My Aunt Frannie (our neighbor in the first house I lived in) gave me Bobbsey Twins books. My parents gave me Nancy Drew (the originial series, not the sexed up one). I liked them both, especially the Bobbsey Twins, but not nearly as much as The Baby-sitters Club.
Even when I was 8, I knew the Baby-sitters Club was not good literature. I was frustrated with having to read a chapter in every book that described the girls. OK, I get it Mary Ann has neat handwriting, and Claudia is wild and artistic and likes candy, and Dawn eats health food. I wished Ann M. Martin would just have a primer in the front for newcomers.
Yet every time a new book came out (and joy of joys if it was a Super Special), I would read half of it before my parents could even get me out of the bookstore, in this case the Encore Books next to the Shop Rite -- it really was the '80s.
At 8, my baby-sitter was the coolest person I knew. Jeanie had boyfriends and long, straight black hair. She had gone to Australia and was learning how to drive.
My dad was desperate to get me to read "the classics," and every once in a while I'd throw him a bone like The Secret Garden or Little Women. But nothing could make an afternoon like the BSC.
Two of my friends and I even made our own baby-sitters club. It was of course an utter failure.
This librarian is making the journey again.