I am a girl who loves to read. Unfortunately I am a girl who doesn’t have as much time to read as I would like. But that is another story all together.
I remember that my love of reading began in the second grade when I discovered Amelia Bedelia and then Nancy Drew. How I jumped from one to the other I will never know. Looking back, they are definitely not on the same reading level. But I remember reading them both that year. Maybe I was a fast learner…
I am also a girl (as you all are very aware) who loved old things and has loved old things almost as far back as I can remember. I loved that Nancy Drew drove that great vintage car and could pull off tweed and a headband so stylishly. I also loved Anne (of Green Gables fame) wore hats and puffed sleeves, and that Cherry Ames wore bright red lipstick and white stockings with her nurses uniform.
And so when I discovered Betsy, Tacy and Tib, in all their old fashioned flare, stuffed in the shelves of our public library I was in heaven. As a home-schooled kid, I visited the library quite a lot (something I am ashamed to say that my kids do too little of) and because I was the oldest of 4, and because my mother had plenty to do, keeping track of the littler kids and finding books herself, I was allowed to roam the stacks and stacks of books alone, reading everything from the biography of Martha Washington (you should read her eggnog recipe!) to finding hidden treasures like these gems by Maud Hart Lovelace.
For years I have searched for them in stacks and stacks of books at thrift stores and in flea markets, but I have never found a single one there. I don’t know if it is because these books were primarily regional or because they are so loved that no one can part with them, but whatever the reason I have never had much luck finding them. 2 Christmas’s ago, my mom (also an avid thrifter) found a copy of Heaven to Besty for me. And lately a few copies have started showing up on Ebay, but I have resisted buying myself any because, well I don’t have any little girls to read them too, and I wondered if it was crazy to buy myself these children’s books just for me… But recently I threw logic out the window and bought myself 3 copies on Ebay . And I am very glad I did. I hope that maybe after the Christmas craziness is over I will have time to read these treasures. Maybe to my boys, maybe just to myself. But either way, I am glad to have them on hand, because (as Kathleen Kelly says in You’ve Got Mail,) “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does” and I for one would like to always hold on to a little bit of that childhood magic.
If you know a little girl between the ages of 5-10 that you are stumbling to find a gift for, who loves to read or be read too, I would highly recommend these books… They are just lovely.