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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Betsy, Tacy, Tib and Hope and Sydney


When the Edwards Academy girls began reading "chapter books" in earnest, the entire "JV Fiction" section of the library beckoned. I quickly realized, however, that while it was fine to give them freedom to pile high our library cart with picture books, the "JV Fiction" section required considerable more discernment.

I've never put many limits on our reading for pleasure. The kids load up the library cart and I don't worry about whether or not the books they choose fit their reading level. The girls checked out American Girl books, for instance, long before they could truly manage reading them. On the flip-side, the picture books and early readers are always an option for them, even now.

The JV Fiction section has plenty of books with eye-candy covers and less-than-enriching prose inside. The pink colors and the cool-looking girl might have their appeal, but one glance inside reveals sarcasm and other attitudes we can do without! After the first book like this was tossed in the cart by my daughter, I decided we needed some guidelines.

This is how I stumbled on Betsy-Tacy books. This delightful series by Maud Hart Lovelace was sadly out-of-print when I was a young girl reading everything in sight. They were brought back into publication in the 1990s by loyal fans who petitioned the publisher. The thirteen book series is partially in print today. Originally written in the 1940s, the books tell stories of a young Betsy and her friends in the early 1900s, ending with "Betsy's Wedding" which is set in 1917, the year America enters the Great War.

The books captured the imagination of Hope and Sydney. Sydney in particular likes the early books about Betsy and Tacy and Tib's adventures in Deep Valley as young children. Hope has stuck with the series as Betsy went off to high school, tried her hand at writing and trying to be published, and finally when she married her sweetheart, Joe. The character of Betsy is inspired by the life of the author, and like Anne (of Green Gables) and Jo (of Little Women) the love for writing and the quest for being published figure into her stories.

This week Hope is dashing off to read more of "Betsy's Wedding" every chance she gets. Last night at dinner she updated us on the story. "Betsy is married to Joe now. He is a writer for a newspaper, but he's frustrated that they aren't giving him the good stories to write about."

"How's married life for Betsy?" I asked.
"Good. She hasn't learned to cook yet, though!" Hope told me.

Book 1, Betsy-Tacy, introduces the girls at age five. Thirteen books later, Betsy is a young married lady. The books also progress in reading level, but Hope doesn't seem to notice.

To find Betsy-Tacy books on Amazon.com, click here. To read the Wikipedia entry, click here. To see some plot summaries, click here.

4 comments:

Sharon said...

These books sound lovely. Even in synopsis form, they do remind me a lot of Anne as you said. Are they set in America? You mentioned the war timing but I wasn't sure if that meant they were set in the US or not, although I would presume so.

I wrote a response to your comment on my Mother Love post. Sorry it took so long coming, but I thought you might be interested to know about a DVD series of another of Elizabeth Gaskell's books.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

Yes, the Betsy-Tacy books are set in America. The girls are growing up in Deep Valley, Minnesota and the author Maud Hart Lovelace patterned Deep Valley after her own hometown of Mankato, Minnesota. (Not far, incidentally, to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Plum Creek.)

Betsy-Tacy books are easier reading than Anne, so it is nice to have something to tide them over until they plow through all the Avonlea books, which I expect they will do in a few years. (We already have the unabridged Anne on CD because I couldn't wait for them to know her!)

What a relief to know that Hope can read a book series in which the main characters go to high school and and then grow up and get married and I don't have to fret that she'll be exposed to something nasty. People in the forties weren't necessarily more moral than today, but I would say they had better manners!

Twyska said...

I thought that since you girls are reading the Besty series, I should start reading them too.By the way,I have finished a book called
"Ballet Shoes."
Love,
Joanna

Sharon said...

You might be interested in this post I found (on the subject of US elections and abortion, not anything to do with books): http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/2008/10/im-not-voting-for-man-im-voting-for.html. I haven't read the whole way through but it is good so far.
Have a good day.
~ Sharon

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