The Next Shelf Down

September 23, 2008 @ 7:33 pm | Filed under: ,

This is another easy one, a kind of warm-up for the overloaded shelves to come. As I mentioned yesterday, I am short, so I tend not to crowd too much onto the higher shelves. So here again, one of the living-room bookcases, second shelf from the top.

First we have a stack of books lying flat on their sides. Working from the bottom up:

Our nice big family Bible, a beautiful wedding gift from one of Scott’s cousins.

The Mary Frances Housekeeper in hardcover. Why is that way up there where no child can possibly see it, much less use it to learn to keep house? Must remedy this.

Uh-oh, an overdue sign language instructional DVD from the Deaf Missions Video Library. Must get that packaged up for tomorrow’s post-office run.

Next to this stack, filling the remaining two thirds of the shelf:

A bunch of Math-U-See DVDs.

Our Maud Hart Lovelace collection, or most of it anyway. When the Betsy-Tacy books began to go out of print, sob, I rounded up our copies and shelved them here, up high, on purpose, to ensure that they will not be lost or scattered. This explains why the children’s bathroom stepstool is very often on the floor in front of this bookcase. These are some of our most beloved books, and it seems someone around here is nearly always in the middle of one of them. What’s on the shelf right now:


Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

Winona’s Pony Cart

Heaven to Betsy

Betsy in Spite of Herself

Betsy and Joe

Betsy and the Great World

Betsy’s Wedding

Emily of Deep Valley (my favorite; I posted about it here)

Carney’s House Party

Winona’s Pony Cart (yes, a second copy, this one in hardcover—my editor at Harper knew what a fangirl I am and sent me some extra copies she had lying around)

(So it looks like Betsy Was a Junior is in circulation somewhere.)

The first four are the “young Betsy” books—she starts out five years old and is, I think, about ten in the fourth book. (Isn’t Big Hill the one where they sing “O Betsy’s ten tomorrow and then all of us are ten! We will all be ten tomorrow; we will all be ladies then…” to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic?) The Winona book belongs in that time frame; the girls are around eight years old, I think; but it’s a stand-alone story and I like it better after Big Hill.)

Then come the four high-school books, which are a deep delight, and then Great World and Betsy’s Wedding. The books about Carney and Emily come before Betsy’s wedding in the Deep Valley chronology, but they were written later and once again I think it’s best not to break up the flow of Betsy’s own narrative. Carney is a fun treat afterward (especially the brief glimpse of her college life), because you get to go back in time a few years and see a summer of the gang’s life that wasn’t portrayed in detail in Betsy’s books, and then, well, there’s Emily of Deep Valley to put a soul-satisfying coda on the whole series.

Back to the shelf. Next to the Lovelace treasures there are some DVDs. Chris Rock, Monty Python collection, two Bruce Springsteen concerts (detect a trend?), The Office, Bob Newhart, Schoolhouse Rock. So that’s where Schoolhouse Rock is. I was looking for it.

That’s it for shelf #2. And now I’m in the mood to go read some Betsy-Tacy.

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10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. DnSmum says:

    I’m so glad to see that you have multiple copies of a book you love! We have a couple of duplicates too which my husband likes to tease about. (That confirms for him that I am truly addicted to books!) I love that you are doing this and can wait to find a few new jewels to add to our (always expanding) collection!

  2. Patricia says:

    Ah, yes, Betsy-Tacy books. My favorite books as a girl. I never knew any other girls who liked them. I’d just stumbled on them during my many library-aisle wanderings, and read them over and over again. Only as an adult have I come to learn that I wasn’t alone in my love for those books.

    My 12-year-old daughter read the younger Betsy books years ago. These days she’s more into modern fiction. I kept nudging her to read the high school Betsy books, but she kept brushing my suggestions aside. Finally a month or so ago, she broke down and read “Heaven to Betsy”. Then she begged me to find the others for her, and inhaled them in a couple of weeks. Sometimes a little nudging pays off…

    I envy you all your own copies. I keep meaning to start searching Ebay and elsewhere. I’d love to have the old editions I remember, the ones with the Lois Lenski and Vera Neville cover illustrations. Thanks for reminding me to get on that!

  3. Jen Lynch says:

    I re-read the Bestsy-Tacy books at least once a year. I pull out “Heavens to Betsy” and “Betsy In Spite of Herself” more often than that. As a child I didn’t know the word “endeavor” as in “Christian Endeavor” and so to this day I pronounce it in my head as “en-vee-ay-dor” and think of Cab, Winona, and the gang.

    LOVE Ms. Lovelace!

  4. Beth says:

    Oh, Betsy-Tacy. Some of the most delightful and beloved books of my heart! I read as many of them as I could find in our public library (about five or six of them) when I was a girl. Just over and over and over again, desperately wishing I could find the rest. When they came back into print, I was in my 30s and remember being in tears of joy when I finally got to attend Betsy’s Wedding.

    I love Carney, Emily and Winona too — the only copy I have of Emily is an old ex-library copy I found in a used bookstore that was going out of business and about to THROW IT AWAY (gasp). It’s a lovely old edition but in pretty ragged condition. The bookstore owner basically shrugged when I grabbed it and begged for it and she gave it to me free. You can imagine how happy I was. But now I’m kicking myself for not picking up Emily in paperback when it came back into print a few years ago. I didn’t think there was any rush…sigh.

    I’ve read the first three books to my six year old (the first one twice) and she loves them. We attempted the fourth book the summer she was five, but gave it up after a while — she was stopping me every other sentence to ask questions about what it all meant, and we both realized she wasn’t quite ready for it yet. I’m thinking we’ll re-read Tib and Big Hill again this year, and then hit Downtown again around the time she’s seven. Oh the delights of Betsy-Tacy!

  5. Tanya says:

    I was trying to figure out how to join a blog carnival and am so excited to have found find your site! After being a mom for 15 years, a children’s bookseller for 13 and children’s book lover for my whole life, I just started a blog reviewing (mostly) lesser-known kid’s books with the hopes of helping parents find good literature and keeping kids reading. Your blog will be a great resource for me, I’m sure. Thank your for sharing all of this information. I have had the pleasure of selling your books while at work, also! (Being a book geek, it is an honor to email a published author!)

    Regards – Tanya

  6. Charlotte says:

    Emily is far and away my favorite!

  7. Susan T says:

    The Betsy books are absolute favorites here. (I discovered them because of a comment recommending them in the La Leche League magazine when I was nursing my 3rd/last baby in early 1996.) I found them at our small town library and we were hooked on young Betsy, Tacy, Tib, etc…. That summer, I found a bound re-print of the first 4 books at Barnes & Noble and we stopped by Deep Valley/Mankato on our way home from a trip to CO and my girls, ages 7 & 5, sat on the bench by Betsy’s & Tacy’s houses and climbed “the Big Hill”. (There is a Betsy-Tacy Society in Mankato and they have a website. They also were suggesting for everyone to contact Harper Collins and ask for ALL the books to be printed again.)
    I can still recite the “Everything Pudding” part. Then when my oldest started high school, I read aloud the last 6 and then we found Carney… still looking for Wynona and Emily. Anyway, my daughters, now 19 & 17 re-read the 6 young adult books each summer and I re-read at least one a year. We recommend them to all the girls we meet and often give them as gifts.

  8. Susan T says:

    Forgot to add, we have each begun collecting older versions of the books from used book sellers. We too love the old original covers and illustrations.

  9. Meredith says:

    Hands down, this is the best shelf yet, the Betsy & Tacy’s are by far our favorites and did you know that the Mary Frances book is a series, there’s Sewing, Gardening,and a Cooking and Knitting!!!