Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy)

by Maud Hart Lovelace

Paperback, 2000



Local notes

PB Lov




HarperCollins (2000), Edition: Reissue, 240 pages


The further adventures of 12-year-old Betsy, Tacy, and Tib as they explore the world beyond their neighborhood and discover the public library, see a real play, and make friends with the owners of the downtown hotel.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

240 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
Betsy, Tacy and Tib are old enough to go downtown on their own. The world awaits them! Betsy makes friends with a lonely rich lady whose husband owns the theater, and the trio also make friends with the girl whose father "knows everyone"--Winona. Together, the foursome enjoy a lighthearted view of
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life at the turn of the century--including the new wonder: the horseless carriage! One of an absolutely fabulous series of books!

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LibraryThing member callmecayce
This was probably the best of the four I've read. Not only were their adventures exciting (a car and going to plays!) but there was a chance for a really nice family reunion that I kind of expected to happen and yet when it did, it surprised me. I liked the descriptions of the winter and what it
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was like to be in a play. And how, even though the three girls had their troubles, they were able to work them out.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
9/2012 Six stars. Ninety-six stars. Down Town is my favorite of the first four books and ranks near my favorites in the series entire. I'm prissy about my copy, which is, in fact titled Down Town. None of this namby-pamby Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown stuff. Nope, just Down Town, because like Winona,
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I like to go in doors marked "Private, Keep Out."

There are so many good stories twining though this book- Mrs. Poppy's, of course. We meet Miss Sparrow here, the librarian who gets so many great lines ("Tom Sawyer- classic- going to be!") and we learn some things about Mrs. Ray's childhood. The Christmas shopping trip! The bobsled, where we first meet Betsy's trick ankle. What fun these people have, and how they love each other.

And did you ever notice how in this book Lovelace draws attention to Margaret's thick and lovely eyelashes?

12/2009 This is my favorite of the pre-high-school Betsy-Tacy books. Among the BT cognoscenti, whole weeks have been devoted to debating which books in the series are the best. This does sometimes devolve into name-calling and braid-tugging, but generally Down Town ranks near the top.

The girls are 12 and they don't quite fit anywhere- not with Julia and Katie who are being walked home from school by boys, and not with Margaret and Freddie who are rioting through the streets shouting. They want to be one or the other but they can't quite decide which. Their parents are becoming more interesting, with backstories of their own- but at the same time less central to the lives of the girls. Betsy is developing some of that tender empathy which will both help her and break her heart in future books. Tacy is settling into her role as champion and cheerleader and Tib... is just like Tib, forever and ever, amen.

The lost uncle plotline makes me weep as hard as the Ladies Home Journal story in teeny-tiny writing makes me laugh.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
I think that Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown may be my favorite book yet, in Maud Hart Lovelace's series of children's novels devoted to the adventures of three young girls growing up in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Minnesota. Now twelve years old, Betsy, Tacy and Tib find their horizons
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expanding, as they venture into town on their own, see a horseless carriage for the first time, attend a thrilling performance of Uncle Tom's Cabin at the Opera House, and (in Betsy's case) discover the joys of the new Carnegie Library.

The girls find a new playmate in Winona Root, the sometimes exasperating daughter of Deep Valley's newspaper editor, and a true friend in plump Mrs. Poppy, who gives them a lovely Christmas party. But the most thrilling experience of all comes when they are chosen to participate in a performance of Rip Van Winkle, and make a surprise discovery with implications for Betsy's family...

Like some other reviewers who first read this as an adult, I was able to guess all the developments well in advance. But somehow, the pleasure of "discovery" was in no way diminished - a testament to Lovelace's immense skill as a storyteller. I enjoyed all the adventures chronicled herein, particularly the Christmas "shopping" expedition, and was charmed to follow Betsy's growth as an author. I laughed over her attempted sentimental novel, The Repentance of Lady Clinton, and thrilled to her first success, with the publication of the poem, The Curtain Goes Up. As Lovelace observes at the close of this entertaining and heartwarming story, the curtain is going up on the girls' adolescence, and I, for one, am looking forward to watching it!
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I think this is one I may have read as a child. I vaguely remember bits of it, and I feel influenced by the messages of making new friends in Mrs. Poppy and in Winona.

This time through, anyway, I was enchanted by Winona pretty early on. She's so smart, and she grins, and she does what she can to
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fend off loneliness. I caught a line near the end that I probably didn't before: 'I love to go in doors that say "Private, Keep Out,"' said Winona."

I love how the girls are now 12, and really starting to grow up, but at the same time holding fast to childhood & innocence. I really do pity children who try to do teen things, and teens who try to do adult things, whether it's playing mature video games, or dating & sex, or reading advanced books and missing out on children's treasures like these.

Oh, and despite the title, Tib is a major character."
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
We're back with the usual group of friends: Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, and an addition, Winona Root. Winona's father gets complimentary passes to the opera house, so the friends get to go see real plays. Of course, this encourages Betsy's writing habit.

I liked how the author has grown the characters
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into 12 year olds, starting to see the adult world ahead, but still rooted in childhood fun. There are bobsled parties, shopping expeditions, and an encounter with a horseless carriage! I especially enjoyed Betsy's first trip to a real library, after one is opened in her town, and her reactions to having a world of literature available.

I read this as a child, and enjoyed it just as much, if not more, as an adult read.
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LibraryThing member PatsyMurray
I found this amusing, especially Winona's character!
LibraryThing member nx74defiant
The girls are now 12 years old. They see a horseless carriage for the first time. Tib gets to ride in it. They go to plays, put on plays and even get to appear in one. There friendship with Winona develops.




(141 ratings; 4.2)
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