Looking back, I think Betsy-Tacy
had a profound effect on my child self's notion of what might be truly important in this world, namely friendship. The events in the Betsy-Tacy books are pretty mundane, unlike those other Minnesota-centric novels I loved as a child (hello, Little House!) but these novels taught me that friendship itself is a gripping story, an adventure, a tool for transforming the quotidian, prosaic everyday world into a secret, magical place.
Maud Hart Lovelace based her novels on her life, and today you can actually visit Mankato, MN (the setting for Betsy-Tacy) and see The Big Hill, Betsy-Tacy's bench, etc. I don't recommend it if you are an inveterate sentimentalist such as myself, because you WILL cry.