Well, the end of March is upon us and my procrastinating nature again thought, “Meh, this is a series for kids, I can start it later on." So, I’ve officially only read through two books from Maud Hart Lovelace this month. Namely: Betsy~Tacy and Betsy, Tacy and Tib. I am going to go ahead and finish out the series because I read the first three as a kid, and didn’t even realize the series continued after that. There are ten. TEN!
I’ve also learned from my fellow bloggers in the Reading To Know Book Club that the Betsy Ray series is not her only series. I really only just discovered this. I’m kind of delighted because the stories are so sweet and for whatever reason they are packed with good memories for me.
Children’s literature author Emilie Buchwald (who by the way I’ve never read anything by outside of this quote that I happen to love) says, “"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” And this is so true. Most of my favorite children’s books were books that were given to me as gifts from my parents. I was also raised around books. We’ve always had bookshelves even at the eye level of a baby just learning to walk, and I’ve spoken before about my interest in Jack London at four years old, possibly based solely on the fact that it was shelved where I could see it.
Anyway, I don’t know how old I was when I was given the first three Betsy Ray books. It was one of my birthdays under ten presumably. Later I passed them on to Little Sister who loved them to their actual deaths, so unfortunately there was nothing to pass down to Littlest Sister.
So, nothing actually happens in these books. There isn’t necessarily an over arching adventure or underlying mystery, it’s just a story of three friends who live in a small town in the late 1800s. This could be a criticism, but I think there is also some simple beauty to it. In the introduction to Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, Ann M. Martin (author of the infamous Babysitter’s Club series) says that these girls are timeless. While they are set in a particular historical setting, they are just three little girls doing things little girls have always done: dressing up, climbing trees, setting up a fort, going on picnics. They are relatable to generations of little girls. While reading the chapter about paper dolls, I remembered how Older Sister and I used to cut out the ladies from magazines and use them for paper dolls. And Betsy and Tacy are right, finding the guy paper dolls IS the hardest part.
Something noteworthy is Betsy’s love of storytelling. She is constantly entertaining her friends with stories about the three of them and often their older sisters and parents. You certainly see the beginnings of an imagination at work. I think this love of words and stories helps her as she comforts Tacy when Tacy’s baby sister dies.
If anyone is interested, these books were apparently referenced in the movie You’ve Got Mail. That’s really all I have to say about that, but I thought it was kind of cool.
Anyway, apparently I need to read Emily of Deep Valley because I’ve read everyone’s comments on that book and feel the need to experience this book myself. It sounds like perhaps it digs into life at a deeper level than the Betsy series.
I read these books by Maud Hart Lovelace with the fine bloggers participating in the Reading to Know Book Club hosted by Carrie. The author was chosen by Annette at This Simple Home. Thanks Annette and Carrie for helping me re-indulge in some good memories.