Thursday, January 27, 2011

Betsy, Tacy, and Tib

This is to send my thanks to Maud Hart Lovelace (aka Betsy). I suspect I've got plenty of company in not only remembering those books fondly, but re-reading some of them on a yearly basis. I like her high school years onward, but the saga begins when Betsy is five.

Mrs. Lovelace, so the blurb in back of the books tells us, wrote these stories after telling them to her daughter, Merian. They're the tales of a girl in a solid middle class family in the Midwest (Minnesota) from the late 19th century into the beginning of the Great War.

They are a terrific introduction to the times, and more than just an escape. The writing is funny and charming and pulls the reader in to a world of comfort and privilege...but there are sad moments. She doesn't dwell on them, but parents of friends die too early, young hearts are broken, and the necessity of being good to other people (and some of the consequences, if you are not) are laid out for you, too.

These books have been in and out of print since the first was published in 1940. I don't know which, if any, are available in new editions, but keep your eyes open. Look in used book stores, antiques stores, and online used book sites.

It doesn't matter if you're 8 or 85, you'll find something to love in the Betsy-Tacy books (Tib is their the chum, she comes in after the first book), and it's also possible that you'll learn something about writing, and story telling, if you're a writer.


BookClubGirl said...

I am a fellow life-long fan of Betsy-Tacy and am happy to report that all of the books are currently in print, including the often hard-to-find Deep Valley books: Emily of Deep Valley and Carney's House Party (now coupled with Winona's Pony Cart). The 6 high school and beyond books - Heaven to Betsy through Betsy's Wedding were all reissued in the Fall of 09. All the books illustrated by Vera Neville now feature her art on the covers as well as historical background material on the real people who inspired the characters.

I'm so glad to have found your post!

Eileen said...

The day after I posted this I went to the Betsy-Tacy Society's website and spent, literally, hours pouring over it.

I am particularly happy that Vera Neville's work is back on the covers!