July 6, 2012

The Truth About Stacey

THE TRUTH ABOUT STACEY (Baby-Sitter's Club Graphic Novel) by Ann M. Martin, adapted by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix, 2006)
GENRE: Graphic Novel
HONORS: YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, 2007; ALA's Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth list

REVIEW: Kristy, Claudia, MaryAnn and Stacey are back in a series of graphic novel adaptations of Ann M. Martin’s beloved Baby-Sitter’s Club. Though the format is 21st century, the stories themselves remain timeless. In The Truth About Stacey, the girls grapple with a group of rival baby-sitters while Stacey quietly wrestles with her diabetes and her parents’ stifling, if well-meaning, attempts to control it for her. The bulk of Martin’s original text remains in tact, having been transcribed to dialogue bubbles and narrator’s panels, providing a sense of immediacy and emotional warmth. Telgemeier’s clean, black and white illustrations beautifully render each girl, updating their styles without sacrificing the class  of Martin’s original conceptions (while Claudia sports a magenta streak in her long black hair, her clothing is entirely appropriate for a hip, artistic seventh grader.) Emotions are conveyed with a minimum of fuss, bringing each girl, as an individual, to life. These girls care about each other, and they care about the kids they sit for. It’s the heart of the series and it’s clear in every panel.

OPINION: Telgemeier has succeeded in producing a series of graphic novels that, far from detracting from the original books, heightens the already towering appeal of the novels. Emotionally down to earth, yet complicated enough to resonate with tweens, the graphic novels bring a whole new audience to the original stories, and judging from the well worn copies at the library, they are doing it quite well. A strong addition to any school of public library collection.

IDEAS: The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel series is a great recommendation for tween girls who are reluctant readers. The adaptations are as resonant as the original novels were over 20 years ago, but the graphic novels, with Telgemeier’s spot-on illustrations and clean lay-out, make them an especially un-intimidating introduction to storytelling in book form. 

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