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‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Now on Video

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Giggles, slumber parties, boys, mischievous toddlers, pizza and banana splits. Eager readers, mostly girls ages 8 and up, have reveled in the adventures and misadventures of seven fictional eight-graders in “The Baby-Sitters Club” Scholastic paperback book series.

The 41-plus books in the series written by Ann M. Martin have been snapped up by the millions since 1986. Now, Scholastic has released two videocassettes based on the Martin books.

With likable young cast members in a Connecticut setting and other familiar book elements, the videos feature breezy new stories. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed.

Martin, who sees her characters’ diverse backgrounds and interests as the key to their popularity--"there’s something for everybody"--serves as the video series consultant. “I was a little leery at first,” she said, “but now that it’s happened, I’m happy with the project. We did our best to make the characters match the books.”

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In “Mary Anne and the Brunettes,” a shy Baby-Sitters Club member seems to be losing her boyfriend to one of the most popular girls in school. What should her friends do to help? Is her boyfriend really a rat? Will shy Mary Anne learn to speak up for herself?

Video No. 2, “Dawn and the Haunted House,” finds the club convinced that an eccentric woman in a spooky house has put a spell on one of them. Tolerance for differences and the importance of communication are the messages.

In both videos there is entertaining interplay with preschoolers and lots of one-for-all, all-for-one togetherness.

In her books, Martin sometimes gets serious. She avoids such issues as drug abuse but does deal with “the death of a grandparent, divorce, handicaps.” The videos, which Martin hopes “will draw in new readers,” stress the light side--"baby-sitting adventures and relationships among the friends.”

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“The Baby-Sitters Club,” Scholastic Video, $12.95 each. Available at Waldenbooks and Toys R Us. Information: (800) 477-7595.


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