The Baby-Sitters Club: Dawn and the Impossible Three
Raina Telgemeier set a high bar when she adapted four Baby-Sitters Club books into graphic novels between 2006 and 2008. The books have refreshed Ann M. Martin’s stories for a new generation, particularly once they were reissued in color.
So it’s no surprise that the publisher wanted to extend the series with a new creator. Gale Galligan worked with Telgemeier on her original graphic novel Drama, but what most readers of this fifth Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel, Dawn and the Impossible Three, want to know is, is Galligan good enough?
To my eyes, the answer is yes. Her characters are a little more cartoony (with eyes that resemble the early days of animation), but she’s got a good sense of storytelling. The exaggerated, caricature-like expressions make moods easy to understand, especially for younger readers.
To go along with the new artist, we meet a new member of the club. Dawn has moved to the area recently after her parents divorced. Her mom is dating Mary Anne’s dad, connecting her into the already-known characters. Unfortunately, their growing friendship makes club president Kristy feel left out.
Dawn’s been sitting for the Barretts, three kids with a single mom who’s overwhelmed and asks a lot of Dawn. She has to learn to stand up for herself to prevent being taken advantage of and protect the children. I found this role under-explained and stereotypical, but I suppose with so many young women running their own business, I shouldn’t be too worried about how negative the careless divorced mother seems.
The story also feels vaguely old-fashioned to an older reader, with all the landline phone calls and how the girls find nontechnical things for their charges to do and play, but that’s explained by the dates: the original source was first published in 1987. One aspect that kids might find a little too scary, a parental kidnapping during a custody debate, was more of a concern in previous decades. It’s a shame that aspect comes in so late and is handled so quickly, but otherwise, in these 150 pages, there are plenty of plot threads, misunderstandings, temporary drama, and useful tips for taking care of kids.