Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: Betsy-Tacy Books #1 and #2

Summary: 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 become 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. -- Harper Collins

Summary: Betsy and Tacy are best friends. Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them start to play together. The grown-ups think they will quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among themselves.

They are not as good as they might be. They cook up awful messes in the kitchen, throw mud on each other and pretend to be beggars, and cut off each other's hair. But Betsy, Tacy, and Tib always manage to have a good time.

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

I have no idea why I wasn't familiar with the Betsy-Tacy series of books as a child, but I am so glad that I have discovered them as an adult -- I have Book Club Girl to thank for that! I do admit that I majorly missed out as a young girl by not reading these books. I have a feeling that I would have loved Betsy and her friends, and that I would have read these books over and over again. But enough about that... I'm just especially grateful that I have these books now and can share them with my 10 year old daughter!

BETSY-TACY and BETSY-TACY AND TIB, written by Maud Hart Lovelace and illustrated by Lois Lenski, are the first two books in the series. BETSY-TACY begins when the girls are 6 years old and tells the story of how they become best friends. BETSY-TACY AND TIB takes place two years later, when the girls are 8 years old, and continues with stories about their friendship. Only in this book, the girls meet up with Tib, the new girl in town; and a threesome is formed. Both books are filled with little stories about the girls and their friendship that is sure to entertain girls of all ages!

One thing I especially loved about these books is that they are still relevant even though the books were originally published in the 1940s. It doesn't matter how much our lives have changed over the years, young girls today will still relate to these stories about Betsy and her friends. These first two books are filled with lots of playtime and adventures that little girls everywhere have experienced. I think that Ms. Lovelace definitely captured every young girls' feeling with the characters in these novels.

In each of the following books, the girls continue to get older and more mature. I love that these books follow Betsy and Tacy from the time they were six until the time that Betsy gets married. It's almost as if you watch Betsy grow up; and I think that definitely made me feel as if Betsy were someone I knew. Each of the books in this series can stand alone; however, I think they are best appreciated as a whole. Every time I read a sentence that referenced something in the prior novel, I felt as if I were reminiscing with a friend.

Besides the actual stories about the girls, I also really appreciated the author's note, foreword and appendices in these books. In BETSY-TACY, the author's note was especially interesting because I learned that so much of these stories were based on Ms. Lovelace's own life. I also enjoyed the foreword in BETSY-TACY AND TIB because it was written by one of my daughter's favorite writers Ann M. Martin. It's obvious that the Betsy-Tacy books had a lasting impact on young girls and encouraged many of them to become writers. And finally, I loved the last few pages of both books because there were lots of photos from Ms. Lovelace's childhood as well as additional information on her life and how it related to the particular book.

Booking Daughter absolutely loved these books too. In fact, she kept talking about Betsy as if she were real. And I have to say that my heart melted just a little when she started cutting up old magazines and playing paper dolls like Betsy and Tacy! Here are her thoughts about these first two books:

I loved BETSY-TACY and BETSY-TACY AND TIB! I thought all of the characters were hilarious and unpredictable, but I really liked Tacy because she was so shy. I also liked how Betsy was so confident in herself and what she believed in. I could relate to Tib (sort of) because she loved to dance.

I loved how Betsy made up stories and began writing them down. I thought it was interesting that the author based the stories and characters on her own life. I also liked learning things about an earlier time.

BETSY-TACY AND TIB was my favorite book so far that I've read. I enjoyed the funny things the girls did together when they were eight years old. I thought it was hilarious when they cut off each other's hair. I was LOLing!

I definitely recommend these two books to little girls. I think they will like the characters and their personalities.

Thanks to Book Club Girl for sending us these books and converting two new Betsy-Tacy fans!


Meghan said...

These books sound so wonderful. I really wish I had discovered them as a child!

Molly said...

I was not introduced to these books as a child either, and it sounds as though I really missed out.

I should like to investigate these soon, perhaps thinking of reading them allowed to any future female grandchildren that might come my way :)

Laura's Reviews said...

I was not introduced to these books as a child either. I read about them for the first time a couple of month's ago on Meg Cabot's blog. Your review is great . . . I really need to check these books out!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I have got to start reading these! Jennifer over at Book Club Girl has me very interested in them.

BookClubGirl said...

I am so happy to hear that you AND Booking Daughter love Betsy-Tacy. As you know, I'm on a mission. So thrilled to have converted you both! ;) Can't wait to hear what you think of the high school books.

Anonymous said...

"Betsy, Tacy, and Tib" have been my favorites since I was a little girl, and now my daughter is enjoying them! I am glad to see a new generation of readers reading these wonderful stories. There used to be a "Betsy-Tacy" Society (think I found it on google.)
happy reading!

Belle said...

I grew up reading Betsy & Tacy - I'm pretty sure they were the very first books I ever took out from the library on my own. I love these books so much - I can remember playing Betsy & Tacy. I was always Betsy, of course :)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I missed out on these as a kid, too, and I'm so glad that I (and my girls!) can read them now.

bermudaonion said...

I missed these as a girl, too! I'm sure I would have loved them since Booking Daughter does.

Debbie Rodgers said...

I also don't know how I missed these as a child who voraciously read through the books in our public library (it was my very favourite place in the world when I was seven).

Thanks for letting us know now -I've reserved the first book in the series at the library here.

Beth F said...

I can't believe I missed out on these. I would have loved these when I was a girl. I might have to read them anyway.

Anna said...

I'm glad your daughter enjoyed them. I've been talking about Betsy like she's real, too. And I guess she is/was in a way.

My daughter is about half-way through the first book. We'd been planning to read them together, but other books have torn her away, not to mention tons 'o homework!

Diary of an Eccentric

Sarah M. said...

What a wonderful review! I am thrilled to know you and your daughter have enjoyed reading the BT books. And I love the part about your daughter talking as if Betsy is real and that she played with paper dolls. So sweet. The best part is, Betsy is... in a way, or rather was real, she just had a different name. :)

Enjoy the rest of the series.