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RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS : Baby-Sitter's Club Readers Convene at MainPlace Mall to Meet Author Ann Martin

March 17, 1994|Greg Johnson, Times staff writer

The preschool and grade-school set, with parents in tow, jammed the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday for a glimpse of television's popular Mighty Morphin Power Rangers action characters.

But over at MainPlace/Santa Ana, the star attraction was Ann M. Martin, author of the popular Baby-Sitter's Club series, which challenges the ever-popular Nancy Drew books as the favorite read among young girls.

Martin drew about 3,000 children and parents--mainly daughters and mothers. "That rates very well for an author appearance at MainPlace," said MainPlace Marketing Director Judy Bijlani. Martin autographed books for young fans for four hours and posed for pictures with those who brought cameras.

Martin also held a press conference for cub reporters from local junior high and intermediate schools. "It was really cute," Bijlani said. "The students all had their little pads and they'd prepared questions for Ann Martin. They asked about her background and what made her want to be an author."

Tired parents were invited to take advantage of MainPlace's innovative hospitality suite--a renovated storefront that serves as a "big living room," Bijlani said. "There's a mother's nursing area, a children's play area, a restroom. People are invited to come in and really rest and relax."

The hospitality suite opened for the past holiday shopping season and proved popular enough to reopen later on a permanent basis.

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