CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 28 . . . . March 27, 2015
Margaret J. McMaster first introduced her major characters, Stewart and Mrs. Chairbottom, back in 2008 in Babysitter Out of Control!, Since then, she has added five more titles, with 2014's The Queen of Second Chances being the most recent. Now, McMaster has put all six books together in a single volume. As the first five titles have been previously reviewed positively in CM, this review will only look at the final tale and the compilation as a whole, commencing with the latter.
Strictly from a monetary point of view, The Complete Babysitter Out of Control Series is a good deal as libraries will get all six titles in the series for less than the price of two single volumes. The intended audience, children just coming to chapter books, will also have the advantage of reading the stories in their correct chronological order. Because of the books' individual brevity, McMaster doesn't really incorporate summaries of the action found in earlier books. Nonetheless, each book can stand alone as a separate read. However, because McMaster introduces a new secondary character in each book (or provides additional information about a previously introduced character), reading the stories in their correct order will be more satisfying.
The Queen of Second Chances brings the series to a close, with the wedding of Mrs. Chairbottom and Colonel Peabody on the island of Mongo Tongo being the featured event. Stewart, who is to be the colonel`s best man, fears that somehow he will mess up the wedding. To get out of the way (and out of trouble), Stewart, along with his best friend Henry, joins Ronald, Mrs. Chairbottom`s chauffeur, on a fishing expedition on the ocean. After the fishing trio are stranded in their small fishing craft on the water, but before they are rescued by Mrs. Chairbottom, Ronald explains to the boys why he refers to Mrs. Chairbottom as "the Queen of Second Chances".
The initial concept of an eccentric babysitter who, herself, needs babysitting is a fun one that has served the series well.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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