chestnut book blog

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Betsy and Tacy and other children’s stories



The Betsy and Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy and Tacy is not a story we know much about in the UK. I came across it first on the lovely Katie’s blog and, as we share a love of Anne of Green Gables, I knew I had to give it a go. It was challenging to find any Betsy and Tacy books here in London, impossible in fact, and so I had to turn to the internet. Then, a couple of weeks ago The Betsy – Tacy Treasury arrived at my door. It contains four stories, tracing Betsy Ray and her friends Tacy and Tib from the ages of five to around 12. For my British readers, who might not have heard about this series before, it is written by Maud Hart Lovelace and is based on her own childhood in Minnesota, USA. The stories are charming, very old fashioned (the feminist in me was cringing at some of the views about women so if you read them, do take them as a product of their time!) and comforting. My favourite by far was Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown where a lovely Christmas scene just warmed the cockles of my heart. There was also a wonderful description of the moment Betsy and her friends see their first ‘horseless carriage’.

Reading The Betsy and Tacy Treasury and also an email conversation with my friend Cristina, who sometimes comments here, got me thinking about classic children’s books this week. Cristina asked me about the books children read in primary school in the UK so she could share them with her sister, who is working in a school in Colombia. As I thought about this, and the other books I enjoyed reading between the ages of about seven and ten, I realised that some of these books stay with you for your whole life. You might have read them in school, or had them read to you at bedtime, or read them by yourself on a rainy afternoon and somehow they found a little permanent little place in your personality. 

Here is a short list of some of those children’s books that have always stayed with me. I’m sure if I’d grown up in America, Betsy and Tacy would have been on this list too.

Anne of Green Gables series by L.M Montgomery

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

The Narnia series by C.S Lewis

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Witches and Matilda by Roald Dahl

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

What would be on your list? (*scurries off to try to track down the other Betsy and Tacy books!)

4 thoughts on “Betsy and Tacy and other children’s stories

  1. That would be lovely to meet in person and have tea together!! I’ll email you when my plans are fixed – I’m thinking of coming in June at the moment. Yes, PEI one day! C x

  2. I’m so glad you tried and loved Betsy and Tacy! They are rather old-fashioned in some ways, but since Betsy and Tacy were growing up the 1890s/1900s, I suppose we have to allow for that. I love the later Betsy-Tacy books too, as you know, and Emily of Deep Valley by the same author.

    Anne of Green Gables and Charlotte’s Web are definitely on my childhood favorites list, along with Little Women, Betsy-Tacy, the Little House on the Prairie series and many more!

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