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The Betsy-Tacy Treasury: The First Four Betsy-Tacy Books Paperback – November 8, 2011
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“Some characters become your friends for life. That’s how it was for me with Betsy-Tacy.” (Judy Blume)
“I read every one of these Betsy-Tacy Tib books twice. I loved them as a child, as a young adult, and now, reading them with my daughter, as a mother. What a wonderful world it was!” (Bette Midler, actor and singer)
“Betsy-Tacy fans never die. They just reread.” (Anna Quindlen)
“Betsy was a high-school junior when automobiles were new...but her problems were much the same as her modern high-school sisters.” (Chicago Sun)
“Family loyalty and the devotion of friends to one another, which for me are the defining characteristics of the Betsy-Tacy stories.” (Esther Hautzig, award-winning author, former Director of Children's Book Promotion for Thomas Y. Crowell Co., and former publicist for Betsy's Wedding in 1955)
“I am fairly certain that my independent, high-spirited grandmother must have had a childhood similar to Betsy Ray’s…As I read..., I felt that I was having an unexpected and welcome peek into Granny’s childhood—a gift to me from Maud Hart Lovelace.” (Ann M. Martin, creator/author of The Baby-sitter's Club)
“I now realize that one of the reasons I believed I could someday become a writer was because of Betsy’s own infallible confidence that she would be a writer. (Mary Kay Andews, New York Times Bestselling Author)
“When I was growing up in the Bronx, I had lots of friends. But the girls I most enjoyed spending time with were Betsy, Tacy and Tib . . . three girls full of good ideas, adventures and fun.” (Johanna Hurwitz, award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers)
From the Back Cover
There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy’s age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, the moment Betsy meets Tacy, one of the most heartfelt friendships in all of children’s literature begins.
The Betsy-Tacy Treasury brings together the first four books in Maud Hart Lovelace’s classic series: Betsy-Tacy; Betsy, Tacy and Tib; Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill; and Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown. Tracing the girls’ lives from early childhood to the brink of adolescence, Lovelace illuminates their innocent, mischievous fun and their eye-opening adventures exploring the world around them—from the stories Betsy spins from their neighborhood bench and the sand stores they run in their backyards, to their first experiences at the library, the thrill of the theater, and the sight of their first automobile.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first four books are appropriate for your 6-12 year old. The language is a little flowery for younger readers - my 6 yo was impatient for the action to get started so we had to wait another year. By then she was ready to listen to all four books. She loved the friendship between the girls as much as I did. The details of a turn of the (20th) century childhood struck a chord for my turn of the century (21st) child - especially reading in a tree with a pillow. Sadly, today's kids don't range on foot to the next town over anymore. Some details may spark some interesting discussions - the play Uncle Tom's Cabin comes to town. You may want to be prepared to summarize the plot. We ended up talking a little about slavery the second time we read these books.
I warmly recommend the rest of the books. They only get better and better. Betsy is a great character, a girl with great friends that grows into a questioning teenager (still with great friends), an adventurous college student, and an employed adult. She has options, charts a course, and finds her way with a little help from her buddies. Isn't that what we'd all like for our daughters?
UPDATE: I'm happy to see that this collection has received an updated cover and a better description that mentions there are four books collected in one volume!
Was this book truly worthy of all of this praise? I am more than happy to say a very emphatic "YES!" By the end of the first book, I had fallen in love with Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly and their world in Deep Valley, Minnesota. Deep Valley is the Mankato of Lovelace's childhood around the turn of the nineteenth century. (For fellow Little House on the Prairie TV series fans, this is the same Mankato that characters from Walnut Grove visit to get trade goods.)
Five-year old Betsy is excited when a new family with lots of children moves into the house across the street. One girl appears to be her age. After a slight misunderstanding, they soon become fast friends and the people of Hill Street and Deep Valley can't remember a time when Betsy-Tacy were not friends. Soon a new girl moves in to the chocolate house on the way to school, and Tib becomes their fast friend. Betsy wants to be a writer and is full of imaginative stories. Tacy is shy, but loyal and fun. Tib is very matter of fact and also very pretty. The books move through their lives. By book two they are eight, book three they are ten, and book four they are twelve.
What did I like so much about this book? Although the adventures took place long before my childhood, the spirit of their life and adventures perfectly captures the spirit and joy of childhood that does not change through the ages. The wonder of the world and how one street and one city can seem so giant and faraway places like Milwaukee can be viewed with imaginative delight are just how a child views the world. Their adventures playing and making up stories reminded me of the fun I had as a child with my best friend Stephanie and sister Kristi doing very similar things. It was wonderful how Lovelace was able to capture her childhood and to remember what it was like to be a child and to have a fantastic imagination that can make climbing a hill the most exciting journey.
What really brought these books to the next level to me was when in book one, tragedy strikes. Tacy's baby sister, Bee, dies from a childhood illness. Tacy and Betsy go for a walk and Tacy is very sad about her sister's death. Betsy tries to cheer her up and talks to her about Bee's adventures in heaven. "Of course she can see us. She's looking down right now. And I'll tell you what tickles Bee. She knows all about Heaven, and we don't. She's younger than we are, but she knows something that we don't. Isn't that funny? She's just a baby, and she knows more than we do."
Betsy brings the death down to the level of a child's understanding, and is able to make Tacy think of all of the fun that Bee is having in heaven being a big girl and watching out for her family. I found it to be a very moving conversation and quite touching. Betsy and Tacy are the best kind of friends; the kind of friends that can help you out in a moment of crisis and be what you need them to be.
I also really enjoyed how Betsy, Tacy, Tib befriend a little girl (Naifi) from "Little Syria" in Deep Valley in Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill. They defend her when she is picked on by some rather nasty boys. Tib's mother (Mrs. Muller) had some wise words to say about it, "I'm glad Tib stood up for that little Syrian girl. Foreign people should not be treated like that. America is made up of foreign people. Both of Tib's grandmothers came from the other side. Perhaps when they got off the boat they looked a little strange too."
Overall, The Betsy-Tacy Treasury was a wonderful, delightful series of books that I am very happy to have finally read. They are great adventures of childhood wonder and also have beautiful illustrations. I will definitely be reading these stories to my daughter when she gets older and I'm already planning for making a future trip to Mankato to check out Big Valley. I also want to read the rest of their adventures as they grow into teenagers and beyond! My only complaint is that poor Tib is always left off of the title of the books.