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Children's LiteratureBetsy is back, in this fourth volume of Haywood's once-popular series, now an Odyssey Harcourt Young Classic. Here Betsy is initially excluded from the football team that Billy and the other boys are forming, until kindly policeman Mr. Kilpatrick makes her the gift of the one thing the boys still lack: the football itself. With traditional feminine wiles, Betsy does not reveal she is the proud owner of a football until the boys' desperation to own a football reaches a fever pitch after failed schemes to obtain one by selling Surething Flea Soap. Then the grateful boys welcome her aboard, though Betsy still has to navigate the remaining mine field of Valentine's day. Almost 60 years after its first publication, the text is likeably dated in some days, and disturbingly dated in others. It's pleasant to spend time in a world in which children create their own sports teams rather than enrolling in organized sports from preschool on, and quite amazing to spend time in a world where children need to work together to earn the money to buy something as simple as a football. But it will likely disturb today's readers to find that, after all Betsy's efforts to join the team, Betsy's mother decides "that Betsy has played enough football," after Betsy tears "one of her best school dresses" during a game. Overall, the Betsy books lack the enduring appeal of other revived classics, such as Maud Hart Lovelace's "Betsy-Tacy" books or the "Moffat" books by Eleanor Estes. 2004 (orig. 1945), Harcourt, Ages 6 to 10.