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(Betsy-Tacy #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  21,268 ratings  ·  1,036 reviews
Best Friends Forever

There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy become such good friends that eve
Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by HarperCollins (first published 1940)
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Jennifer It was one of my favorite book series when I was young. In fact my stepsister and I nicknamed ourselves Betsy and Tacy to this day! Wholesome and…moreIt was one of my favorite book series when I was young. In fact my stepsister and I nicknamed ourselves Betsy and Tacy to this day! Wholesome and stands the test of time!(less)

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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,268 ratings  ·  1,036 reviews

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Carmen Maloy
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The Betsy-Tacy series may be the most influential set of books I ever read. I reread them over and over, because they never lose their beauty. Betsy-Tacy is the first book in the delightful series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Five-year-old Betsy longs for a best friend and finds one when Tacy moves in across the street. Together they have many adventures, including going on picnics, selling sand, playing with paper dolls, going "calling" on neighbors, climbing The Big Hill, and going to school for the ...more
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My all-time favorite series as a child. I read every book in the Betsy Tacy (and Tib!) series multiple times and fervently wished I lived on Hill St. with them at the turn of the 20th century. I am so obsessed with this series that I want to visit Mankato, MN and see all things Maud Hart Lovelace related. Maybe I can force my daughter to get interested in this series when she is old enough?? Then, I'll have an excuse to read them all over again.

Sacrilege that it is for me to say this, as a child
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
So sweet.
Lisa Vegan
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all kids with the caveat of knowing that this is an old book & women who have not yet read it
Recommended to Lisa by: Ginny Messina
Thank you to Goodreads friends Ginny & Constance: I saw Betsy-Tacy among your favorites listed on your profile pages and borrowed this book from the library – even by chance got the original 1940 edition which was pretty cool.

How did I miss this series of Betsy-Tacy books when I was a child?! I would have really enjoyed them. The titles Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself do sound familiar so maybe I did read those; I don’t remember.

This Betsy-Tacy book is so well-written, and the
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Melody by: Probably Mrs. Borski, worlds most awesome librarian
Shelves: favorites
9/2012 This book gets better every time I read it.

12/2009 I have loved this book so long I can't remember when first I read it. I certainly didn't have two numbers in my age. I've re-read it countless times, and every time I've read it as an adult, I marvel at Lovelace's skill. Told from the perspective of a five-year-old girl, it rings true on every possible level. Read from the perspective of a forty-five-year-old woman, it's poignant and heartbreaking and nostalgic and delightful. This is my
Sherwood Smith
May 03, 2012 added it
Shelves: fiction
There were a few books I skipped reading in my local library, and this was one. Most of the books I skipped were boys' sports, or monster books, but also I tended to skip anything illustrated by Lois Lenski. Illustrations were too integral to the story for me, and if I didn't like the cover art or the frontispiece, I often wouldn't read a book until talked into it.

Yep, I missed some good books that way; I still haven't read the "Limberlost" books, which I remember taking down, looking at, and h
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Audrey by: a friend of my mom's when I was very young. Forever grateful!
A delightful book that celebrates the innocence and imagination of childhood. This book is written for a very young audience and makes a perfect read-aloud. When I was little, all I wanted was a friend like Tacy. :) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: growing up is okay, but nothing compares to the magic of childhood—when simple things can become most adventurous and exciting. This book is the first in a series of ten books about Betsy (plus two books about other characters in which she i ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-childhood
Has it really been seventeen years since my first (and hitherto only) reading of this book? This time around I liked it better than I did back then. Back in 2000, I was eager to start a series so many of my book-friends loved, but I was impatient to find myself reading a book about 5 year-olds, and was a little underwhelmed. Rereading it now (after reading some of the later books in the series multiple times), I appreciate how beautifully layered the series is, with each successive book showing ...more
Ah! The world of little children. We forget what life was like when we were 4, 5, 6 years old, the wide-eyed wonder of the world, the power of our imagination, the love of our family, and the pure joy of the the friends we laughed and played with. If you have children and grandchildren then you experience it again through their lives. And you can experience through the words of a wonderful book like Betsy-Tacy. It's a timeless story that's just as beautiful to read today as it was when it was wr ...more
Ginny Messina
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and have many favorites from childhood, but none have ever meant as much to me as the happy and cozy Betsy-Tacy books.

My beloved aunt dug a dusty old copy of Betsy-Tacy out of her attic for me when I was 4 or 5 years old. From the very beginning, I wanted to climb inside this book and live there forever. Written in the 1940s, it is an autobiographical account of Maud Hart Lovelace's turn-of-the-century childhood in Mankato, MN--which become
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We loved this story. Two young friends meet just as they are about to start school. Apart from the absence of cars and the fact that however rural your home might be 5 yr olds don't go off alone together these days, much of this book could have been in present time. Imaginative play, family life, happiness, sadness and the beauty of the passing seasons.
Allison Tebo
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
Perhaps I would have liked this more when I was younger . . . perhaps. While this was a perfectly fine little book, it struck me as a little blah and stilted; not nearly as brilliant and honest as Elizabeth Enright or Jeanne Birdsall.
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: little girls
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Ahh! the innocence of youth! This is a really cute book about two little girls who become best friends. It takes place at the turn of the century which makes it especially charming. It's written in a very simple way which makes it perfect for younger children to enjoy. I read it to my two little girls ages 6 and 4 and they loved it so much that we have decided to read the next one, too, "Betsy-Tacy and Tib".
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Turns out I'm more old and jaded than any teenager has the right to be, because I found this to be a 100 page slog about quirky childhood antics. However, I'm going to keep reading, because I first encountered these as 'Anne of Green Gables but she follows her career dreams' and book 10 sounds like one worth sticking around for. Also: Joe, whomever he may be.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this with my mom as a child. The stories are so cute and I remember wanting to be just like the girls. I still sometimes thumb through the book and find new stories that I have forgotten. It is also interesting to reread since the innocent point of view of a child is captured perfectly.
Delightful from beginning to end! I vaguely remember reading this and the second in the series many years ago but truly enjoyed it all the more now. Meeting 5yr old Betsy and her meeting little Tacy, her BFF and then the book concluding with the introduction of the newest little girl in the neighborhood, Tib. Such a beautiful, sweet story about friendship, adventures, families, school days, and town storytelling.
Christina DeVane
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Received this for my birthday and read it all that day!
Such a classic girl’s book that brings me back to my childhood like a warm drink on a cold day!
Betsy is 5-6 yrs old in this book, so great for beginning readers.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Elementary school aged girls
Shelves: children
A very sweet story of two little girls growing up in a simpler time. In this day and age of social media and online games, it was refreshingly quaint to read about a time when ladies went calling, milk was delivered in horse-drawn wagons, and children's play was limited only by the scope of their own imaginations. Betsy and Tacy, both five years old, play games and explore their neighborhood with their mothers' permission but without adult supervision.

The author takes Betsy and Tacy through sev
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
I can't remember when I first starting reading this series but 2 years ago I bought them all again to read and own because as a child I had always checked them out from the library. I re-read them all and although the first stories are meant for child level readers I enjoyed a trip down memory lane with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib (a character who comes later on in the series). The reading level grows with the characters which is good for young readers. Utterly delightful stories of adventures and frie ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Every single detail is dear to me!
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw this at the library and was in a weird mood, so I brought it home. Adorable story about 5-6 year olds doing 5-6 year old things at the turn of the century. I know I read the first few books twenty-some years ago, but I think I'm about to (re)discover the entire series.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Let the record show, I went into this one predisposed to be underwhelmed. And to be honest, there's not a lot of "story" here. But it is a lovely, warm, gentle read, just the story of a couple of five-year-old girls at the turn of the 20th century in Mankato, Minnesota. Betsy and Tacy play all day, and are allowed to be little kids. Deep Valley (Mankato) is safe enough to let them wander at will and talk to "strangers" (ie people their parents don't know from church or work.) I was impressed wit ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Maud Hart Lovelace is frank and short-sentenced. The storyline goes something like, “Once upon a time, there were two little girls who became best friends, even though one was lively and imaginative and one was terribly shy.” Lovelace is not interested in drawing riveting characters. She tells us who they are in stubby sentences in the first chapter of the book and then she moves on. But, like the Little House series, these are books about the way of life in a time. The early 1900s homes line a ...more
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cathy by: my mother
A perfect book. I just re-read the entire series in honor of my Mom. I love the way they grow in complexity with the kids. The first four books are intended for early readers or read-alongs, ages 5-6, 8-9, 10 and 12. The following 6 books follow Betsy and The Crowd through high school and beyond. (I won't subject you to a review of each of the 10 books.) These characters are among the most vivid and wonderful that I've ever read. The fact that the stories took place 100 years ago does not take a ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the first chapter books I remember reading by myself. Betsy and Tacy are the ideal friends most little girls want. The chapters are told in vignettes and feature simple adventures the girls have such as going to school for the first time, selling sand, and having picnics. My favorite, of course, is when Tacy first moves in across the street from Betsy. It's simple and short (nothing like the later high school years books) and fun. It reminds you of the simpler times when you were a kid.
This works as a delightful stand-alone novel about friendship and family, but when I look at the entire series, I marvel at how MHL creates such a strong foundation for all the books to come. It always comes back to a present of a friend.

Simple language, but this is the most poetic one in the series.

Re-read for VSC. Last read: 1-28-07 (not counting audiobook listens)
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely delightful. I wish I had known of this series when I was a child. Glad I learned about it now through friends to read to my daughter. This was such a sweet story. I loved all the imaginative play the girls shared through out. The illustrations was lovely too. I look forward to reading the whole series.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A delightful children's classic. A kinder, gentler version of the Anne of Green Gables books, this series is chock full of good-natured humor, family values and sweet stories. It would be a great read-aloud for little girls.
Amy C.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Melissa Wiley
A beautiful, perfect book. I'm rereading it to the girls right now (the first time for the 5yo) and their giggles are delicious. I never read these books as a kid, and I'm so glad to be sharing them with my daughters.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this as it is on the Mensa for Kids reading list that my son is finishing up. Not sure this will be his cup of tea but it is a book that I would have ADORED as a young girl!! I can't believe I've never read it. Just a sweet wholesome story of a friendship shared between two young girls. I loved how the parents parented these sweet girls as well!
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Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892, in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister, Kathleen, was three years older, and her other sister, Helen, was six years younger. “That dear family" was the model for the fictional Ray family.

Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankat

Other books in the series

Betsy-Tacy (10 books)
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy, #2)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (Betsy-Tacy, #3)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4)
  • Heaven to Betsy (Betsy-Tacy, #5)
  • Betsy in Spite of Herself (Betsy-Tacy, #6)
  • Betsy Was a Junior (Betsy-Tacy, #7)
  • Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy, #8)
  • Betsy and the Great World (Betsy-Tacy, #9)
  • Betsy's Wedding (Betsy-Tacy, #10)
“This was Betsy and Tacy's private corner. Betsy's mother was a great believer in people having private corners, and the piano box was plainly meant to belong to Betsy and Tacy, for it fitted them so snugly.” 7 likes
“Sometimes the west showed clouds like tiny pink feathers; sometimes it showed purple mountains and green lakes; sometimes the clouds were scarlet with gold around the edges. Betsy” 2 likes
More quotes…