Amid my childhood devourment of Nancy Drew and The Babysitters Club series, I also loved the throwback tales of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib. An inseparable threesome from the Midwest, they fell in love with boys who wore pompadours, went on sleigh rides, and eventually traveled the world. Although I haven’t read these books in some time, I remember them with great fondness, perhaps in part because my mom also read them as a girl. There’s something enchanting about books that mothers and daughters both enjoy as girls, something that brings their little girl selves together. I’ve seen photos of my mom as a child, and we could definitely be twins. I look at my new driver’s license photo, and I see her face staring back at me. But we also share a love of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, and so does young adult writer Meg Cabot.
Here’s a snippet of the Wall Street Journal article by Cabot:
Though visions of Melissa Gilbert bobbing through a flower-strewn field as Laura Ingalls Wilder might be dancing in your head, these books don’t contain a single scene about soap-making or Ma stitching a homespun dress. Betsy passes her time writing poems and cakewalking and—occasionally—making fudge with boys.
Betsy’s journey, assisted along the way by best friends forever Tacy and Tib, and Betsy’s loving, if occasionally clueless, family, is one with which girls today will easily identify. Lovelace doesn’t weigh down her narrative with the kind of tedious descriptions about rabbit-skinning I always skipped over in the Little House books. Despite her lack of a car, PowerBook, or cell phone, Betsy deals with the exact same insecurities and problems as any modern teen…just circa 1910, instead of 2010. Her mind races with thoughts such as “Everyone got invited to the party but me,” “He hates me,” “Everybody’s talking about me behind my back,” “Oh, why did I do that?” or “He wants to go too far, and I’m just not ready!”
Have you heard of the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books? Have you read them and loved them, too? I don’t know if they would hold much appeal for boys, but anything’s possible, I guess. 🙂