Betsy-Tacy

( 31 )

Overview

Best Friends Forever

There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.

Betsy and Tacy ...

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Betsy-Tacy

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Overview

Best Friends Forever

There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.

Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up and go calling. And one day, they come home to a wonderful surprise—a new friend named Tib.

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

After Tacy Kelly moves into the house across the street from Betsy Ray, the five-year-olds become inseparable friends.

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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: 9780064400961
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1979
  • Series: Betsy-Tacy Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 107,968
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (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

Betsy Meets Tacy

It was difficult, later, to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends. Hill Street came to regard them almost as one person. Betsy's brown braids went with Tacy's red curls, Betsy's plump legs with Tacy's spindly ones, to school and from school, up hill and down, on errands and in play. So that when Tacy had the mumps and Betsy was obliged to make her journeys alone, saucy boys teased her: "Where's the cheese, apple pie?" "Where's your mush, milk?" As though she didn't feel lonesome enough already! And Hill Street knew when Sunday came, even without listening to the rolling bells, for Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly (whose parents attended different churches), set off down Hill Street separately, looking uncomfortable and strange.

But on this March afternoon, a month before Betsy's fifth birthday, they did not know each other. They had not even seen each other, unless Betsy had glimpsed Tacy, without knowing her for Tacy, among the children of assorted sizes moving into the house across the street. Betsy had been kept in because of bad weather, and all day she had sat with her nose pasted to the pane. It was exciting beyond words to have a family with children moving into that house.

Hill Street was rightfully named. It ran straight up into a green hill and stopped. The name of the town was Deep Valley, and a town named Deep Valley naturally had plenty of hills. Betsy's house, a small yellow cottage, was the last house on her side of Hill Street, and the rambling white house opposite was the last house on that side. So of course it wasvery important. And it had been empty ever since Betsy could remember.

"I hope whoever moves in will have children," Betsy's mother had said.

"Well, for Pete's sake!" said Betsy's father. "Hill Street is so full of children now that Old Mag has to watch out where she puts her feet down."

"I know," said Betsy's mother. "There are plenty of children for Julia." (Julia was Betsy's sister, eight years old.) "And there are dozens of babies. But there isn't one little girl just Betsy's age. And that's what I'm hoping will come to the house across the street."

That was what Betsy hoped, too. And that was what she had been watching for all day as she sat at the dining room window. She was certain there must be such a little girl. There were girls of almost every size and boys to match, milling about the moving dray and in and out of the house. But she wasn't sure. She hadn't absolutely seen one.

She had watched all day, and now the dining room was getting dark. Julia had stopped practicing her music lesson, and Mrs. Ray had lighted the lamp in the kitchen.

The March snow lay cold and dirty outside the window, but the wind had died down, and the western sky, behind the house opposite, was stained with red.

The furniture had all been carried in, and the dray was gone. A light was shining in the house. Suddenly the front door opened, and a little girl ran out. She wore a hood beneath which long red ringlets spattered out above her coat. Her legs in their long black stockings were thin.

It was Tacy, although Betsy did not know it!

She ran first to the hitching block, and bounced there on her toes a minute, looking up at the sky and all around. Then she ran up the road to the point where it ended on the hill. Some long-gone person had placed a bench there. It commanded the view down Hill Street. The little girl climbed up on this bench and looked intently into the dusk.

"I know just how she feels," thought Betsy with a throb. "This is her new home. She wants to see what it's like." She ran to her mother.

"Mamma!" she cried. "There's the little girl my age. Please let me go out! Just a minute! Please!"

Mrs. Ray was moved by the entreaty. She looked out at the colored sky.

"It does seem to be clearing up," she said. "But you could only stay a minute. Do you want to go to the bother of putting on your things . . ."

"Oh, yes, yes!"

"Overshoes and mittens and everything?"

"Yes, really!"

Betsy flew to the closet, but she could not find her pussy hood. The mittens were twisted on the string inside her coat.

"Mamma! Help me! Please! She'll be gone."

"Help her, Julia," called Betsy's mother, and Julia helped, and at last the pussy hood was tied, and the coat buttoned, and the overshoes buckled, and the mittens pulled on.

Outside the air was fresh and cold. The street lamp had been lighted. It was exciting just to be out at this hour, even without the prospect of meeting the new little girl. But the new little girl still stood on the bench looking down the street.

Betsy ran toward her. She ran on the sidewalk as far as it went. Then she took to the frozen rutty road, and she had almost reached the bench when the little girl saw her.

"Hello!" called Betsy. "What's your name?"

The other child made no answer. She jumped off the bench.

"Don't go!" cried Betsy. "I'm coming."

But the other child without a word began to run. She brushed past Betsy on her headlong flight down the hill. She ran like a frightened rabbit, and Betsy ran in pursuit.

"Wait! Wait!" Betsy panted as she ran. But the new child would not stop. On fleet, black-stockinged legs she ran, faster than Betsy could follow.

"Wait! Wait!" pleaded Betsy but the child did not turn her head. She gained her own lawn, floundered through the snow to her house.

The entrance to her house was through a storm shed. She ran into this and banged the door. The door had a pane of glass in the front, and through that pane she stared fearfully at Betsy.

Betsy-Tacy. Copyright © by Maud Lovelace. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Introduction

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

Average Rating 5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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(28)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Beginning book of my favorite series!

    Whenever someone I know has a new baby girl, I give them the book Betsy-Tacy as a gift in the hope that reading the first book in the series will lead her to reading the rest of the series. Betsy-Tacy introduces the reader to the two characters and tells how they meet each other. It recounts favorite activities that they do, such as having picnics on the bench by the hill at the end of their street. Betsy and Tacy are five years old in the book, so children who are four or five years and older would enjoy having this book read to them or reading it themselves.
    I own the thirteen books in this series and have read and reread them several times (I am now in my sixties.) Recently, I even took a trip to Mankato, Minnesota, the real name of fictional Deep Valley where the books take place. This was a dream come true for me to actually visit Betsy's house and Tacy's house, which have been restored, and to walk around the town and see the corresponding places in the books.
    I would recommend the whole series of these books. They start when Betsy and Tacy are young girls. There is a book for each year Betsy is in high school as well as when she goes into "the great world" and when she gets married. There are also three other books written about characters Betsy knows in Deep Valley. The books would probably appeal more to girls. They take place in a wonderful time period--the early 1900's. I feel all the books are fun to read and have worthwhile lessons that can apply to the present time period. They tell about the family-oriented activities and real-life happenings of Betsy, who is the fictional Maud Hart Lovelace, the author of the books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Great book

    I just love this book so much. It was normally intended for ages 10 and under, but I am well over the age of 10 and I still love it! It's a great book about friendship and I think anyone who reads it will love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    A gpod book

    I heard about this book and got it at the library, and when I read it, I vecame addicted to the series. The books where betsy and tacy are older, its sort of more for kids 13+ necause they tend to be a bit boring for ten year olds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    I read all the Betsy-Tacy books multiple times when I was growin

    I read all the Betsy-Tacy books multiple times when I was growing up in the 1950s and then bought them for my daughter in the 1980s who loved them as much as I did. My granddaughter now has the first two books of her own. Watching Betsy grow up was something I could easily relate to as a young girl from a small town in Indiana.
    One of the things I enjoyed most was the remarkable independence of Betsy who eventually traveled unaccompanied to Europe shortly before the beginning of World War I. This was not something I had expected from a middle class Midwestern single female of that time. Overall, the books are timeless in their appeal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Love it!

    One of my favorite books of all time!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly

    I love this series! My favorite book is Betsy's wedding when she marrys Joe. My only question is did she ever have kids?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Timeless

    Betsy-Tacy is very of its time (the early 1900s) as much as it is a timeless story of friendship and childhood. I too love this series as rabidly as anyone who has posted before me. It was a part of my growing up, but upon re-reading recently the whole series really held up. I stll wanted to be Betsy and have Tacy as my best friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Great book

    Its a realy cute story of 2 girls that become best friends, they go on many adventures together.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Great!

    This book is enchanting let's just say. I started reading it because another book mentioned it (Mother-Daughter Bookclub) and the book sounded interesting. I decided to start reading and they are actually really good. I 've read these books over and over again! I'm surprised I never heard of them. But they're really good. My compliments to the author. I recommend these ooks to people of all ages.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Classic. Nothing More.

    I love Betsy-Tacy. It is a classic story about friendship and the innocence of children. Although set in turn-of-the-century America, readers of all ages can relate to the bond between the two little girls and all of the adventures they have. From having dinner on the bench at the end of the street to "going calling" I loved reading about young Betsy and Tacy's mischief and games. This story is a great one for all people of all ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Cute:)

    This book is an all-time favorite of mine. I've read it over and over and OVER again! It's absolutely charming, and their adventures helped me discover my own ambitions as a child! Marvelous, marvelous. My compliments to the author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

    I purchased these books for my granddaughter,age 10, and have enjoyed them myself as much as she.
    It's nice to read about a time when children were encouraged to use their imaginations and given the freedom to explore their world safely and use it.
    Close friendships can be life long enjoyments and in their world people moved less, played more, and shared growing up in a way missing from many young lives today. No scheduled play dates, excessive lessons but rather the joy of climbing hills, sharing secrets, playing make believe and relying on one another for company and shared experiences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    I read this book when I was about 5 or 6, & I loved it!!!!!! It's all about two childhood friends growing up together.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    I Love This Book

    I cannot begin to tell you how these books are truly...astounding. They make tears run down my cheeks because they are so truthful. Maud Hart Lovelace presents life as it is...she doesn't try to sugarcoat it, or give an antagonistic point on it. Betsy and Tacy are the most real best friends I have read about in all my twelve years. I cannot cease to marvel at Lovelace's ingenuity, and recommend this book (and the rest of the series) to anybody who feels strongly about their best friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2005

    I Love This Book

    This book is truly spectacular. Though it takes place more than a hundred years ago, Maud Hart Lovelace (who is the best author ever!) knows and remembers what it's like to be a kid. Please, please, read this book and all of the others. My personal favorites are Betsy and Tacy go Downtown, and Betsy's Wedding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Best Ever

    I am a 58 year old woman who was introduced to the Betsy-Tacy books by my sister when I was a child. They were then and still are now my very favorite books. As the mother of 2 daughters, I made sure that my girls had them (they loved them of course ) and we have now introduced them to a great niece. The subtle lessons of life contained in these books are without equal. I am just so happy they are still available.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2002

    All-Time Best Book!

    As you read these books you feel as if you are growing up with them. I recommend these books to anyone. Their adventures and the things they do are treasured in my memory forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2001

    My favorite book

    This book became my favorite when my mom read it aloud to me when I was 5. The adventures that Betsy-Tacy have are memorable, and as the book left good impressions on me, I think it is leaving good things with my children. No one should miss this one. If you like it, Anne of Green Gables is another wonderful book about childhood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2001

    Now for my daughter

    I read this book as a little girl. I loved Betsy-Tacy, and was DELIGHTED to see that I can still purchase them for my own daughter to love (I HOPE!) as much as I did. She is 8 now, so I hope to get her started. I think any little girl would LOVE these books. It isn't an awful lot to buy the books, but if you don't buy them, you'll be missing out on a fortune!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2000

    My Favorite Book

    Betsy-Tacy is my favorite book. The younger Betsy is, the better the book is. Maud Hart Lovelace is brilliant.

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