Green, D.L. Kaitlyn and the Competition (The Babysitting Chronicles #1)
February 1st 2016 by Stone Arch Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Kaitlyn Perez has a nice babysitting business going, with a few loyal customers. While her family is well off, her parents work with disadvantaged children, so are not going to buy Kaitlyn or her sister some of the fancier clothes, room decor, or cellphones that they might want, so both girls work. Kaitlyn is a very organized and responsible babysitter who brings educational games and books on jobs with her, and who makes sure that the children are in bed on time and the house is clean. When she loses jobs to a new sitter named "Doc" who lets his charges eat candy and play tag in the house, she sets out to investigate which of her classmates this might be. Along the way, there is some middle school drama, with her friend Piper trying to talk Kaitlyn into buying an expensive dress and losing Kaitlyn's cell phone, as well as drama with a boy asking Kaitlyn to a school dance. When Kaitlyn locates the "competition", she realizes it is a boy who needs money because his parents' restaurant has gone out of business, and she works with him to form a business that can employ not only the two sitters but also Piper and Kaitlyn's sister as well.
Strengths: I liked the tips offered at the beginning of the chapters, and I liked the positive role model of Kaitlyn wanting to earn money for fripperies that her parents wouldn't buy. The friend drama and other issues all ring very true to life. I liked the inclusion of Spanish words and phrases as well as the present and supportive parents.
Weaknesses: Since Capstone sells mainly to the school and public library markets, the only two options for buying this currently are a $20 hard cover or a $6 paperback. For a book of this length (about 150 pages), $20 is a lot.
What I really think: Capstone books are fantastic for my struggling middle school readers, so I will definitely look into this series, but may wait to see if a prebind becomes available.