When I first heard the title "Betsy-Tacy" from the children's
librarian, who was recommending it for my daughter, my ignorance
led me to believe it was a current pop culture twaddle novel for
girls. I obviously had not done my homework! I guess the saying, "Don't
judge a book by its cover," also should say "or its name." I am
grateful I gave Betsy-Tacy a chance and was able to review this
Betsy-Tacy Treasury, written by Maud Hart Lovelace, is a collection
of the first four of the ten total books in the Betsy-Tacy series.
These first four are bound as one book. The first several books
were published in the early 1940s, and are roughly autobiographical.
Lovelace began writing the books after telling her daughter stories
of growing up with her best friends.
The first book in the series, and the first in the treasury, is
entitled Betsy-Tacy, and it is set in the very late 1890's. It
is mainly about Betsy and Tacy when they are five years old. The
descriptions of the girls' imaginative adventures are enchanting
and sweet. I could see how my eight-year-old might have played
pretend in much the same way that Betsy and Tacy play in the story.
The second through fourth books include a third little girl, Tib,
and span the years between ages eight and twelve. The girls continue
to have imaginative adventures, but their maturity increases, as
does the complexity of their games and distance from home while
Although these stories are written about turn-of-the-twentieth-century
children, and many of the details are historical, these stories
still speak to children today, mostly because the fundamental qualities
of children have not changed that much in the last hundred years.
The relationships and adventures that the girls have are similar
to those that children today have. There is a sweet timelessness
about the stories that draws the reader in. Throughout the books
there is a tender feeling of love, choosing good, and reverence
for God and family.
In addition to the four stories, there is a section of historical
notes on the novels, which comes with photographs of the inspirations
for the characters from Lovelace's life, as well as four forwards,
one for each book. Each forward is written by a different modern
author, telling of her memories or love of Betsy-Tacy. It was interesting
to read them, and see how authors I read as a girl had read these
same stories as children, and now my children read them too. I
love seeing the heritage of quality classic books.
The Betsy-Tacy Treasury has found a place in my heart, and a permanent
place on my bookshelf. The small lessons of life found within its
pages are worthy of my limited bookshelf space, and my only complaint
is that I didn't find Betsy-Tacy when I was a child. My eight-year-old
loves Betsy-Tacy, and I look forward to sharing these stories with
my younger daughters.