Saturday, March 30, 2013

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace

Reading to Know - Book Club

240 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars(and added to my list of favorites!)

My Thoughts:

I was super excited when Annette picked a Maud Hart Lovelace title for March's Reading to Know Bookclub read! I was a little afraid I wouldn't get it read in time, since God added Bumblebee to our home a few weeks ago. I learned that the invention of the Kindle just *might* have had something to do with a newborn, though. ;) It makes reading a breeze during feeding time, and that happens quite often! I had originally planned on re-reading Emily of Deep Valley, because I adored that book. Since reading an actual book one handed isn't so easy, and there's a great deal on Betsy-Tacy Treasury (for Kindle) right now, I decided to pick up where I left off, and read Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown.

Carrie mentioned at some point how incredibly easy Lovelace is to read. I think that's why I've grown to love her works so much. If you've been around here long, you know I struggle with Classics. I didn't grow up reading them, and I was pretty much the only person in my family(other than my grandmother) who enjoyed reading books. I want to read them, but I struggle with most of them. I don't with Lovelace's books! I get that wonderful nostalgic feeling that I enjoy with Classics, and they DO make me think. I'm generally guilty of simply reading for entertainment, except for my occasional non-fiction books that I try to glean encouragement from.

I was actually surprised at how much Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown impacted me! I especially enjoyed the library part, although I kept hoping there was more about it than there ended up being. The main part that impacted me, though, was when Betsy's mother found out she had been reading "dime novels". She didn't get mad! She, along with Betsy's dad, simply encouraged her to read more Classics.

"In spite of what your mother says, Betsy, if you have any talent for writing, it comes from her family. Her brother, Keith was mighty talented, and maybe you are too. Maybe you're going to be a writer."

Betsy was silent, agreeably abashed.

"But if you're going to be a writer," he went on, "you've got to read. Good books. great books. The classics. And fortunately..that's what I'm driving at..Deep Valley has a new Carnegie Library, almost ready to open. White marble building, sunny, spick and span, just full of books."

While I have no desire(anymore) to be a writer, I was once again reminded of how much I need to TRY to read more Classics. It doesn't mean I have to like them all, but I do need to try harder to find ones I love, like the Betsy-Tacy/Deep Valley books. It's hypocritical of me to expect that my boys will be reading Classics one day(on their own) when I don't read them myself. Reading this book was like a small dose of the encouragement I got when reading Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. I guess it's a good thing that this year's Bookclub is focused on Classics. Maybe I need to re-read this as I'm trying to make my way through April's 740 page book! (No Name by Wilkie Collins) *Although as I link up one of the books lists it as 390 pages*

Another impact was(as expected) how simple things were back then. Families, in general, had more interaction with each other. Children weren't competing against the computer or TV for their parent's attention. In that aspect, I don't think there was as much stress within families. (I'm sure there was plenty in other areas, though!)I adored this part of the book.

"The big pan of fluffy buttered popcorn was brought in and passed. Julia went to the piano, and everybody sang. They sang Navajo and Hiawatha and Bedelia, and Jerry and Julia sand a duet called, "Tell me, pretty maiden."

Mr. Ray smoked his pipe and looked pleased. He liked people to have a good time at his house.

At last Mr. Ray played the piano, and Julia and Jerry, Katie and Pin danced a waltz. They pushed back the dining-room table and had a Virginia Reel. Mr. Ray joined in, and so did Tacy, and Tib, and Rena who came in smiling from the kitchen. The blue plates on the plate rail danced, too. Only Betsy could not dance because of her foot. But she had a good time anyway, feeling heroic."

In case you couldn't tell from that great amount of babbling up there, I adored this book, too! I'm looking forward to reading about Betsy and Tacy and Tib as they continue to grow. Hopefully, I won't wait until the next challenge/reading club pick to finish it up, though!


  1. I love the Betsy-Tacy books so much although my most vivid memories are of Betsy's Wedding as I liked her adult adventures more than her childhood ones. I really should reread this series!

    1. I haven't made it that far yet, but I'm hoping I like all the girls as adults just as much.

  2. Aw I love how much you loved this one. Great review.

  3. I read this one to my girls this month, and we loved it, too!

    1. Still catching up! I'm off to read your review after this! :)

  4. I haven't read any of Lovelaces's books, believe it or not! But they are just the kind of books I love reading to my kids because I know I won't have to worry about inappropriate content.

    1. I agree! This series is very refreshing and fun. I think you and your daughter would love it!

  5. Yes! As you say - even if you don't like a classic, at least you can give it a try. Like you, I also didn't read many classics when I was growing up (unless Nancy Drew counts and I don't think so) so I feel as if I am playing a lot of catch up as well! But it's pleasurable all the same.

    And I'm SO glad you are going to read No Name this month!

    1. Sadly, I would have counted Nancy Drew as a Classic! ;) Of course, I don't know when they were written. I'm definitely encouraged to do some catching up a bit quicker than I have been, though!

      I'm attempting "slow and steady" for reading No Name! :S