Sunday, October 10, 2010


My sister-in-law Meg introduced me to the all-American Betsy-Tacy series written by Maud Hart Lovelace and illustrated by Lois Lenski.  Meg insisted that I read Betsy-Tacy, loaning me the volume she grew up reading.  As I got into the first few chapters, I realized this just might be a good chapter book to begin reading aloud to my 4 year old.  From the very beginning, she was hooked, begging me to continue reading the next chapter (and the next).

For you first timers to Betsy-Tacy series, let me describe them to you:
  • Betsy and Tacy become inseparable friends almost as soon as they meet each other at the age of four. 
  • The girls vastly differ in physical features and personality, but you find how well their traits complement each other.  
  • Lovelace loosely bases the stories on her own childhood.  
  • Lovelace began telling her childhood stories to her daughter before writing the fictitious stories of Betsy, Tacy, and then Tib.
  • For you Little House on the Prairie lovers: do you remember Wilder writing about "Pa" going to Mankato, Minnesota?  Well, Betsy and Tacy grow up in Mankato during the turn of the century.  So we see a different midwestern life than the hardships Laura Ingalls Wilder faces.
We're on our third reading of Betsy-Tacy within the past nine months, and we've also read Winona's Pony Cart.  Betsy and Tacy live on the town's outskirts, and Winona lives right downtown Mankato, so it's interesting to discover the different perspectives of growing up in Mankato.  Now, I'll have to be honest with you, there's a reason why we've only gotten as far as Betsy-Tacy; when I previewed Betsy-Tacy and Tib, I realized there's quite a bit of good, clean mischief that these darling little girls get into.  But I'm just not quite sure my own Little Bit of Mischief needs any fresh ideas (i.e. cutting her little friends' hair all off).  However, in time, she will mature to a level where I can read the next in the series.  So take note, readers, I'm WILD about these books, and we'll be reading all of them over and over in due time!  I want to give a big shout-out "Thank you!" to Meg who introduced us to these wonderful heartland stories.

Please, please take the time to check out the Betsy-Tacy Society website for more information  Here are some resources we found on the site:
  • a chart of Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series with corresponding ages
  • reading comprehension questions
  • a Maud Hart Lovelace bio
  • coloring pages
  • crafts
  • birthday party ideas
  • word puzzles
  • a personality quiz
  • and more

Readers, please comment on your favorite of the Betsy-Tacy books.  Did you grow up reading this series?  Any memorable moments/chapters?

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