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The Betsy-Tacy Treasury Review by Marisa CorlessMaud Hart Lovelace
Harper Collins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
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 treasury.
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 they play.
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.
Product Review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2012