Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

If you've been browsing children's literature blogs and other book blogs, you've probably noticed a lot of recent posts about Betsy-Tacy, the classic series by Maud Hart Lovelace. That's because the series has been reissued and Betsy and Tacy have been on tour.

I'm excited to be taking part in the tour because I enjoyed the books when I was a child, and it was quite a treat to be reintroduced to the characters and the small town Deep Valley, Minnesota. Even though Maud Hart Lovelace began writing the books in the 1930's, children will identify with the friends Betsy, Tacy, and Tib as they deal with real-life issues.

In the books, we see the characters grow up from the time they are five through high school to the time of Betsy's wedding. For this blog tour, I am focusing on books three and four: Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill and Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown. The girls are getting older (10 in book three), and wheras the first two books featured vignettes of sorts of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, books three and four have more of a plot as the girls begin to venture out of the comfort of their homes.

In Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, the girls go to "Little Syria," a community of Lebanese immigrants. It's here that the girls make new friends and develop an appreciation for what it means to be American and have freedoms like the freedom of religion. But interwoven among this theme are lighthearted episodes that will certainly appeal to children and keep them reading. For example, they fall in love with the King of Spain and have an argument with Betsy and Tacy's big sisters about who will be the Queen of Summer.

In Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, the girls are now twelve, grown-up enough to have even more adventures. This book is a book of "firsts" for the girls. They go the theatre for the first time, ride in a car for the first time, and discover how wonders of the new Carnegie Library. This really struck home with me because the library was one of my favorite places when I was a child. I also identified with this book growing up because the girls befriend the new kid in town. I moved to a new town and school when I was 10. This is a great book as the girls transition into young adulthood.

Maud Hart Lovelace's work with setting and characterization is outstanding. You grow to love the characters and their hometown. As I was reading, I felt as if I lived in Deep Valley, even though I've never even been to Minnesota. I would not hesitate to give these books to children who love realistic fiction.

Check out the other tour stops this week!
Monday, October 12th: Red Lady’s Reading Room
Tuesday, October 13th: A High and Hidden Place
Wednesday, October 14th: The Well-Read Child (here!!!)
Thursday, October 15th: Diary of an Eccentric

Betsy-Tacy Book Relaunch Parties are happening across the country. Is one coming to your area?

10/23: Bainbridge Island, WA at the Library (This date is still a bit tentative.)

11/7: Highland Village, TX Barnes and Noble

11/8: St. Paul, MN Red Balloon Bookshop 

4/17/10: Dallas, TX, Dallas Heritage Village 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for setting up the tour and Harper Collins for providing review copies of the books.

1 comment:

  1. Jill, you've made me absolutely nostalgic for books I read when I was younger. I'm going to be reading the Betsy-Tacy series soon because I'm sure I'll love them even as an adult. Some books are timeless, and I think the Betsy-Tacy series is proof of that.

    Thanks so much for being on this tour!