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Oops: Betsy Tacy

August 14th, 2008 (12:49 pm)
awake

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Current Song: The Secret Garden film score music

The following was written by Lorie Ann Grover and has been re-posted here with her permission.

We will make it our aim at readergirlz to draw your attention to books that are sadly going out of print (OOP). If we all rant and copy and repost the blogs as we are able, maybe we'll tug the ears of the publishers. When Nancy informed us that the Betsy-Tacy series was going out of print, you should have heard the divas groan! I'm sad to say, we have our first OOPS! entry.

In 1940 Maud Hart Lovelace published her first novel Betsy-Tacy of the future series. The original works were illustrated brilliantly by Lois Lenski.

At the start, we meet five-year-old Betsy and her new friend, Tacy. Set in Deep Valley, Minnesota (Mankato, Minnesota, the author's town) in 1898, the girls' adventures abound. From everyday life to extraordinary fantasy, the duo is inseparable. Whether going to school for the first time or riding a feather above their homes, the girls discover the world.

Rereading Betsy-Tacy, I was struck by the history contained in the thin volume. I found American cultural history our girls should be exposed to today. What's a hitching block, or a pussy hood, and how do starched petticoats button to muslin underwaists? At the same time universal timeless themes are touched upon that our girls will still connect to personally. Shyness, siblings, imaginations, and death are a few of the concepts explored.

The entire series follows the girls as they mature. The first four titles focus on the girls from ages 5 to 10. Heaven to Betsy takes the characters to high school. Each work shows the characters age about a year until marriage in Betsy's Wedding.

Betsy-Tacy (1940)
Betsy-Tacy and Tib (1941)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (1942)
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (1943)
Heaven to Betsy (1945)
Betsy in Spite of Herself (1946)
Betsy Was a Junior (1947)
Betsy and Joe (1948)
Betsy and the Great World (1952)
Betsy's Wedding (1955)

More from Lorie Ann: I was so happy to discover the Betsy-Tacy Society. Here's an excerpt from their homepage:

The Betsy-Tacy Society was founded in 1990 by a group of 12 Mankato-area admirers of Maud Hart Lovelace's life and writing; it now numbers more than 1500 members. The goals of the BTS are:

* To promote and maintain the availability of Mrs. Lovelace's work;
* To advocate for the reissue of any titles not currently in print;
* To preserve existing landmarks and sites associated with the real people and places portrayed in the Betsy-Tacy books; and
* To sustain interest in the lifestyle of the period, with special emphasis on family and women's history.


Let's speak up to keep Maud's dream alive. As she begins Betsy~Tacy:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream...

- William Wordsworth

Give a shout out to the Betsy-Tacy series through the kidlitosphere.

HarperCollins, don't make this collection of true American girls go OOPS!


- Lorie Ann Grover, rgz diva/author


Update: From Publishers Weekly, August 14th, 2008:
Q: There's a rumor that the Betsy-Tacy books are going out of print. Is that true?
A: According to HarperCollins Children's Books publicity director Sandee Roston, "There are 10 books in the Betsy-Tacy series, and we're keeping them all in print." Three Deep Valley Books, which were set in the fictional town of Deep Valley and featured characters from the Betsy-Tacy books, but were not part of Maud Hart Lovelace's series per se, were reissued by HarperCollins in 2000 and 2001. Those editions have gone out of print, though stock is still available on Winona's Pony Cart and Carney's House Party; only Emily of Deep Valley is unavailable


Notes from Little Willow:

I too enjoyed the Betsy-Tacy books. As a child, I checked them out from the public library. I remember learning that the author had based all of the characters on her own friends and family members and thinking, "That's like Little House!" Now, as an adult, I continue to recommend both series to young readers.

I love it when young writers ask me, "Is it okay to write stories that are kind of like what really happened to me?" "By all means," I reply, and we talk about books inspired by real lives.

The Betsy-Tacy books are classics. They represent and depict the society and the writing style of the times. They also value friendship and show the characters grow up. I have used this series as a kind of stepping-stone to the Anne of Green Gables series, which I adore. I also give it to All-of-a-Kind-Family fans, and vice-versa.

I hope that Betsy-Tacy comes back into print so that their stories may live on as they deserve.

Comments

Posted by: Anna (harshlightning)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
veronica mars - reader

Thank you for sharing this, LW! I too love the Betsy-Tacy series and do not want to see it go out of print.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)

Save the good books!

( . . . and publish all things on recycled paper!)

Posted by: emilywingsmith (emilywingsmith)
Posted at: August 4th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)

I'm also a Betsy-Tacy fan! Thanks for the updates on this travesty.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 4th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)

I wish I had the power to bring books back into print and keep others always in print!

Posted by: emilywingsmith (emilywingsmith)
Posted at: August 5th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)

Do you know how I can get permission to repost this entry on my blog?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 5th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)

Feel free! Her original post said to spread the word and re-post. I'll email Lorie Ann and let her know. :)

Posted by: emilywingsmith (emilywingsmith)
Posted at: August 5th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)

Thanks!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 5th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)

I don't have your email address, so I just emailed Lorie Ann and gave her links to your site and blog. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 6th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
happy

Lorie Ann sends you a definite "yes." :)

Posted by: sdn (sdn)
Posted at: August 7th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)

ah, i remember when they were all reissued, including obscurities like winona's pony cart.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 7th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)

Yes, with the nice die-cut covers!

Posted by: leigh_purtill (leigh_purtill)
Posted at: August 15th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)

Oh wow...major sense memory flashback! I loved those books! One of my best friends was named Betsy and I can remember wishing a book had been named after me just like Betsy's was. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 16th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)

Oh, how cute.

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