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4.8 32
by Maud Hart Lovelace

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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


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.

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!

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Betsy-Tacy Series , #1
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Sales rank:
650L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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.

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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Betsy-Tacy 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 6 hours ago
So cute and fun. I still have to finish the third book three but book one and two were great aswell. I recomend this book to any little girl from age seven to ten. Gotta go but I hope this helps!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
70 pages, cost $1.99, first in a series. This is the first book in a series. It was published in 1940, but the style of clothing and other period pieces set the timeline around 1890 to 1900. The story is about four year old growing up together, as friends. I enjoyedthe book, even though it seems to be for 7 year olds on up. It is a very fast read, with no adult topics, although the baby sister of one of the girls dies. The death is told through the the eyes of her than five year old sister. A nice, clean, cozy read. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books of all time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series! My favorite book is Betsy's wedding when she marrys Joe. My only question is did she ever have kids?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a realy cute story of 2 girls that become best friends, they go on many adventures together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Angeline_Walsh More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was about 5 or 6, & I loved it!!!!!! It's all about two childhood friends growing up together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.