Baby-Sitters Little Sister: Karen’s Worst Day

Book cover picture of Baby-Sitters Little Sister: Karen's Worst Day

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Book Review

Little Karen is having a terrible, no-good, worst-ever day. She left her new jeans at her mom’s house; she didn’t get a prize in her breakfast cereal; her favorite morning TV show was preempted for a news broadcast; her cat, Boo-Boo, won’t play with her; and she even got sent to her room! Just how can a frustrated 6-year-old come back from all that?

Plot Summary

Karen is having a no-good, rotten, down-right terrible day.

Not only does she have a broken wrist from falling while skating—which makes even getting dressed into a harder-than-necessary process—but she had bad dreams the night before. And that’s not all—not by a long shot: She can’t find her new jeans; her cat won’t play with her; her favorite morning show was preempted for some dumb old news show; she can’t ride bikes with her friends; and she got grounded and sent to her room after saying angry things to her brother. And it’s not even lunch time yet!

In fact, Karen is really afraid that her bad luck might just go on and on and on. Do other kids ever feel like this? Have grown-ups ever had days like this, too? What did they do to fix things? Karen has got to find some advice or some help before she ends up being alone and friendless for … the rest of her life!

Christian Beliefs

None.

Other Belief Systems

An elderly woman who lives next door wears all black clothes, has somewhat unkempt gray hair and keeps a black cat as a pet. Karen thinks that means she’s a witch. She even thinks she saw her fly out of a window on a broom, though she’s “not so sure about that.” Karen and her older stepsister, Kristy, mention a book called The Witch Next Door. The two of them briefly joke about a witch’s bad day that might involve mixing “potions all wrong” and casting spells “that go ker-flooey.” (Those witch references, however, are always approached playfully and never portrayed as realistic or frightening.)

Authority Roles

Karen lets us know early on that her parents are divorced; and that she and her brother, Andrew, spend the week days at her mother’s house (with Mom and her new husband Seth), and weekends at their dad’s house (with stepmom Elizabeth, and stepsiblings Charlie, Sam, David Michael and Kristy). We only see Dad and Elizabeth and their family in this book, and both parents are understanding and caring.

Dad for instance helps Karen out when she can’t sleep. He works through some things that might be worrying her. Elizabeth takes time to help Karen patch up a favorite stuffed animal and gives her advice about how to give a bad day an emotional fresh start. Both parents hold Karen accountable for her grumpy, bad choices, while still being loving in their disciplines.

After Karen’s bad day, the whole family rallies together at dinner to help Karen feel better. And two of her older stepbrothers even take her out for ice cream. Stepsister Kristy reads Karen a bedtime story and wishes her a better tomorrow.

Profanity & Violence

The closest thing to foul language here is from a frustrated adult who yells out, “Oh fiddlesticks!” Karen angrily calls her brother an “egghead” after he gets a super-short haircut (because Karen tried to cut his hair).

There’s no violence, other than the references to Karen breaking her wrist last fall. Karen does, however, get frustrated with the way her day is going and the things she can’t do, or the things she doesn’t get. That anger spills out several times. She says less-than-nice things to her brother and a friend whom she labels a “bad-friend.” Eventually, though, she realizes her poor choices and she goes back to apologize for her outbursts.

Sexual Content

None.

Discussion Topics

Have you ever had days like the one Karen is dealing with? How did you handle it? Do you think there are ideas in this book that you can use the next time you have a bad-feeling day? What did you think about the way Karen was acting during her “worst day”?

Did you notice the things that Karen’s brothers and sisters did for her when she was grumbling about having a lousy day? How much of an impact do you think loving family members have on someone’s day? What are some of the ways that your family members have helped you in the past? How can you show them that you’re grateful?

When you have a grumpy or sad day, do you ever talk to anybody about it? Are some people easier to talk to than others? Why? Do you think talking helps?

What did you like most about this book?

Get free discussion questions for other books at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments

Ann M. Martin created the incredibly popular kid’s chapter book series, The Baby-Sitters Club, which has sold more than 180 million copies. This latest Baby-Sitters Little Sister entry is a spin-off series repackaged as a graphic novel by Katy Farina. That graphic novel presentation makes this book colorful and involving, and easy to read for younger readers. There are also simple lessons here about taking your days in stride when things feel overwhelming, as well as apologizing when you’ve made poor choices. Parents should note that there are references to divorce and a little girl’s belief that a next-door neighbor is a witch.  

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected].

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose

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