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The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace

Reading List
Reading List
Reviewed by Nancy Young

Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books are like perpetual summer. They are innocent, tender, and delightful. Difficulties arise, but never overpower the residents of Deep Valley, Minnesota. Particularly not the Ray family, one of childhood literature's few intact and fully functional families.

Based loosely on Maud Hart Lovelace's own childhood in Mankato, Minnesota, the series follows Betsy Ray (Maud), Tacy Kelly, and, later, Tib Mueller, from kindergarten through marriage, and grows delightfully with both the characters and the reader. Our favorites are therefore the final two, Betsy in the Great World and Betsy's Wedding, but there isn't a clinker in the bunch. Each book is full of fun, good humor, and real characters who have believable scrapes and escapes. The Ray family traditions become as anticipated to the reader as they are to the Rays, and great new ideas for fun appear as "snoggestions".

In addition to the ten Betsy-Tacy books, (all currently in reprint) there are three more Lovelace novels that use both Deep Valley as setting and Betsy's crowd as characters, but do not have Betsy as the central character. They are Winona's Pony Cart, Carney's House Party, and Emily of Deep Valley. They are as delightful as the Betsy-Tacy books and are also currently in print.

If you have only time to read one Deep Valley book, we recommend Emily of Deep Valley beause it is the least connected to the other novels.

The books inevitably, therefore, have a most loyal following. Considering that the novels have never been adapted for film or television, like Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie, this continued devotion and interest is testimonial indeed.

The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace are featured in Vol 1 No 6 (Heaven to Betsy), Vol 4 No 4 (Emily of Deep Valley, Vol 5 No 1 (A Betsy-Tacy Christmas), Vol 9 No 4 (Carney's House Party), Vol 11 No 2 (Betsy and the Great World), Vol 12 No 6 (Betsy's Wedding) of The Storybook Home Journal.

Tags: Vol. 1 No. 6, Vol. 4 No. 4, Vol. 5 No. 1, Vol. 9 No. 4, Vol. 11 No. 2, Vol. 12 No. 6, 2010, Book reviews

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