Our latest chapter book read-aloud has a funny back story. Remember a few weeks ago when I was contemplating reading this to my girls and wondered if the content might be too mature for them? Well, that very day I noticed a book lying on the table in the school room (which, if you could only see
our school room most rooms in our house on most days, you would wonder how I’d even notice) and lo and behold, it was Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown. When I asked the girls about it, Lulu informed me that she had already read it several times. :-) So you see, my concern was for naught. What could I do then but read it aloud, at least for my own enjoyment (and Louise’s)? Really, though, Lulu enjoyed it as much as we did, possibly even more since she knew how it was all going to work out, and she liked teasing us with the possibility of spoiling the ending for us. ;-)
I have to say that we haven’t met a Betsy-Tacy book we don’t like, and I think this one might be my personal favorite. I say this for several reasons. First, I love that Betsy is coming into her own as a writer and her parents recognize this and send her to the library in support of this desire and talent. I also love how the librarian finds her the best, most appropriate classics for her to read. (The whole sequence with the book Betsy was given by Rena being thrown into the fire by her father is perfect for us twaddle-free homeschoolers. ;-) ) Second, I love the interplay of characters that are peripheral to this story, especially Winona Root. While Winona might be considered a “bratty, spoiled, and manipulative” child (and I agree, by the way), I still like her, for some reason. I think this book (and also her appearance in Carney’s House Party as a young adult) helped me see her as someone with potential to be something more than just a brat; she definitely has her faults, but she’s also full of spirit and moxie and a very strong sense of self. I also love the character of Mrs. Poppy in this story. I like how Maud Hart Lovelace reveals Mrs. Ray’s prejudice against Mrs. Poppy because of her wealth and perceived status, and how that is redeemed in the end through Mrs. Poppy’s actions. Third, I love the whole business with Mrs. Ray’s brother. It’s a nice little mystery with a wonderfully heartwarming resolution. Really, there isn’t an element of this story I found unappealing or boring, and judging from the smiles on my girls’ faces, they agree.
This is the second Maud Hart Lovelace book I’ve read this month thanks to Carrie’s Reading to Know Bookclub for March. I’m really glad March’s Bookclub host, Annette, chose Maud Hart Lovelace since I always mean to get back to her (and many, many other authors) but rarely make the time to do so without some sort of incentive. Thanks, friends!
This is the eighth book I’ve read by Maud Hart Lovelace and reviewed here at Hope Is the Word. Here are the others with links to my reviews:
- Betsy-Tacy and Tib
- Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
- Emily of Deep Valley
- Winona’s Pony Cart
- The Valentine Box
- Carney’s House Party
What are you reading aloud at your house these days? Tell us about it in the comments, or leave a link to your own Read Aloud Thursday blog post!