Oh, Betsy Ray, where have you been all my life? Think of all of the years I could have been reading and re-reading you!
Betsy and Tacy are best friends living in (fictional) Deep Valley, Minnesota around the turn of the last century. Betsy-Tacy is a 10-book series written between 1940 and 1945. “Heaven to Betsy” begins the girls’ foray into high school, the four earlier books cover the time beginning when they were 5 years old.
I haven’t read any of the earlier Betsy-Tacy books (yet!), but I immediately fell in love with Betsy in “Heaven to Betsy.” Sure, she can be a little flighty and silly at times – even to the point where I felt that I should be annoyed with her – but annoyance never came and I simply loved her instead. If I absolutely had to choose between the two books, I think I loved “Betsy in Spite of Herself” a little bit more, because of Betsy’s personal growth throughout the story, which was marked.
These books are fun and meaningful, while at the same time so innocent and reminiscent of the fabled ‘simpler time.’ To a certain extent they remind me of “Little House on the Prairie.” Certainly Betsy’s life, which is at least mostly autobiographical, was quite different than Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, but the authors were roughly contemporary (Wilder being about 25 years older) from roughly the same part of the country. Hmm, maybe it would be interesting to read the two series side by side and compare…
Anyway, these books are true classics of children’s literature and great fun for adults as well. Highly recommended.