Betsy-Tacy bliss

November 8th, 2011

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

August 16th, 2010

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)…

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