted to Parent towards all three of his younger siblings — but especially towards David Michael, who was only an infant when Patrick left. In Friends Forever, Kristy realizes that being forced to become a father at ten has left Charlie with some anger problems.
    • Watson becomes this to Kristy and her siblings after he marries Elizabeth, since their biological father is out of the picture.
  • Playing Pictionary: It is suggested that one say something along the lines of "What a nice picture! Can you tell me about it?" when confronted with a child's drawing, because "you don't want to say 'what a lovely elephant!' and have it turn out to be a picture of their grandmother."
  • Poisonous Friend: Ashley, who encourages Claudia to leave the club and spend more time on her artwork. Later in the series, Stacey falls in with a "bad girls" group.
  • Polar Opposite Twins:
    • Abby and her twin sister Anna. Anna is musical, bookish, and introspective; Abby is athletic, noisy, and enjoys babysitting. About the only things they have in common are that they both have scoliosis (although Abby didn't need it corrected by a brace while Anna did) and poor eyesight. Interestingly, this never creates a conflict between them - when they first realized they had branching interests as little girls, their initial reaction was to panic and double-down on making sure they had identical everything. They did grow out of that, because while they liked being identical, they didn't like being treated as a single entity and didn't want to chain themselves down to being completely identical when they realized that having separate interests wouldn't create a break between them.
    • It is worth noting that Anna also enjoys babysitting, like Abby, but she sees violin as a higher priority, causing her to turn down the invitation to join the club.
    • One book was based around the club babysitting for twins whose mother insisted on dressing them identically and trying to treat them as one person, despite their completely different interests and personalities. This got better at the end of the book with the twins finally allowed to express their individuality. In later books, they struggle with sharing a bedroom, and finally convince their mother to let them have separate rooms.
    • Not quite to the same degree, but Byron Pike is a lot quieter and more sensitive and somewhat less interested in sports than the other two triplets, which they sometimes give him grief for.
  • Prone to Vomiting: Mallory's younger sister Margo is known to throw up a lot.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In book #12, the girls get bitchy over Claudia spending time with a new friend and go as far as to short-sheet her bed, mess with her belongings, and leave her a series of nasty notes. But in the end, Claudia is the one who owes them an apology for "being a bad friend."
  • Pungeon Master: Abby
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: In one of the books when Nicky Pike and Buddy Barrett refuse to eat cookies after having been teased for attending a "girly" sewing class.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Happens in both Boy-Crazy Stacey and Dawn and the Older Boy. In the former, Stacey falls in love with an older guy who turns out to be a jerk who was just using her, but she eventually ends up happy with another boy introduced in last few chapters. In the latter, the plot is basically the same, only with Dawn instead of Stacey.
  • Retcon: There was a short spinoff series where each of the girls writes an autobiography. They must have been written by different writers, because Kristy, Mary Anne, and Claudia have conflicting memories of their elementary school years (when they all knew each other).
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Vanessa Pike. At first it's occasional, but later on this becomes a major character trait.
  • Rich Bitch: Shannon Kilbourne starts out as this, although it was less because she genuinely looks down on Kristy and more because she doesn't want Kristy and her friends to take away her baby-sitting jobs.
  • The Rival: Cokie. Also, one book featured the girls facing off against a rival babysitting club.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Claudia frequently writes like this.
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Adam, Byron, and Jordan Pike
  • Samus Is a Girl: The bully E.J. in Logan Bruno, Boy Baby-Sitter, which prompts a brief discussion among the baby-sitters, including Stacey pointing out that the mother of one of the kids they babysit is a doctor and is always being addressed as a nurse— meanwhile, the three male nurses are always being called "doctor."
  • Sand In My Eyes: Kristy pulls this one in The Movie, claiming to her mother that "I've got allergies!"
  • School Play: One of the specials was about the club members and babysitting charges appearing in a musical. Another book involved the girls trying to put on a Thanksgiving play with the elementary school, only to end up having problems because their idea was a more creative version (a modern girl going back in time to the first Thaksgiving) and some of the parents pitched a fit at the idea of anything but a traditional Thanksgiving play.
    • A few of the Little Sister books involve Karen taking part in some kind of school play or performance. In another, it's mentioned that David Michael is involved with a theater group at his school, and is doing a Winnie the Pooh play at the time.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn has the sitters helping their charges prepare for a beauty pageant. First prize is a savings bond and the chance to compete in another pageant. Second prize was a shopping spree at a local toy store. Unsurprisingly, all the 6-to-10-year-old girls entered in the pageant massively prefer the second prize. As the eventual second place winner explains to all the adults who are indignant about the fact that she didn't win, "But then [if I had won] I wouldn't get any toys!"
  • Self-Deprecation: Claudia and Mallory, for very different reasons, are the most prone to this.
  • Series Continuity Error: Thanks to the various writers over the span of over a decade, the series has its slip-ups:
    • In Kristy for President the girls complain that putting on Mary Poppins for the school play is too immature for them. A few books prior, Stacey mentioned she watched Mary Poppins every week.
    • In Mary Anne Saves the Day, Mary Anne tells Dawn that her mother grew up in Maryland. In the mystery Mary Anne and the Secret of the Attic, Mary Anne's mother's birthplace (and childhood home) is given as Maynard, Iowa. Of course, "Maryland" and "Maynard" DO sound awfully similar, so it could be that Mary Anne simply mis-heard Richard or whoever she first heard about it from and this was deliberate.
    • Like most of the characters present in the series from the beginning or near the beginning, the Barrett kids aged a year in the early books. Buddy goes from seven to eight, Suzi from four to five, and Marnie from eighteen months to two years. However, in the first books from the ghostwriter era, Suzi's age alternates between four and five several times.
    • Melody Korman (one of the kids in Kristy's new neighborhood) is mistakenly referred to as Maria in one book.
    • In Starring The Baby-Sitters Club, the play is supposedly specifically a collaborative School Play for the three main Stoneybrook public schools, not an open community production, but both Karen Brewer and Matt Braddock take part despite the fact that they don't attend the schools in question (Karen is in private school, and Matt goes to a special school for the Deaf).
  • Setting Update: Mildly with the graphic novels. The technology level implies they take place in the 1990s or maybe the early 2000s. For example, the Mary Anne Saves The Day book was released in 1987 however the graphic novel has a reference to DVD players and the 1998 The Parent Trap film.
  • Shout-Out: The Truth About Stacey is dedicated to Dr. Claudia Werner. The series features characters named both "Claudia" and "Dr. Werner." The Perkins family is also based on friends of the author's; at one point, it's noted that they own a lot of children's books because they have a friend who writes and edits them.
  • Shrinking Violet: Mary Anne, Kristy's little stepbrother Andrew and Charlotte Johanssen.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Claudia and Janine, Abby and Anna, Karen and Andrew
  • Sick Episode: Most notably Stacey's Emergency, Get Well Soon, Mallory, and the subplot to Dawn's Wicked Stepsister.
  • Sixth Ranger: Dawn, Mallory, Jessi, Abby.
  • Snooping Little Kid
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Stacey, Jessi, and Mary Anne - not Stacy, Jessie, and Mary Ann/Marianne/Mariann/Maryann/Maryanne/Mary-Ann/Mary-Anne/etc.
  • Spinoff: The Little Sister and California Diaries series. The Kids In Ms. Colman's Class is a spinoff of LS.
  • Spoiled Brat: Jenny Prezzioso; to many fans, Karen Brewer also qualifies.
  • Spoiler Title:
    • Several books after Stacey is Put on a Bus (from Stoneybrook to New York), Stacey's parents divorce, and most of the plot is about her choosing whether to stay in New York City with her father or move back to Stoneybrook with her mother. The title is Welcome Back, Stacey.
    • In a book, Jessi is asked to participate in a synchronized swimming competition. Almost all the book has Jessi practicing and being nervous about the competition... The title is Jessi's Gold Medal.
    • In a book, Stacey is excited to spend a week with her best friend from New York, Laine. By the title Stacey's Ex-Best Friend, you can tell how much they will get along and in fact, by the end of the book, they are no longer friends.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • At the end of Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, it turns out that Alan and Trevor, who have crushes on Kristy and Claudia respectively, stole the BSC record book, made several calls to houses where Kristy and Claudia were sitting, only to hang up the phone every time, because they were too shy to ask them out. The girls were genuinely frightened by the phone calls throughout the book, but when they find out about their admirers, they happily accept to go out with them.
    • Deconstructed in Kristy's Mystery Admirer. Kristy starts receiving lovey-dovey letters signed by a "mystery admirer", but at some point the letters go from romantic to completely creepy, to the point that Kristy assumes some psycho adult wants to kidnap her. It turns out the first romantic letters were written by her serious admirer Bart, while the creepy letters were written by Alpha Bitch Cokie. In fact, after receiving the first letters, Kristy was talking about them loudly at school, so Cokie starts sending Kristy her own letters to terrorize her.
  • Start My Own: When the BSC goes crazy testing Mallory about whether she's a good enough sitter, she and Jessi start up "Kids Incorporated."
  • Stock "Yuck!":
    • In one of the specials, where Stacey describes how while in New York she invited her new friend to a sleepover at Laine's. Laine and the others disliked the girl, partly because she asked for anchovies on the pizza they ordered.
    • It's a minor running gag that the sitters have incompatible pizza needs, especially once the club has the classic seven-member lineup - Stacey can't eat processed cheese; Dawn won't eat meat; Abby is allergic to both tomatoes and cheese; Kristy likes anchovies, etc. Mary Anne and the Playground Fight has this get uncivilized to the point where they all just order separate meals, while Abby and the Mystery Baby has Abby order a plain pizza and she just prepares the other toppings at home, letting her friends do their individual slices as they please.
  • Straw Fan: One of the books deals with Mallory claiming to be the biggest fan of a fictional children's author, then meeting the author and giving her a hard time about not 'writing what she knows.' Fortunately, she learns her lesson in the end.
  • Sudden Name Change:
    • Kristy's mother is called "Edie Thomas" in the first book Kristy's Great Idea. Later books identify her as Elizabeth. Technically, though, this might not actually be a mistake, as Edie COULD easily be a nickname for Elizabeth.
    • The Brewer children's mother and stepfather are named as Sheila and Kendall in Kristy's Big Day, later retconned to Lisa and Seth when they feature more prominently in later titles (the names are also corrected in later editions of Kristy's Big Day).
    • Mary Anne's late mother was named Abigail in the fourth book, but later books identify her as Alma. This is also fixed in reprints.
    • Granny, Dawn's grandmother (and Sharon's mother), is given the first name of Rita in Dawn's Book. However, in the mystery Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret, she is named Grace.
  • Superstition Episode: There's a book where Mary Anne thinks she's gotten a bad luck charm. It turns out some cruel girls just told her it was bad, and were using it as an excuse to play pranks on her.
  • Sweet Tooth: Claudia
  • Switching P.O.V.: And the "I" in this book refers to...
  • Technician vs. Performer: Kristy and Abby, with sports. In Kristy's own words, she's a sportsperson, while Abby is a natural athlete.
  • Teen Genius: Claudia's sister Janine suffers from most TV Genius symptoms, including Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, Intelligence = Isolation, Nerd Glasses, Insufferable Genius, Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and she has an IQ of 196. Surprisingly, though, with such a high IQ all they have her do is take a few courses at the local community college.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold, Abigail and Anna Stevenson, Mariah and Miranda Shillaber, Terri and Tammy Barkan, Ricky and Rose Salem, Tasha and Terry Hoyt. Averted with the Pike triplets Adam, Byron, and Jordan.
  • Those Two Girls: Mallory and Jessi.
  • Token Good Teammate: The Babysitters Agency apparently had just one sitter who wasn't incompetent or negligent: an unseen seventeen year old boy who sat for the Newton family. Mrs. Newton decides she'll call him on his own despite no longer employing the agency when she learns about the cigarette burn in her couch and how Cathy Morris let Jamie play in the streets by himself.
  • Token Minority:
    • As every single book will tell you, Jessi is the lone black member of the club.
    • Claudia is Japanese, but no one makes a big deal out of it.
    • Some of the books lay it on rather thick about Emily Brewer being adopted from Vietnam.
  • Token Minority Couple: One of the Super Specials introduced a Japanese guy solely to be a love interest for Claudia.
  • Town Girls: The three Childhood Friends and original neighbors: Passionate Sports Girl Kristy (butch), The Fashionista Claudia (femme), and Naïve Everygirl Mary Anne (neither).
  • Trickster Twins: Adam, Byron and Jordan are Trickster Triplets.
  • True Companions: No matter what happens, the girls are there for each other.
  • Twin Switch: Identical twins Marilyn and Carolyn did it once while Mallory was babysitting, just to mess with her. When Claudia replaces Mallory once, they switch again to prank Claudia, with Carolyn going to piano lessons pretending to be her sister (when their mother learns about it, she blames Claudia). They get better by the end of the book, when they start to express their individuality and stop pranking the sitters.
  • Two First Names: Kristy Thomas and her brothers; Logan, Hunter and Kerry Bruno; Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold.
  • The Unfavorite: It's hard not to feel sorry for Kristy's little brother David Michael in Kristy's Big News, when their long-lost father suddenly calls and announces he's getting married. Kristy and her elder brothers are invited to be in the wedding; David Michael is not only not invited, but their father never even mentions him and, until he's called out on it toward the end of the book, acts as though the poor kid doesn't even exist.
  • Unishment: When Mary Anne tries to sneak over to the boys' side and Logan starts a food fight at summer camp, they are punished... by being barred from their least favourite activities.
  • Very Special Episode: Several books showcased a particular social issue, including racism, hazing, eating disorders and single parenting. They did not deal with topics like illicit drugs and sexuality, and only briefly touched on alcohol, which might have been considered inappropriate for the target audience.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The main characters got repeatedly introduced and described in every book. Lampshaded by the various snark communities as being the standard contents of chapter two.
  • Walking Disaster Area: One of the club's clients is an extremely klutzy and accident-prone boy named Jackie Rodowsky, who is nicknamed "the Walking Disaster" for this very reason.
  • Wham Episode: Mimi's death in Claudia and the Sad Goodbye was this for a large portion of the fan base, as Mimi was very well-loved.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?:
    • Stacey's dad is a workaholic who rarely spends time with her.
    • Abby's mother is like this too. Possibly justified to an extent, since she's a single parent with two teenagers to support.
    • Shannon Kilbourne's father is never home, either.
    • One book had a subplot in which the sitters begin taking care of the Addison kids, who are constantly forced to attend extracurricular classes and sports activities. Their parents are basically selfish flakes, and all they ever want is time for themselves, so they shuttle their son and daughter off to every extracurricular possible (their first introduction to the club is them asking Claudia to teach their daughter art, in order to give her another recurring commitment).
      • The last example becomes particularly painful in Mary Anne and the Library Mystery, when Sean Addison starts lighting books on fire in the trash cans of the crowded library because of how much he hates all of the activities his parents are forcing him to do. It's particularly scary because the library has just started a program encouraging kids to read, so there are dozens of small children in the building during all of the fires.
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: Mimi in Claudia and the Sad Goodbye.
  • Wicked Witch: Karen Brewer believes that the next door neighbor Mrs. Porter is one, and that her real name is Morbidda Destiny. The sitters would waver on whether or not they really believed this (and one of the Little Sister books revealed that even Mrs. Porter's granddaughter could not be sure whether it was true). Kristy eventually reasoned that Mrs. Porter could not be a real witch because when the Brewers' cat left a dead mouse on her doorstep, she brought it over to demand that they dispose of it rather than keeping to use in her potions.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: All these thirteen-year-old girls seem way too mature for their age.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The number of bedrooms in Watson's house never seems to add up. Kristy says his house has nine bedrooms, which should mean one each for Watson and Elizabeth, Kristy, Sam, Charlie, David Michael, Karen, Andrew, Emily Michelle and Nannie. However, in another book Kristy says that each of her brothers could have a whole suite of rooms if they wanted, and occasionally they've had entire families stay over with no discussion of people moving or sharing rooms. It may be that the "nine bedrooms" refers only to the bedrooms on the first and second floors. It's mentioned that there is a third floor and an attic that are never used (which is most certainly not because the ghost of Ben Brewer haunts them), so her brothers could have suites, but would have to move to the upper floors. Presumably, these upper floors are where guests are quartered for the duration of their stay.
  • Written Sound Effect: Ghostwriter Peter Lerangis loves using omnomatopoeia.
  • Yoko Oh No: A platonic version in the book Claudia & The New Girl, the very tagline of which is "Claudia might give up the Club — and it's all the new girl's fault!". As indicated by the title, Claudia befriends Ashley, a new student at school, and begins spending more time with her than her other friends, as Ashley, like Claudia, is an artist. Eventually, enough tension rises for both Ashley and the other club members to demand that Claudia choose one or the other. By the book's end, Claudia makes it clear that she will not give up either and that both parties were out of line to ask such a thing. Ashley reappears in several books, and while she never again suggests that Claudia give up babysitting or the club, it's still obvious that she holds them and it in contempt.
  • You Are Fat: Mary Anne, showing off her Bitch in Sheep's Clothing tendencies, drops this on Dawn of all people, during the period of adjustment after the two become stepsisters.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
    • Claudia has a habit of dropping Kristy's full name on her when she's calling Kristy out about her behavior in some respect.
    • When Stacey's parents call her "Anastasia," she knows that she's pushed them too far, and it's time to back down.
  • You Meddling Kids: The basic plot of the Mysteries specials
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Shows up in one book when Jessi pet-sits a hamster.
  • You're Not My Father: Kristy drops this one on Watson in The Movie, after a visit with her notoriously flaky biological father.

Alternative Title(s): Baby Sitters Club

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