Writer: Ann M. Martin
Artist: Raina Telgemeier
Raina Telgemeier is writer/artist of two of the better graphic novels I've encountered in the past year: Smile (review here) and Drama (here). Eager for more of her work after finishing those two, I discovered this graphic novel series, adapting four books from Ann M. Martin's extremely successful series, The Baby-sitters Club (BSC). While clearly targeting a preteen, female demographic, the same is certainly true for Telgemeier's other books and that did not interfere with my enjoyment. Our Girl read the book first and gave it her stamp of approval. So, why not give it a try myself?
Martin's franchise has sold 170 million books overall so it's highly likely that many reading this reflection are already familiar with the basics. For those who are not, the club was formed by four middle school girls to run a fairly sophisticated babysitting network. The Truth About Stacey is that she has diabetes. In addition to the babysitting and other standard female adolescent adventures, Stacey must contend with overprotective parents and friends who don't always know how to react.
The appeal of Tegelmeier's work for me thus far is her frank and realistic portrayal of the world of the preteen girl. Her protagonists are likeable but not idealized or pigeon-holed - too often the case in stories about the age group. Unfortunately, I don't feel BSC quite lives up to the same standard. The story's enjoyable enough but I don't find the characters quite as believable. Tegelmeier's characters are like kids I know. Martin's are the more easily categorized versions of the kids I know. So, while I eagerly await future Tegelmeier publications (a Smile sequel is set for release in 2014), I think I'll give the rest of the BSC series a pass.