Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Betsy-Tacy and Betsy, Tacy and Tib

Reading to Know - Book ClubI've never read anything by Maude Hart Lovelace (nor really heard of her until my life as a librarian began) so I was pleased with an excuse to read more new-to-me children's books in conjunction with the Reading to Know bookclub. I read both Betsy-Tacy and Betsy, Tacy and Tib, the first two of what I believe I assume correctly is Lovelace's most popular set of books.
     After seeing how many five-star reviews Goodreads, Amazon and other bloggers give to these books, I wondered if I was missing something. I feel sometimes like I am the meanest book-reviewer around, never liking any books, especially childrens', and complaining about everything I read. (Perhaps I should revisit some of my own past favorites just to show that isn't the case - to myself, if no one else.) I didn't care for these books. It's not that I couldn't stand them, I just didn't find them to my liking. They are very...'cute.' This is how I summarized Betsy, Tacy and Tib to my husband:
     "It's about three little girls who decide to go on picnics, and their mothers always say, 'why, isn't it a good thing I just made this apple cake then! Be good and enjoy yourselves and of course your sister will do the dishes.'"
     I thought of the Ramona books (which I recently read for the first time - and loved!) and also of Ivy and Bean. (Linked to my review.) However, the difference between Betsy-Tacy and those others is hard to pinpoint. Is it the writing style? Is it the characters? Perhaps I am too hard on their imaginations - I was a little bored with the adventures they came up with. I wasn't much like these girls when I was their age - except I did make concoctions when allowed, mixing everything in the kitchen up into one big, intriguing, stinky mess. I was smart enough not to taste them, though. And I did have thick brown braids.
I will say, in their favor, that I love Lois Lenski's illustrations. And perhaps Lovelace is one of those authors that needs to be read as a child. As an adult, I haven't found a new favorite.


  1. Annie was comparing your books to hers on Goodreads last night and she was like, "Wow, she is hard to please!" hahaha!
    Lois Lenski's illustrations were great, and yeah, I guess "cute" is the way to summarize these books. Maybe you just aren't into cute.

  2. No, I'm quite sure I'm not into cute. All my favorite books have the best characters dying in the end.

  3. I will say that the early books really don't have much plot...just a lot of everyday happenings. The books grow with the readers, too, so the high school years are much more plot driven. Try Emily of Deep Valley for an excellent plot and character development.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation! That one does sound good by all the reviews I've seen of it. :)

  5. Yeah, you might like Emily, Emmy. ;)

    You DO seem hard to please (laughing about Annie's remark above).

    But right now I'm just pleased that I read something that you hadn't. :D And I'm glad you gave them a try, regardless of whether or not you liked them.