The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #4: Claudia and Mean Janine – Raina Telgemeier

Text – Ann M. Martin

After successfully avoiding reading about Mimi’s stroke for a year and a half, I’ve now read about it twice in one day; first in the original book and now the graphic novel. I’m more convinced after reading them back to back that this adventure in babysitting should have actually been called Claudia is Mean to Janine. Maybe it’s not as catchy but it is more accurate.

So, the graphic novel. When it was released I’d hoped that Raina would be adapting the entire series. The torch has now been passed to other artists and they’re all really talented as well, but I’ve got a soft spot for the Raina ones. They came first and they’re just wonderful.

I always have fun finding the main differences between the books and their graphic novel adaptations.

The main difference I picked up here isn’t between the book and graphic novel but between Raina’s graphic novels and the ones that followed. Here, Mallory isn’t a BSC member before her time and it’s such a relief. I never knew I was a BSC purist until I saw Malory at BSC meetings before she was supposed to be there.

So, the differences I picked up on between the book and graphic novel.

Book: Begins with Wednesday morning breakfast. It’s summer vacation and Claudia is going to art class, babysit Jamie Newton, shop with Stacey and attend a BSC meeting.
Graphic Novel: Begins with Janine tutoring Claudia in maths because she has an exam. It’s the last week of school. Claudia’s mother’s name is Rioko, which I don’t think I knew before.

Book: Boys don’t feature in the book.
Graphic Novel: We learn that Pete Black held Stacey’s hand on the way home from school. Stacey and Claudia are most excited about this development.

Book: Kristy appears to be over her jealousy of Dawn.
Graphic Novel: Kristy and the green eyed monster are still hanging out. Dawn invites Kristy over to her new-old house and smoothes things over with her. I’m pretty sure it’s the scene from Dawn and the Impossible Three, which hasn’t happened yet in graphic novel world.

Book: We learn that Charlie will drive Kristy the three miles to BSC meetings and back for half the price that Kristy offered him.
Graphic Novel: Charlie isn’t mentioned.

Book: It costs $3 a day per kid to attend the BSC play group.
Graphic Novel: It costs $5 a day per kid to attend the BSC play group.

Book: The play group will be held from 9am to 12:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Graphic Novel: The play group will be held from 9am to 12pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book: The BSC members drop off flyers for their play group to all of the usual suspects.
Graphic Novel: The BSC members drop off flyers for their play group to the usual suspects, but also mention the Davises’. Who are they and why hasn’t anyone introduced me to them yet?

Book: Jenny Prezzioso needs to wear a smock to cover her pristine clothes but no one figures that out until the dreaded grass stain on the first day of play group.
Graphic Novel: Dawn comes up with the idea for smocks before play group commences. The grass stain incident happens regardless.

Book: Janine easily wins the trivia game she plays with Claudia and Mimi.
Graphic Novel: The game doesn’t finish because Claudia quits.

Book: While she’s waiting for her parents to get home from the restaurant, Claudia packs a suitcase for Mimi. She runs out to meet her parents before they get into the driveway.
Graphic Novel: Claudia is freaking out too much to think of packing a suitcase. Her parents make it to where Claudia is sitting on the front step of their house before she realises they’ve gotten home.

Book: Dawn’s BSC notebook entry for the first day of the play group mentions how wild Buddy Barrett, Nicky Pike and David Michael Thomas are when they’re together.
Graphic Novel: Dawn’s BSC notebook entry for the first day of the play group mentions how wild David Michael Thomas, Nicky Pike and Marcus are when they’re together. Who’s Marcus? Is he from the Davis family? What happened to Buddy? Is it because the graphic novels were adapted in the wrong order and we haven’t met Buddy yet in this alternate BSC world?

Book: Claudia gets scared when she first visits Mimi. The next day she is able to talk to Mimi and show her the cards the kids at play group made for her.
Graphic Novel: Claudia gets scared when she first visits Mimi. After her parents and Janine visit Mimi, Claudia tries again the same day. She is able to talk to Mimi and show her the cards the kids at play group made for her.

Book: Claudia doesn’t make Mimi a get well present.
Graphic Novel: Claudia works on a get well present for Mimi.

Book: The Thomas-Brewer wedding happened last week. Karen and Andrew are officially a part of Kristy’s family.
Graphic Novel: Karen and Andrew are almost Kristy’s step siblings.

Book: Louie needs to attend play group because the Thomases are moving tomorrow.
Graphic Novel: Louie needs to attend play group because the carpets are getting cleaned.

Book: Mary Anne cares for Mimi one day because Claudia has a babysitting job.
Graphic Novel: Mary Anne cares for Mimi one day because Claudia needs to help prepare for Lucy Newton’s christening.

Book: Claudia and Janine have a talk and understand one another a bit better afterwards.
Graphic Novel: Claudia and Janine have a talk and understand one another a bit better afterwards. We learn Janine also has a secret stash of junk food in her room. That is awesome!

Book: Janine and Mimi go for a walk.
Graphic Novel: Janine and Mimi go for a walk. Claudia decides to join them. Aww!

Book: During the final BSC meeting of the book, the call comes in that will be sending Mary Anne and Stacey to Sea City with the Pikes.
Graphic Novel: During the final BSC meeting of the book, Claudia says she might need to cut back on her babysitting hours to focus more on school. This leads to talk about Mallory joining the club. Ugh! The current BSC members take a photo to memorialise the BSC’s first anniversary. Yay!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her art than her grades, feels she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, makes straight A’s, and even takes college-level courses. The girls are nothing alike, and they can’t agree on anything. While Janine devotes all her time to working on her website, The Baby-Sitters Club is busy with their new summer play group. But when something terrible happens to their grandmother, Mimi, the two sisters discover they’re more alike than they originally thought.

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