This month I've been enjoying Maud Hart Lovelace. She is the author of the delightful Betsy-Tacy series. This series was written in the 1940 and 1950's but takes place at the turn of the century (1898-1917). The first book Betsy-Tacy begins right before the main character, Betsy's fifth birthday. The series is all about the adventures of Betsy and her best friend Tacy as they grow up. Last year I wrote about Betsy-Tacy.
I am once again taking part in the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge hosted by Library Hospital. Since I now own the volume Heaven to Betsy/Betsy in Spite of Herself (and the later volumes, too!), I was excited to dive in to the books!
Heaven to Betsy took me back to my high school days. Betsy is really growing up and is no longer the little girl she once was. Betsy and Tacy are now freshmen in high school. Betsy becomes part of the Crowd-the popular kids at school who enjoy so much together.
Heaven to Betsy really gives you a great peek at Betsy's family-the Rays. Mr. and Mrs. Ray have a loving and respectful marriage. They love their children, but understand their need to be kids. The children demonstrate love to each other and their parents. Julia (Betsy's sister) and Betsy's friends are welcome into their home before and after school and for onion sandwiches on Sunday nights. It makes me want to join in the fun, and by reading, I was kind of part of the parties!
Though I may not have been popular like Betsy, I still relate well to the friendships and even her interactions with all the boys. I don't think Betsy is boy crazy, but she certainly cares about what they think of her. Well, maybe she is slightly obsessed with one certain boy, but I didn't mind. I think the boys and Betsy flirt, but some of it also seems like brotherly/sisterly teasing, too.
I just loved this book, but I thought I would throw a little FYI out there. At some Christmas parties there is some use of a Ouija board. It seems innocent, but still something that a parent may want to address.
These books were written based on Maud Hart Lovelace's diaries, and I am amazed at how much "daily" history is included. One thing that truly surprised me is how often the teens of Deep Valley are using the telephone! Some things never change!
I've been reading Betsy in Spite of Herself, too. It's hard to believe, but I've been enjoying this even more than Heaven to Betsy with all the extra history lessons in the story! Please know that these little history lessons are just part of the story. I don't think they ever seem to be preachy or teach-y though. Maud Hart Lovelace naturally brings some facts into the stories since she really lived through the story. I'm not through with this book yet, but I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
I was recommending this series to my friend whose daughter is an avid reader. (She had already read many.) Another friend who is in her sixties, excitedly asked if I was referring to Betsy-Tacy and Tib books! She read them as a little girl!
I highly recommend these for anyone who likes to live in the past or who enjoy Anne of Green Gables! They are just a joy to read.
Thank you to the Library Hospital for giving the challenge to read and to Reading to Know for the giveaway where I won this book! (And HarperCollins Publishers for reprinting them and sending them to me!)
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