“Here is an author reminiscing about her childhood in a small Minnesota village, when it is generally agreed that too many books of a recollective nature have already been published of late. However, Mrs. Lovelace has done much more than reminisce….she has written a story about two very natural, very appealing little girls. More than this, she has written a story of real literary merit as well as one with good story interest for nine and ten-year-olds to read to themselves or aloud to their younger sisters.”
Claire Nolte, Library Journal, Vol. 65: September 15, 1940, page 769
“For little girls from five to eight, and a perfect story for them.”
Christian Century, August 28, 1940, vol. 57, page 1058 $1.75
“Betsy andTacy (short for Anastacia) were two little five-year-olds, such inseparable friends that they were regarded almost as one person. This is the story of their friendship in a little Minnesota town years ago. Grades three to four.”
Book Review Digest, 1940, introduction to entry
Reviewer M. L. Becker reviewed Betsy-Tacy, its sequel, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, and more. Here is the review for Over the Big Hill: A Betsy-Tacy Story, New York Herald Tribune Books, January 3, 1943, page 6:
“I do not wonder children enjoy these three children of Deep Valley, so American and so like children anywhere in the world.”
Bibliography of Contemporary Reviews
Becker, M. L. “Over the Big Hill: A Betsy-Tacy Story.” New York Herald Tribune Books, Jan. 3, 1943, 6.
“Betsy-Tacy.” Booklist, Vol. 37: October 1, 1940, 41.
“Betsy-Tacy.” Christian Century, August 28, 1940, vol. 57, 1058.
“Betsy-Tacy. By Maud Hart Lovelace.” New York Times, September1 ,1940.
Hill, R. A. “Betsy-Tacy.” Library Journal, Vol. 65: October 15, 1940, 851.
“Maud Hart Lovelace.” Book Review Digest. New York: The W. H. Wilson Company, 1940.
Nolte, Claire. “Betsy-Tacy.” Library Journal, Vol. 65: September 15, 1940, 769.
Later Reception: Recommendations
“Betsy-Tacy fans never die. They just re-read.”
Anna Quindlen, “Betsy Ray, Feminist Icon.” Introduction to Betsy’s Wedding. New York: Harper Collins, 2009.
“I read every one of these Betsy-Tacy-Tib books twice. I loved them as a child, as a young adult, and now, reading them with my daughter, as a mother. What a wonderful world it was!
Bette Midler, actor and singer, back cover of 1993 reprint
“Despite her lack of a car, PowerBook, or cell phone, Betsy deals with the exact same insecurities and problems as any modern teen…just circa 1910, instead of 2010. Her mind races with thoughts such as ‘Everyone got invited to the party but me,’ ‘He hates me,’ ‘Everybody’s talking about me behind my back,’ ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ or ‘He wants to go too far, and I’m just not ready!'”
“Despite her lack of a car, PowerBook, or cell phone, Betsy deals with the exact same insecurities and problems as any modern teen…just circa 1910, instead of 2010. Her mind races with thoughts such as “Everyone got invited to the party but me,” “He hates me,” “Everybody’s talking about me behind my back,” “Oh, why did I do that?” or “He wants to go too far, and I’m just not ready!
Meg Cabot, “What Little Girls Are Made Of: Author Meg Cabot explains why the BetsyTacy books give today’s teen lit a run for its money,” Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2009. [Meg Cabot is the author of The Princess Diaries.]
“I have been pondering what my own narrative compass has been. Is it possible to pick just one? If I had to, I think it would be Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, by Maud Hart Lovelace.”
Mills, Claudia. “A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives.”
Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 35, n. 1, Spring 2010, 101.
Features on Book or Author / Illustrator
The Betsy-Tacy Society has published a journal since 1990. It was titled the Betsy-Tacy Society Journal and is now the Deep Valley Sun (named for the town newspaper in the books). The Journal is not digital. The Deep Valley Sun is available online, in color, to members of the Betsy-Tacy Society. Paper copies are also sent to members for a higher fee. The Journal and the Deep Valley Sun contain numerous articles and features about the author, illustrator, editors, descendants of people on whom characters in the books were based, musical scores, photos, etc.
Historian Julie Schrader’s book Maud Hart Lovelace’s Deep Valley: A Guidebook of Mankato Places in the Betsy-Tacy Series is 324 pages long, filled with photos and information about the people and places featured in the Betsy-Tacy books.
Sharla Scannell Whalen spent ten years researching and writing The Betsy-Tacy Companion. It is 515 pages long and its chapters are organized by book title. It is filled with quotations from personal letters and obscure newspaper articles. Whalen interviewed numerous people upon whom characters were based. Details about Lois Lenski are included.
Lois Lenski’s autobiography, Journey into Childhood, was published in 1972. Gale Reference Team has a digital biography of her, 2007.
“Agony Column, The.” Newsletter of the Maud Hart Lovelace Society. Available with membership. http://www.maudhartlovelacesociety.com/
Berg, Ken E. Maud Hart Lovelace. Edina, MN: Abdo and Daughters. 1994.
Betsy-Tacy Society Journal. 1990-2002. Mankato, MN: The Betsy-Tacy Society. http://www.betsy-tacysociety.org
Betsy-Tacy Society Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/BetsyTacy
City at Their Feet: Maud and Delos in Manhattan. A Greenwich Village Walking Tour by The Greater New York Chapter of the Betsy-Tacy Society. Ed. Linda Duchin, et al. 1994.
Deep Valley Sun: Newsletter of the Betsy-Tacy Society. 2002-present. Mankato, MN: The Betsy-Tacy Society.
Dolnick, Amy. Between Deep Valley and the Great World. Minneapolis: Twin Cities Betsy-Tacy Society, 1993.
Hunt, Caroline C. “U.S. Children’s Books about the World War II Period: From Isolationism to Internationalsim, 1940-1009. The Lion and the Unicorn, Vol. 18, n. 2, December 1994, 190-208.
Klass, Perri. “Stories for Girls about Girls Who Write Stories.” New York Times. May 17, 1992. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/17/books/stories-for-girls-about-girls-who-write-stories.html
Krug, Nora. “Betsy Ray, BGG (before Gossip Girls).” The Washington Post, November 4, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/ 2009/11/03/AR2009110303323.html
Manushkin, Fran. “Esther Hautzig: Meet the Creative Director of Children’s Book Promotion Who Handled the Publicity for Betsy’s Wedding.” Betsy-Tacy Society Journal. N. 27: Fall 1998-Winter 1999, 15-18. Bride doll photo p. 16
“Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award.” Sponsored by the Minnesota Youth Reading Awards. http://www.maudhartlovelace.org/
Mills, Claudia. “A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 35, n. 1, Spring 2010, 99-101.
—-. “The Ethics of the Author/Audience Relationship in Children’s Fiction.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 22, n. 4, Winter 1997, 181-187.
Nephew, Julia. “Maud and the Great World.” Addresses given at Betsy-Tacy Conventions in Mankato, MN, July, 1997 and July, 2009.
Pall, Ellen. “Seeing Box-Office Magic in Children’s Books.” New York Times. April 14, 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/14/movies/film-seeing-box-office-magic-in-children-s-books.html
Stevenson, Deborah. “Sentiment and Significance: The Impossibility of Recovery in the Children’s Literature Canon or, The Drowning of The Water-Babies.” The Lion and the Unicorn, Vol. 21, n. 1, 1997, 112-130.
Quindlen, Anna. “Betsy-Ray: Feminist Icon.” Foreward to Betsy and Joe. New York: Harper Collins, 2000.
Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. “Merian L. Kirchner, 66, Dies; Inspired the Betsy-Tacy Books” New York Times. October 5, 1997. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/05/nyregion/merian-l-kirchner-66-dies-inspired-the-betsy-tacy-books.html
Schrader, Julie. Maud Hart Lovelace’s Deep Valley: A Guidebook of Mankato Places in the Betsy-Tacy Series. Mankato, MN: Minnesota Heritage Publishing, 2002.
Thiessen, Mary. Orange Blossoms Everywhere: The Story of Maud and Delos Lovelace in California 1953-1980. The Southern California Chapter of the Betsy-Tacy Society, 1997.
Whalen, Sharla Scannell. The Betsy-Tacy Companion. Whitehall, PA: Portalington Press, 1995.