by Maud Hart Lovelace

Paperback, 2007



Local notes

PB Lov




HarperCollins (2007), Edition: Reissue, 144 pages


After Tacy Kelly moves into the house across the street from Betsy Ray, the five-year-olds become inseparable friends.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

144 p.; 6 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Almost-five-year-old Betsy Ray is thrilled when a family with a girl just her age moves in across the street. After Betsy's mother invites Tacy Kelly to Betsy's fifth birthday party, the girls become fast friends. They go on picnics, go to school together, play paper dolls, play house in an old
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piano box in Betsy's back yard, climb trees, play dress-up, and take imaginary trips to exotic Milwaukee. When Tacy's baby sister dies, Betsy knows exactly what to do and say to comfort her friend. Likewise, when a new sister replaces Betsy as the baby in the family, Tacy knows just what to say to help Betsy feel better about the new arrival. The girls pass a large chocolate-brown house with a tower and beautiful stained glass windows on their way to school. The house holds a pleasant surprise for them!

I'm sorry I missed out on this book in my childhood, but I'm glad I've discovered it now. The characters seem real - probably because they're based on the author's own family and childhood friends and neighbors. Girls who enjoy the American Girl series will probably like the Betsy-Tacy books with a late 19th/early 20th century setting in small town Minnesota (a fictionalized version of Mankato). Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
"Unexpectedly delightful" is a phrase that keeps popping into my head, as I sit here considering how best to describe Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy, the first in a long series of books about two (eventually three) young girls growing up in Minnesota in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
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centuries. Begun at an unfortunate time, when a dreadful head cold, and a feeling of being out of charity with the world made the author's somewhat expository style rather irksome for me, the story won me over by degrees, gently unfolding its tale of two young girls who face the joys and sorrows of being five-year-olds together.

When a new family move into the house across the street, Betsy Ray hopes that they will have a girl her age, and after an initial misunderstanding, she finds a best friend in Tacy (Anastacia) Kelly. The two are soon inseparable: they climb the Hill together, picnic together, go to school together, and play with paper dolls together. Their imaginary games, often fueled by Betsy's penchant for storytelling, are so well depicted, that the reader senses Lovelace's fond enjoyment, as well as her understanding of the centrality of such play in the life of the child.

But life, even for five-year-olds, is not all sweetness and light, and sorrow does touch the lives of Betsy-Tacy, just as change - inevitable and painful - makes itself felt. The death of Baby Bee, Tacy's infant sister, is handled by Lovelace with pitch-perfect sensitivity. The mystery and wonder of a young child's first encounter with death is effortlessly joined to the sorrow of loss. I found the scene on the early morning hillside, where Betsy and Tacy discuss Bee's death, deeply moving.

Lovelace's sensitivity to the feelings of the child, how the world appears to her, is demonstrated time and again throughout Betsy-Tacy. She understands that death is something terrible and yet matter-of-fact - in the way that so many things are terrible and matter-of-fact to the child who must experience them for the first time. Her depiction of Betsy's initial sorrow, at the birth of her younger sister Margaret, is a realistic portrayal of a child's natural ambiguity at having "her" place in the family usurped.

First published in 1940, and depicting an earlier time, Betsy-Tacy nevertheless has much to offer the contemporary reader, and seems as relevant in its depiction of young girls, as when it was first written. I find myself wishing that I had discovered these books as a child, but as one can only go forward, I'll content myself with having discovered them now. Thank you, Constance, Wendy, Melody, Lisa and Ginny!
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Oh gosh. It is just as adorable as so many of you have said. As I was reading it, and enjoying the charm of the Lois Lenski illustrations, I kept having the sense I had read it as a child. I think the thing is that I read some of the series when I was a child, but probably not this first one. In
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any case, ah, such an idyll. Recommended if you're feeling sad or mad and in need of a hug and a piece of cake.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
Betsy-Tacy is a charming little book about growing up in a small town in the late 1890s. We meet Betsy, who is five and loves to make up stories and songs, and her best friend, Tacy, who is the shy half of the friendship. The innocence of the time is nostalgic and refreshing, and I felt a desire to
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experience it first-hand as I read.
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LibraryThing member dmfox
It is absolutely scandalous! Which adults in their right minds would allow two little girls to walk to the top of a hill ALL BY THEMSELVES?! I love it. In this world where we are conditioned to keep our children in arms' reach at any moment, our children can live vicariously through Betsy and Tacy.
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Oh the freedom of going calling to neighbors without your parent tagging along. In addition to being easy to follow, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss things children of today don't know about. Manners are woven in seamlessly. Despite the prim and proper, this is a wonderful celebration of childrens' imaginations. How many children can get that much entertainment out of an old piano box? While I'm not sure it was exciting enough for all of us to choose another Betsy and Tacy book, we did enjoy this one.
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LibraryThing member Rabbitlover
This is one of the best books I ever read!!!
LibraryThing member drebbles
Betsy-Tacy is the first book in the delightful series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Five-year-old Betsy longs for a best friend and finds one when Tacy moves in across the street. Together they have many adventures, including going on picnics, selling sand, playing with paper dolls, going "calling" on
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neighbors, climbing The Big Hill, and going to school for the first time.

The Betsy-Tacy books were partially autobiographical and Lovelace perfectly captures the innocence and magic of childhood. Betsy's imaginative stories, such as riding a feather, are delightful. Even though they are children, Betsy and Tacy's lives are, as in real life, not always happy. The death of Tacy's baby sister, left tears in my eyes yet joy at the innocence of youth as Betsy and Tacy leave an Easter Egg in a tree with the belief that a bird will carry it up to Heaven and give it to Tacy's sister.

I loved these books as a child and I'm happy to say I still love them as an adult. This is a great book for young and old.
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LibraryThing member BookBrook
Oh I have read these books since I was the age of Betsy in the first book. I've read through all 10 books and I still smile when I think of little Betsy and how she grew up.

You will fall in love with these books. I recommend reading them.
LibraryThing member dolcejen
I loved reading this adorable little girl's novel. If I ever have a daughter I will definitely want to read the Betsy-Tacy books to her. Maud Hart Lovelace creates a charming world of happiness, love, and beauty as she describes the lives of Betsy and Tacy, two little girls growing up as friends in
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turn-of-the century Minnesota. Although this book is filled with sweetness, it does bring in the hard issues of life in a gentle, understanding manner. I loved the Lois Lenski illustrations!
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LibraryThing member PunahouGirl
The touchstone book of my life. I was first introduced to this series by our school librarian when I was in the third or fourth grade. These books are set at the turn of the century but the subject matter is as relevant today as it was back then. There is a timelessness to these books and if you
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can sell them to your students, they are in for the treat of a lifetime.
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LibraryThing member Carolina8629
As a little girl, I loved reading this series. My mother introduced them to me in 6th grade, and I have been hooked ever since. These stories are set at the turn of the century. Each one makes me wish I could be best friends with Betsy, Tacy and Tib. The adventures they have are always so much fun!
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I also love the happy go lucky theme that is the heart of this series. In today's society, it is nice to escape to the perfect world of Betsy Ray and her family, and dream about the simple times that have been left behind. This is a must read for any little girl. They are out of print, but most public and campus libraries have copies.

Also, the drawings are precious. Each book is illustrated by Lois Lenski who is a fantastic author and illustrator.
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LibraryThing member callmecayce
My best friend recommended these books and they are, well, disgustingly adorable. I like the characters and the stories, even though they aren't a flowing story, the work well together.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Picked up this classic since it made Betsy's Top 100 Chapter Books. It's a cute story and would be perfect for young kids who are reading above their grade level.
LibraryThing member satyridae
9/2012 This book gets better every time I read it.

12/2009 I have loved this book so long I can't remember when first I read it. I certainly didn't have two numbers in my age. I've re-read it countless times, and every time I've read it as an adult, I marvel at Lovelace's skill. Told from the
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perspective of a five-year-old girl, it rings true on every possible level. Read from the perspective of a forty-five-year-old woman, it's poignant and heartbreaking and nostalgic and delightful. This is my first re-read since I made the journey back to Mankato (the real-life Deep Valley) and it's pretty wonderful to read about the houses in which I have stood, tears in my eyes.

I cannot recommend this book, and the books which follow it, enough.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I've listened to this wonderful audio book twice in the last two days. I've read the actual book countless times, so often that I know it almost by heart. Lovelace was an amazing writer, and Sutton Foster does a splendid job with the narration.

The little girls are so very real, and the evocation
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of place and time both nostalgic and true. My favorite part changes- this time through it was George telling Betsy and Tacy that two nickels was not quite enough to buy a house.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member scote23
An older series that I have never read. Pretty cute and pretty tame.
LibraryThing member smpenni
In this heartwarming book readers will immediately warm up to Betsy and her new friend Tacy, who has just moved in across the street. These two girls, age 5, are instant best friends and share many adventures and good times.
LibraryThing member krissa
This cute little book was a perfect first book for the read-a-thon (not sure I could have handled much else at 6:00 AM). It is a light old-fashioned book filled with adventure and imagination. I think it would be fun to read with a little girl. The individual chapters are like a story in the story.
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It lends itself well to being put down and picked back up, or read straight through. I am happy I picked the first in the series to read, as it was interesting to see how the author chose to launch it. Even as an adult I can see why it was so popular then and now.
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LibraryThing member CherieDooryard
After many, many, many tries, I finally convinced my kids that listening to a chapter book over a series of nights was actually fun. I had never read this series before, but it was recommended as a good, gentle read, and it is. There is one sad part, but nothing scary or alarming, just a nice,
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everyday tale of two five-year-olds navigating a friendship and their town. If your kid likes explosions and superheroes, this might be too gentle, but it was perfect for my sensitive kindergartner and her preschool brother.
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LibraryThing member vonze
Although Betsy-Tacy is considered a classic by most, I was not familiar with it. Author Meg Cabot recommended it on her website years ago, so I became interested. Never got around to reading it, until it made the 100 spot on NPR's best YA novels (although this book would be considered
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Children's...much like the first Harry Potter book I'm guessing?)

So, having finally read it, I gotta say it's a very sweet and charming book. To me, it captures the magic and innocence of childhood perfectly. It's simply about a little girl and her day-to-day life: meeting her best friend, going to school for the first time, playing pretend, dealing with death, and sibling rivalry. Based on this one, I'm planning to continue the series. Overall, I'd recommend it to fans of Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls.
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LibraryThing member blbooks
First sentence: It was difficult, later, to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends.

Premise/plot: Betsy meets Tacy, her new neighbor, at her fifth birthday party. The two girls become instant best friends, near sisters. These two are inseparable. They want to do everything
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together--always together. This book focuses on their time together--at home, at school, etc. The book concludes with the two meeting another little girl near their own age, Tb.

My thoughts: I have no memory of reading Betsy-Tacy growing up. I'd heard of the book series certainly. But if I'm honest, I thought it was literally about ONE girl named Betsy-Tacy. These books are set around the turn of the twentieth century. Yes, it was published originally in 1940...but Betsy and company would have been born in the 1890s.

The book is interesting in that it feels TIMELESS and time-specific. The two things shouldn't both be true. The book feels timeless because it captures childhood realistically--family life, friendship, thoughts and feelings about school. Some things never change. It feels time-specific because of the descriptions and illustrations. It feels delightfully historic. I like that about it.
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LibraryThing member ms_rowse
Very sweet book, and I think my nieces would really like it. I would have loved these when I was younger. This series is #100 on NPR's list of the best YA novels (they group series together so they don't take multiple spots and are looked at as a whole).

The girls are adorable, and I love that they
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use their imaginations. Best example of "play" I've seen in a while.
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LibraryThing member DzejnCrvena
I'd have enjoyed it more if I read it in my younger years.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
The sweet first book in a series. Betsy and the shy Tacy become friends and use their wonderful imaginations to play. One loses a sibling and the other gains one over the course of the story. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series with my daughter.
LibraryThing member ashleytylerjohn
I suspect I'm not the target market (currently 51, male) but I do read and love children's books--and I'm not simply re-reading favourites from my childhood, but also seeking out new stories, or old stories that I've missed. I had the great pleasure of reading The Wind in the Willows for the first
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time a few years ago. Now I turn to Betsy-Tacy, and while I can certainly see the appeal, it's no The Wind in the Willows.

What makes it so appealing to others is likely the very thing that's leaving me unimpressed: it's written in a very plain, simple language, as if a child could have written it. The events are by-and-large of no great import (they play in a box, they sit on a bench, etc.), and when something dramatic happens (a death in the family, for instance) it is of little consequence to our main characters, who are seeing the world through a five year old's eyes.

I would have preferred an actual memoir, recollections of growing up in a modest household in a small midwest town at the prior turn of the century. This was pleasant--it's the book equivalent of pudding--but not the kind of pudding one might rave to their friends about, and go to the restaurant just to order it. My tastes are more toward Edward Eager, for a charming portrayal of youth in earlier times (and the fact that his kids tend to stumble across magic devices and have more interesting adventures than standing on a porch or attending a party doesn't hurt!)
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(359 ratings; 4.1)
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