Betsy-Tacy and Tib

( 15 )


Three of a Kind

Betsy and Tacy are best friends. Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them start to play together. The grown-ups think they will quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among themselves.

They are not as good as they might be. They cook up awful messes in the kitchen, throw mud on each other and pretend to...

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Betsy-Tacy and Tib

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Three of a Kind

Betsy and Tacy are best friends. Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them start to play together. The grown-ups think they will quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among themselves.

They are not as good as they might be. They cook up awful messes in the kitchen, throw mud on each other and pretend to be beggars, and cut off each other's hair. But Betsy, Tacy, and Tib always manage to have a good time.

Ever since their first publication in the 1940s, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each generation of young readers.

After Tib Muller moves into the town where Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly live, the eight-year-olds never quarrel, even when learning to fly--from the limb of a tree.

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Editorial Reviews

Bette Midler
I read every one of these Betsy-Tacy-Tib books twice. I loved them as a child, as a young adult, and now, reading them with my daughter, as a mother. What a wonderful world it was!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400978
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1979
  • Series: Betsy-Tacy Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 138,045
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) based her Betsy-Tacy series on her own childhood. Her series still boasts legions of fans, many of whom are members of the Betsy-Tacy Society, a national organization based in Mankato, Minnesota.

In addition to illustrating the first four Betsy-Tacy books, Lois Lenski (1893-1974) was the 1946 Newberry Medal winning author of Strawberry Girl.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Begging at Mrs. Ekstrom's


Betsy and Tacy and Tib were three little girls who were friends. They never quarreled.

Betsy and Tacy were friends first. They were good friends, and they never quarreled. When Tib moved into that neighborhood, and the three of them started playing together, grown-up people said:

"It's too bad! Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly always played so nicely. Two little girls often do play nicely, but just let a third one come around. . . ." And they stopped, and their silence sounded as though they were saying: "then the trouble begins!"

But although so many people expected it, no trouble began with Betsy, Tacy and Tib. The three of them didn't quarrel, any more than the two of them had. They sometimes quarreled with Julia and Katie, though. Julia and Katie were Betsy's and Tacy's big sisters; they were bossy; and Betsy and Tacy and Tib didn't like to be bossed.

Betsy and Tacy lived on Hill Street, which ran straight up into a green hill and stopped. The small yellow cottage where the Ray family lived was the last house on that side of the street, and the rambling white house opposite where the Kelly family lived was the last house on that side. These two houses ended the street, and after that came the hill.

Tib didn't live on Hill Street. She lived on Pleasant Street. To get to Tib's house from the place where Betsy and Tacy lived you went one block down and one block over. (The second block was through a vacant lot.) Tib lived in a chocolate-colored house which was the most beautiful house Betsy and Tacy had everbeen in. It had front stairs and back stairs and a tower and panes of colored glass in the front door.

Tib was the same age as Betsy and Tacy. They were all eight years old. They were six when Tib came to live in Deep Valley, and now they were eight. Tacy was the tallest. She had long red ringlets and freckles and thin legs. Until she got acquainted with people Tacy was bashful. Tib was the smallest. She was little and dainty with round blue eyes and a fluff of yellow hair. She looked like a picture-book fairy, except, of course, that she didn't have wings. Betsy was the middle-sized one. She had plump legs and short brown braids which stuck out behind her ears. Her smile showed teeth which were parted in the middle, and Betsy was almost always smiling.

When Betsy ran out of doors in the morning, she came with a beam on her face. That was because it was fun to plan what she and Tacy and Tib were going to do. Betsy loved to think up things to do and Tacy and Tib loved to do them.

One morning Betsy ran out of her house and met Tacy who had just run out of hers. They met in the middle of the road and ran up to the bench which stood at the end of Hill Street. From that bench they could look 'way down the street. They often waited there for Tib.

Betsy and Tacy had to wait for Tib because they got ready to play sooner than she did. Betsy's mother was slim and quick; she didn't need much help around the house. And Tacy's mother had ten children besides Tacy, so of course there wasn't much for Tacy to do. Tib's mother had a hired girl to help her, but just the same Tib had to work. Tib's mother believed in children knowing how to work. Tib dusted the legs of the chairs and polished the silver. She was learning to cook and to sew.

Betsy and Tacy didn't mind waiting today. It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.

"What shall we do today?" asked Tacy.

"Let's go up on the Big Hill," Betsy answered.

The Big Hill wasn't the hill which ended Hill Street. That was the Hill Street Hill. The Big Hill rose up behind Betsy's house. And a white house stood at the top.

"Shall we take a picnic?" asked Tacy.

"I wish we could," said Betsy. "But it's pretty soon after breakfast to ask for a picnic."

"If I went in the house to ask," said Tacy, "I might have to help with the dishes."

"Better not go," said Betsy. "But we'll be hungry by the time we get to the top." She thought for a moment. "We may have to pretend we're beggars."

"What do you mean by that?" asked Tacy, her blue eyes beginning to sparkle.

"Why, muss up our hair and dirty our clothes and ask for something to eat at the white house."

"Oh! Oh!" cried Tacy. It was all she could say.

Just then Tib ran up. She looked so clean in a starched pink chambray dress that Betsy thought perhaps they had better not be beggars.

"What are we going to do?" asked Tib.

"We're going up on the Big Hill," said Betsy. "Of course, we have to ask."

They were eight years old, but they still couldn't climb the Big Hill without permission; Betsy and Tacy couldn't; Tib's mother always told her that she could go wherever Betsy and Tacy were allowed to go. Tib's house was too far away to run to every time they had to ask permission.

Betsy and Tacy sent Paul, who was Tacy's little brother, into their houses to ask permission now. Paul trotted into Tacy's house and into Betsy's house, and he trotted back with word that they could go. So Betsy and Tacy and Tib started walking up the Big Hill.

Julia was practising her music lesson, and the sound of the scales she was playing flashed out of the house as they passed. It sounded as though Julia were enjoying herself.

"I wouldn't like to be playing the piano today," said Betsy.

"Neither would I," said Tacy.

"Neither would I," said Tib. "Of course," she added, "we don't know how."

Neither Betsy nor Tacy would have pointed that out. Tib was always pointing such things out. But Betsy and Tacy liked her just the same.

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Reading Group Guide


Around 1897, in Mankato, Minnesota, Maud Hart Lovelace met two girls -- Bick Kenney and Midge Gerlach. The three soon formed a trio that would be inseparable in their youth and remain friendly throughout their adult lives. Many years later, Maud told her daughter, Merian, bedtime stories about her girlhood adventuresw ith Bick and Midge. Soon, she developed these tales into a popular series of books that was first published in the 1940s. Mankato was transformed into Deep Valley, Minnesota, around the turn of the 20th century. Maud became friendly storyteller Betsy Ray, Bick became shy, redheaded Tacy Kelly, and Midge became the practical, yet fun-loving, Tib Muller.

The series begins with a fast friendship between Betsy and Tacy, who soon enjoy such fun as picnics on the bench on the Big Hill and dressing up and calling on neighbors. When Tib moves into the chocolate-colored house nearby, she quickly becomes Betsy and Tacy's other best friend. Many of their fictional adventures are based on Maud's real experiences with Bick and Midge.

As they grow older, Betsy's, Tacy's, and Tib's world grows larger. They climb over the Big Hill that had always seemed so high and enjoy such downtown delights as riding in horseless carriages and going to the theater. High-school introduces them to a new social life, and many members of their Crowd are also based on real people in Maud's life.

Even though the Betsy-Tacy books wree written so long ago, timeless themes of friendship, family, and love continue to teach us about our past and what we dream for our future. And they remain the perfect bedtime sotries to be shared bya mother and a daughter. The discussion topics, suggested reading list, and author biography in this reading group guide are intended to spark discussion about the wonderful characters and stirring adventures in this enchanting series.

Discussion Questions

  1. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib spend a lot of time together. They hike up the Big Hill, make up stories, and go to dances together. Which of their adventures sound like fun to both of you? Mothers, what do you like to do with your best friends now? What did you used to love doing when you were younger? Share your childhood adventures with your daughter. Ask her what her favorite activities with her friends are: playing a certain game, watching a movie together, drawing, acting, etc.

  2. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib form the TCKC club in elementary school, and the Okto Delta sorority as high-school juniors. What do they do in each of these clubs? Why do they decide to end the Okto Delta sorority? Have either of you ever been in a club? If so, what are some of your memories of it? Did you enjoy it? If not, is there a reason you haven't joined a club? What sounds appealing about clubs? .

  3. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib begin some traditions among themselves, as well as sharing in family traditions. For instance, Betsy and Tacy sing the Cat Duet at the school recital every year, and the Rays' Sunday Night Lunch is a tradition that draws many of Betsy's high-school friends. What are some of the other traditions in the Betsy-Tacy books? What are some traditions that you and your family and friends have? Are there any you'd like to start? .

  4. The mothers of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are all different. What do you think about how the mothers and daughters act with each other in the series? How are Mrs. Ray, Mrs. Kelly, and Mrs. Muller different? What do you like about them? Do they do some of the same things that your mother does or did? Tell each other what you like and sometimes find frustrating about your mother. .

  5. Maud Hart Lovelace based the Betsy-Tacy series on people from her life and experiences that she had. You can learn about some of the actual events and people from her life that appear in the books by reading the biographical section at the end of the books and looking at the pictures. Does reading about these people or places change what you think of the books? Which of these details do you find most interesting? If you were to write a book, which people, places, or experiences from your own life might you include? .

  6. In elementary school, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib loved to climb the Big Hill, and in high-school the Crowd spends much time at the ice cream parlor. Where are some of the other places the characters spend a lot of time? What was it about each of these places that continued to draw the characters back? What are some of your favorite places to go? What do each of you enjoy doing at these places? Do others accompany you? .

  7. Throughout the series, the characters witness many changes. Horse-drawn carriages are the primary mode of transportation at the beginning of the series. By the end, Betsy and her high-school friends are driving around in an automobile. What are some of the other inventions and changes that Betsy, Tacy, and Tib live through? How do those changes affect their lives? What are some objects that have been invented or become popular since both of you were born? What are some historical events that you have lived through? How do you think they have made you different? .

  8. Betsy spends a lot of time telling stories, and then writing them. She even sends some away to magazines. Do either of you enjoy writing or telling stories? If so, what are some that you are proud of, or that you have particularly enjoyed? If not, how do you prefer to share things with others? .

  9. When Margaret is born, Betsy gets upset because she isn't the baby of the family anymore. She also gets made when Julia tries to be the Queen of Summer. Other times, the Ray sisters get along famously. Hat are some of the situations in which Betsy and her sisters see things differently? What are some happy times they have together? If you have siblings, how do you act with them? If not, what are some things you like and don't like about it? .

  10. In the later books of the series, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib attend high school and Betsy eventually marries, as do her friends. Mothers, what are some similarities between their high-school experiences and your own? Daughters, what are some of the things you liked about Deep Valley High School that you wish to occur when you are in high school? .

About the Author and Illustrators

Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) is the beloved author of the Betsy-Tacy books, as well as many other books for adults and children.

In addition to illustrating the first four Betsy-Tacy books, Lois Lenski (1893-1974) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of Strawberry Girl.

Vera Neville illustrated six of the Betsy-Tacy books as well as three Deep Valley Books.

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Customer Reviews

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( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2000


    This is a great book. My favorite part is when Betsy,Tacy and Tib cut their hair. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014


    This story is so cute!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014


    My name is really Tacy my mom loved this series so much( and the names) that she named me Tacy. Cool right. Love the series:) &#9835

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013


    Love all the Betsy books and have reread them many, many times. If you are ever in Minnesota, take a drive to Mankato to see Betsy's and Tacy's real houses! The Betsy-Tacy Society owns them and they are open to the public.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    a long-time favorite

    Loved the Betsy-Tacy books when I was a kid. Gave the preceding book in the series and this one as a gift to my 8-year-old niece. She loves them too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2005

    A ton of Fun,I loved this book

    This book is about two friends Betsy and Tacy who become friends with a new girl named Tib.They have fun adventures and become just like sisters. I loved this book it was a so much fun.The entire book was funny,interesting and exciting.I loved this whole series it was tons of fun and I would recomend this book to any young reader.

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