Oh, D.E.A.R. – Deep Valley Edition

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.

There is a series that I totally missed out on as a child, and that makes me very sad. Happily, though, Harper Collins has been re-releasing these books over the past year or so and the fabulous Book Club Girl is a huge evangelist for them, and convinced me to try them.

Reader, they are the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, and they are fabulous.

There are four Betsy-Tacy books that begin when Betsy and Tacy are in Kindergarten, I believe, and increase in reading difficulty as the girls age and the reader ages along with them. I haven’t read these yet, but if I have a little girl, you had better believe that I will be snapping them up right away.

The books I have begin with Betsy and Tacy’s freshman year of high school, and go through the two years following high school So far I have only read the first two works, which Harper Collins has bound in a single book (which is great, but also makes this confusing to talk about, just a little), “Heaven to Betsy” and “Betsy in Spite of Herself,” which I reviewed last year.

I loved it so much, but sadly I haven’t had a chance to get back to the other books (4 works packaged into 2 books) just yet, partially because I loaned them to my friend who just had a baby, figuring they were perfect post-partum reads: They are fun, yet not frivolous, easy, but not worthless. The Betsy-Tacy books are the same sort of deeply comforting read as “Anne of Green Gables.” I’ve only just gotten the books back, so if I could just Drop Everything and Read, I would start by finishing the Betsy-Tacy series, “Betsy Was a Junior” and “Betsy and Joe,” then “Betsy and the Great World” and “Betsy’s Wedding.”

However, since I don’t believe there is any such thing as too much Deep Valley (the place where Betsy and Tacy live in Minnesota), I wouldn’t stop there. Harper Collins has released two more editions of Lovelace’s work, “Emily of Deep Valley,” as well as another two work edition, “Carney’s House Party” and “Winona’s Pony Cart.”

If you want more information about “Betsy-Tacy,” Maud Hart Lovelace, or Deep Valley, I have links!

You could start with Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley, who wrote the forewords of the new editions

Meg Cabot wrote an essay in the Wall Street Journal about the books

Harper Collins allows you browse inside the books

Book Club Girl on Air will have a show featuring Mitali Perkins and Melissa Wiley on November 15

Or if you want to attend an event in person you can at the Magers & Quinn Booksellers Party in Minneapolis on November 7, the Mitali Perkins event at Brookline Booksmith on November 13, or with Melissa Wiley at the Readers, Inc. Betsy-Tacy rerelease party on November 20th.

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