Since my blog focuses mainly on YA, though I do read a few MG books and would love to talk about them also, I'm going to be participating in GreenBeanTeenQueen's Tween Tuesday whenever I have a Middle Grade novel I want to talk about.
For my first Tween Tuesday post, I'll be talking about MARY ANNE SAVES THE DAY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL. This is the updated, graphic novel version of one of the first books in the Baby-Sitters Club series. And since it doesn't fit into my normal review system so well (one of the negatives of having such a strict reviewing system I suppose) I'm going to do something a little different this time and not stick to the typical rubric.
This book is a short, cute read. The main conflict here is the four members of the Baby-Sitters Club getting in a huge fight that causes them to avoid each other in school and take turns answering the phone at club meetings so that they don't all have to attend. While separated from her friends, shy Mary Anne meets Dawn Schafer, a new girl in school who just moved from California. The girls form a fast friendship and discover their parents actually knew each other in high school. Though the original story of this book is decades old, I'm still loathe to give anything away to readers who maybe haven't read it and want to read the graphic novel adaption. But suffice to say, Mary Anne is put in some sticky situations and forced to make some mature decisions without the help of her friends and at the same time makes a new friend for possibly the first time in her life.
The pictures in this book are absolutely adorable and the essence of the girls (especially Mary Anne, with her hair in two braids) seems to be captured very well. I did find myself wishing that Claudia's outfits were a bit wilder, but it's possible that she was still relatively tame in those early books. The technology has also been updated, with Mary Anne surprised that Dawn has a DVD player in her room (as opposed to the VCR player that it was in the original book). While these changes jarred me a little as an original reader of the series, they do make sense for an updated story and obviously it wouldn't bother younger readers.
One of the best things about this adaption is that the whole "chapter 2" is skipped. Chapter 2, for anyone who doesn't know, was the chapter in BSC novels set aside for introducing, in completely formulaic fashion and generally with nearly the exact same wordage for each book, the club and its members. Losing that was wonderful and it makes the story move so much quicker and smoother.
I definitely recommend this for pre-teen and young teen girls, especially reluctant readers or others who might be captured by the comic-book format. Also older readers might want to flip through this one; it's a nice, fresh update of the books we love so much and I found myself wishing more of the books (instead of just the first four) were going to be adapted into graphic novels.