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Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
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Betsy-Tacy (1940)

by Maud Hart Lovelace

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Betsy-Tacy (1)

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Although Betsy-Tacy is considered a classic by most, I was not familiar with it. Author Meg Cabot recommended it on her website years ago, so I became interested. Never got around to reading it, until it made the 100 spot on NPR's best YA novels (although this book would be considered Children's...much like the first Harry Potter book I'm guessing?)

So, having finally read it, I gotta say it's a very sweet and charming book. To me, it captures the magic and innocence of childhood perfectly. It's simply about a little girl and her day-to-day life: meeting her best friend, going to school for the first time, playing pretend, dealing with death, and sibling rivalry. Based on this one, I'm planning to continue the series. Overall, I'd recommend it to fans of Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls. ( )
  vonze | Feb 6, 2014 |
"Unexpectedly delightful" is a phrase that keeps popping into my head, as I sit here considering how best to describe Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy, the first in a long series of books about two (eventually three) young girls growing up in Minnesota in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Begun at an unfortunate time, when a dreadful head cold, and a feeling of being out of charity with the world made the author's somewhat expository style rather irksome for me, the story won me over by degrees, gently unfolding its tale of two young girls who face the joys and sorrows of being five-year-olds together.

When a new family move into the house across the street, Betsy Ray hopes that they will have a girl her age, and after an initial misunderstanding, she finds a best friend in Tacy (Anastacia) Kelly. The two are soon inseparable: they climb the Hill together, picnic together, go to school together, and play with paper dolls together. Their imaginary games, often fueled by Betsy's penchant for storytelling, are so well depicted, that the reader senses Lovelace's fond enjoyment, as well as her understanding of the centrality of such play in the life of the child.

But life, even for five-year-olds, is not all sweetness and light, and sorrow does touch the lives of Betsy-Tacy, just as change - inevitable and painful - makes itself felt. The death of Baby Bee, Tacy's infant sister, is handled by Lovelace with pitch-perfect sensitivity. The mystery and wonder of a young child's first encounter with death is effortlessly joined to the sorrow of loss. I found the scene on the early morning hillside, where Betsy and Tacy discuss Bee's death, deeply moving.

Lovelace's sensitivity to the feelings of the child, how the world appears to her, is demonstrated time and again throughout Betsy-Tacy. She understands that death is something terrible and yet matter-of-fact - in the way that so many things are terrible and matter-of-fact to the child who must experience them for the first time. Her depiction of Betsy's initial sorrow, at the birth of her younger sister Margaret, is a realistic portrayal of a child's natural ambiguity at having "her" place in the family usurped.

First published in 1940, and depicting an earlier time, Betsy-Tacy nevertheless has much to offer the contemporary reader, and seems as relevant in its depiction of young girls, as when it was first written. I find myself wishing that I had discovered these books as a child, but as one can only go forward, I'll content myself with having discovered them now. Thank you, Constance, Wendy, Melody, Lisa and Ginny! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jul 11, 2013 |
I've listened to this wonderful audio book twice in the last two days. I've read the actual book countless times, so often that I know it almost by heart. Lovelace was an amazing writer, and Sutton Foster does a splendid job with the narration.

The little girls are so very real, and the evocation of place and time both nostalgic and true. My favorite part changes- this time through it was George telling Betsy and Tacy that two nickels was not quite enough to buy a house.

Highly recommended. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
9/2012 This book gets better every time I read it.

12/2009 I have loved this book so long I can't remember when first I read it. I certainly didn't have two numbers in my age. I've re-read it countless times, and every time I've read it as an adult, I marvel at Lovelace's skill. Told from the perspective of a five-year-old girl, it rings true on every possible level. Read from the perspective of a forty-five-year-old woman, it's poignant and heartbreaking and nostalgic and delightful. This is my first re-read since I made the journey back to Mankato (the real-life Deep Valley) and it's pretty wonderful to read about the houses in which I have stood, tears in my eyes.

I cannot recommend this book, and the books which follow it, enough. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
An older series that I have never read. Pretty cute and pretty tame. ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maud Hart Lovelaceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lenski, LoisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was difficult, later, to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064400964, Paperback)

Best Friends Forever

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, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.

Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up and go calling. And one day, they come home to a wonderful surprise—a new friend named Tib.

Ever since their first publication in the 1940's, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each generation of young readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After Tacy Kelly moves into the house across the street from Betsy Ray, the five-year-olds become inseparable friends.

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