by Maud Hart Lovelace
(this edition illustrated by Lois Lenski)
So the Betsy-Tacy books have been floating around my library my entire life. I know that they were on Mom’s bookshelves growing up, but when I asked her the other day, she said that she had never read them; she just collected them at booksales thinking that they looked like nice books. I had had much the same attitude, but finally decided to add them to the list of series to-be-read (for serious). And I am so very, very glad that I did. These books are delightful!
I am not even sure that I can describe them. They are set at the turn of the century, and focus on the adventures of three little girls (this first book only involves Betsy and Tacy; Tib moves into the neighborhood in the next book). These are the most stress-free books you could ever want to read. I keep waiting for something bad to happen, and nothing ever does! And yet they still manage to be quite readable, even without any kind of villain.
In this first book, Betsy lives with her parents and her older sister, Julia. A new family moves in across the street, and they have lots of children, including a girl just Betsy’s age. After a rocky start, the girls become firm friends. Much of the book is not so much actual adventures as it is the stories that Betsy tells of their imaginary adventures, which are often quite imaginative indeed!
In Betsy-Tacy, the girls are quite little, but they grow throughout the series. I have read the first three books now, but the series concludes with Betsy’s Wedding, so apparently they still have quite a lot of growing to do!
Lois Lenski’s illustrations are perfect as well. I love her work.
I cannot express the true extent of just the innocence and joy in these books. They are precious and delightful and full of gentle lessons about love, friendship, and respect. I am only sorry that I didn’t read them earlier.