Home again, home again

I have seen the inside of a LOT of airports in the past few weeks — St. Louis, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston… still to come are trips to Ashland and San Francisco (not book stuff for those trips, though, just family & friends stuff).  I have to say, I love it that so many airports have comfy rocking chairs scattered around — I make a beeline for them every time I spot one!

I wish you all could have been with me in Minneapolis last week when I helped kick off the Betsy-Tacy Convention.  It was FABULOUS!  So many fellow Betsy-Tacy enthusiasts in one spot, so much laughter, so much fun.  The best part (besides meeting so many incredible people, that is)? Getting to take a tour of Betsy & ____’s first apartment!  (I left the name blank just in case you haven’t read BETSY’S WEDDING yet — no spoilers allowed!)

This is the apartment building — it’s in a really cool old neighborhood in Minneapolis.  Upstairs is the actual apartment where author Maud Hart Lovelace and her husband Delos (the real Betsy & ____) first lived, and it’s adorable.  Teeny tiny by modern standards, but the perfect little love nest for two honeymooners, in my opinion.  It was incredibly nice of the current tenant to let 200 rabid fans troop through and take pictures and sigh over how charming everything is, and how closely it matches the description in the book.  I was ready to move right in!

So where are your travels taking you this summer?

 

Sensational Cynsations Home for the Holidays / Betsy-Tacy giveaway!

How would you like to win all this?

An autographed copy of my new mother-daughter book club installment HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, PLUS the BETSY-TACY TREASURY (which contains the first four books in Maud Hart Lovelace‘s series:  BETSY-TACY, BETSY-TACY and TIB, BETSY AND TACY GO OVER THE BIG HILL, AND BETSY AND TACY GO DOWNTOWN), PLUS the first two BETSY-TACY “high school” books (HEAVEN TO BETSY and BETSY IN SPITE OF HERSELF), PLUS this totally cool BETSY-TACY canvas bag!

Is this a great giveway or what?!

Can you read the quote on the bag?  It’s from BETSY AND TACY GO DOWNTOWN, my favorite book in the series, and it says:  “Betsy returned to her chair, took off her coat and hat, opened her book and forgot the world again.”  Betsy Ray is a character after my own heart.

To be entered to win, click here to go to Cynsations, my friend Cynthia Leitich Smith’s fabulous blog.  Follow the directions posted there (U.S. and Canada entries only, please).  A winner will be chosen on December 15th!

 

Betsy-Tacy bliss

Fans of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series (moi included) are in full-on celebration mode today — kazoos!  fireworks!  happy feet dance! — with the release of the first four books in this beautiful treasury format.

Betsy-Tacy * Betsy, Tacy and Tib * Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill * and Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (my personal favorite, along with a later book in the lineup called Betsy and the Great World) are all included here, along with the original charming illustrations by Lois Lenski.  (As a side note, Lenski’s Cowboy Small was a huge favorite in our house when my boys were growing up, and inspired my older son to rename this little guy “Cowboy Smallhat.” The two of them shared numerous adventures, and Cowboy Smallhat sits on my desk today as a reminder of how powerful a beloved book can be in sparking the imagination.)

 

But I digress.

Set in the fictional town of Deep Valley, which is based on Lovelace’s own hometown of Mankato, Minnesota, her stories chronicle everyday life at the turn-of-the-last-century.  It’s a life that may be foreign in some of its details, from horse-drawn carriages to pompadour hairstyles, but at the same time is deeply familiar, with family and friendship and the rocky process of growing up at its warm and engaging core.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say today about the new Treasury.

Lovelace’s four initial stories that it contains are required reading for fans of my Mother-Daughter Book Club series, and especially for readers of the latest installment, Home for the Holidays, which references all of these titles, along with the first two “high school” books, Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself.  In these, Betsy and her friends navigate ninth and tenth grade, respectively.

Sharp-eyed readers will note that the high school books (and beyond, as the series follows the friends all the way through Betsy’s Wedding) switch illustrators, introducing the artwork of the equally charming Vera Neville.

Maud Hart Lovelace has a devoted following.  She deserves to.  Her books are an American treasure.  I discovered them  later in life — I still can’t believe that bookworm me somehow missed them when I was growing up — but better late than never, right?

In hopes of introducing a few new readers to the delights of Deep Valley, I’ll be hosting a giveaway shortly here on my blog.  Winners will take home a copy of the new Treasury, along with my own Home for the Holidays.  Check back in a bit for more information!

 

 

A Betsy-Tacy treasure

Just in the door from a quick pilgrimage to Powell’s (always an eagerly-anticipated destination when either of our sons is home) where I spotted a treasure for all you Betsy-Tacy fans out there:

It’s a pristine first edition of Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace, the final book in her fabulous Betsy-Tacy series!  This charming bookseller at the Powell’s Cedar Hills store gamely posed with it so I could snap a picture.

At $150, it’s out of my price range (we’re still knee deep in the college years), but I thought perhaps someone might be interested.  AND for all you mother-daughter book club fans out there, I’m herewith dropping a HUGE HINT as to what my fictional club will be reading in the fifth installment (currently under construction and due in bookstores sometime in September 2011)…