Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace

"I know!" she said.  "We'll learn to fly."

"To fly!" cried Tacy and Tib.

"To fly!" answered Betsy positively.  "Birds can fly.  Why can't we?  We're just as smart as birds."  Tacy and Tib didn't answer, and Betsy went on:  "Smarter!  Did you ever hear of birds going into the Third Grade the way we're going to do this fall?  We can fly just as well as the birds, only we have to learn how, of course.  And that's what we're going to do right now."

"How?" asked Tacy.

"We'll start jumping off things.  First we'll jump off something low.  And then something higher.  And then something lots higher.  And so on.  We'll jump off the house at last, but we prob'ly won't get to that today."  (from Betsy-Tacy and Tib, page 17)

Betsy-Tacy and Tib, the second book in the beloved Betsy-Tacy series, was originally published in 1941.  Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are 8 years old now.  Betsy and Tacy have been friends for 3 years, and they've been friends with Tib for 2 years.  Their friendship is quarrel-free, but that doesn't mean they don't get into their fair share of trouble.  Like Betsy-Tacy, Betsy-Tacy and Tib lacks a major plot and is comprised of mini adventures.  Nevertheless, this book was ever more entertaining than the first one, opening with the girls walking up the Big Hill, becoming too famished to make their way down (despite the fact that they just finished breakfast), and deciding to smear mud on themselves and their dresses to appear like beggars so they can get food from the owners of the house on the hill.  I also laughed out loud when the girls decided to make lockets to hold each others' hair to remember one another in case one of them got sick and died (Tacy had just recovered from a long illness) and when they started The Christian Kindness Club and decided to wear bags inside their dresses to which they would add a stone whenever they did something bad.

Maud Hart Lovelace truly remembered what it was like to be a child, and you can tell from her writing that she loved life.  Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are a handful, but there's an innocence and a liveliness to them that make it impossible not to fall in love with them.  Although their friendship and family lives seem a bit too perfect, I wish (and I'm sure I'm not alone) that my life was more like Lovelace's happy, trouble-free, romantic tales of Deep Valley, Minnesota.  In Besty-Tacy and Tib, the girls are about the same age as my daughter, and Lovelace got the personalities, imaginations, and actions of 8-year-old girls just right.  I could insert my daughter into this story, and I bet she'd become great friends with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib.

Lovelace was a talented writer with the ability to make the ordinary lives of three little girls interesting and even exciting to readers of all ages.  I'm eating up the Betsy-Tacy books, loving each one more than the previous.  Don't let the fact that these are children's books deter you.  I'm finding that because they are intended for young readers, I can devour one in a single round-trip commute, but I'm torn between a desire to finish them quickly to continue the girls' stories and a need to slow down to savor every word.  I already know that I'm going to be sad when I finish the last book in the series.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Betsy-Tacy and Tib from HarperCollins for review purposes.


Serena said...

These sound hilarious!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Very cute, however, I dare not show these to my son. He actually might try the jumping off something tall idea.

bermudaonion said...

Are you sharing these books with The Girl? What does she think of them?

Kailana said...

I really liked this book!

Anna said...

~Serena: They really are a lot of fun.

~Sandy: My daughter already throws herself around without a care. What is it with these daredevil children?

~bermudaonion: We read part of the first book together, and she really enjoyed it. We haven't been able to read the others together because she has too much school-related reading to do right now. :(

~Kailana: I'm glad to hear that! I don't really know too many people who've read any of them.