Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Betsy's Wedding

It's no secret that I love children's picture books.  But as Autumn is getting older, I find myself browsing the chapter book section in our library a bit more.  In the past couple of years I have found that there are some excellent chapter books out there for children and for those who are children at heart.

While I grew up on Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, I tend to like the older books better.
Autumn and I have read The Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink, The Betsy and Eddie Books by Carolyn Haywood, and all of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  There are books like Sarah, Plain and Tall and Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan, and Mandy by Julie Andrews.  There are also the Besy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.

My mother was telling me about the Betsy-Tacy books one afternoon, and I'd told her I'd heard of them but had never read one.  I thought they would be too simple for Autumn.  But then she told me something I didn't know (mothers do that often, you know).  She said that the Betsy-Tacy books were written over time.  Little girls who started reading Betsy-Tacy in the first grade grew with the books as they were published.  So the stories and the writing grew more complex to read as the readers grew with the books.  How brilliant!  So when I spotted Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace, I read it on my own.  It is the last book in the Betsy-Tacy series (leave it to me to start at the end.), but really sounded like the one I would enjoy the most.
Betsy is newly married to a wonderful man and they begin their life together.  The book is beautifully written and goes into great detail how Betsy learns to keep house, keep a budget, and still find time for her writing career.  She learns to cook and decorate their little apartment, and learns to weather little bumps in their marriage, with grace and a loving heart.  By the end of the book I felt as though I had become Betsy's friend and learned with her along the way. 
The book is set in the nineteen-teens, just prior to WWI.  It paints a picture of the simple ways of life during that time period. There were sleighing parties and get togethers and quiet evenings at home.  Many stories started at the breakfast table with just Betsy and her husband getting ready for their day.  And often we could find them in the evening, each in their own chair, quietly reading or chatting with each other.

Betsy's Wedding is a wonderful book for 10 year olds and up.  I'm way older than that and I loved it!  So much so that I had to purchase one for myself.  It's a must have for those blue, rainy days, when the world seems so discouraging and harsh.  It transports me to a happy place.. Betsy's warmly lit kitchen in the evening, with it's welcoming back screen door letting in an evening breeze, and the smell of a pot-pie baking in the oven.  (Can't you just hear the crickets through the screen?) That's what a good book can do.
Just a little house off the web that gives that quiet, evening feeling.

Maud Hart Lovelace was born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota.  Her childhood home has been restored and is now operated as a museum.
Maud Hart Lovelace's childhood home.
Maud Hart Lovelace
http://www.betsy-tacysociety.org/home  is a wonderful website dedicated to Maud Hart Lovelace and the Betsy-Tacy series of books.  Here you can see pictures of the her childhood home's restoration and also the home of Tacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment