One of the joys of having a daughter is passing on to her things that I loved when I was a girl. She's received dolls and dresses that were mine, and I've taught her how to braid her hair. But perhaps most special to her are books. Now that she's of an age to read and comprehend more in depth chapter books, we enjoy sharing many stories together. With each trip to the library, she begs me to find her something that I read when I was a little girl. One such find for her was the Betsy, Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.
Betsy, Tacy and Tib is the second book in the series, but so far it is M-girl's favorite. Perhaps that is because she, like the main characters in the book, is now eight years old. Although it was written seventy years ago, and the story takes place a century ago, the girls in the book act just as girls do today. M-girl was charmed, just as I was when I first discovered these books as a girl
The antics that the characters get up to will have you laughing out loud. M-girl and I giggled so much about their attempt at cooking, that soon the boys were wondering what was so funny. We also shed some tears, as only the best books can cause to occur.
Throughout the book (and the series) the girls grow in maturity. Their friendship and their relationships with their families are portrayed in a realistic manner, that young girls of today can completely relate to. Betsy and her friends struggle to follow the rules, but sometimes end up unintentionally causing trouble. These are not static characters, or the perfect but boring young ladies of some older novels. Lovelace endowed them with humanity by giving them both flaws and strengths, sorrows and joys.
Together, M-girl and I read through the first four books in the series, covering the childhood of Betsy and her friends Tacy and Tib. We started the fifth book, that gets into the teen years of these characters. M-girl was not as interested, so we stopped. To me there's no reason to push my daughter out of her own childhood quite yet. I know that when she's older, she will enjoy reading about these characters as teenagers, just as she enjoys reading about their childhood adventures now.
I plan on purchasing the entire set for M-girl. If she's anything like me (and I believe she is) she'll end up reading through the series multiple times. These are the sort of books that become forever friends with their readers. Someday, I'm sure, my grand-daughters will fall under their spell. These are books that every young girl should read.