Ann M. Martin’s bestselling middle-grade series from the 1980s, The Baby-sitters Club, will gain a new incarnation on December 1, when Scholastic publishes e-book versions of the series’ first 20 titles. These editions will feature the original covers, illustrated by Hodges Soileau, which portray the cheerful club members and the iconic series logo, fashioned from wooden play blocks. Launched in 1986 with Kristy’s Great Idea, The Baby-sitters Club was initially conceived as a four-book series to be published over one year. But the popularity of these novels about four entrepreneurial friends extended the publishing life of the original series to 15 years, bringing the number of titles to 132. With the addition of four spin-off series, that tally reached 250 novels, whose in-print total is a whopping 176 million copies. Below, some Baby-sitters Club news and trivia:

Through the end of December, Scholastic is releasing exclusive new content through its Baby-sitters Club Facebook page, where fans of the series can connect and reminisce about their favorite “BSC” moments. The page will feature regular updates, including announcements, trivia, photos, videos, and series-related tidbits from the Internet.
  • The Facebook page is also debuting a new Baby-sitters Club Facebook app that allows fans to preview the new e-books, answer quizzes, participate in polls, and scroll through images and memorabilia based on the series.

  • Some notable milestones: The Baby-sitters Club was the first children’s series to appear on the USA Today bestseller list; was in 1998 named one of the “Books of the Century” by the New York Times Book Review; and spawned a TV series and a feature film.

  • Linear fun facts: if lined up vertically, the 176 million copies of BSC books in print would climb 1,346,109, 875 inches and 21, 245,421 miles, and would equal the height of 77,203 Empire State Buildings. And one could walk between New York City and Paris on this lineup of books 5.84 times.

  • Good news for fans: Ann M. Martin has created a new, jacketed hardcover series, called Family Tree, which introduces girls from four generations of a family. It starts up in May with Better to Wish, set in 1930 and centering on an eight-year-old whose world is changing fast. Scholastic is announcing it as a four-book series.