Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lala's Book Club Party November 2012

Yesterday we celebrated the classic children's stories, Betsy Tacy and Betsy, Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.

 I would not call myself a "re-reader". (I can do it though, and sometimes forget that I have read a book until the very end.) But there are a few books that I have read again and again with my children. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, The Moffats and the Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Half Magic by Edgar Eager. If I had discovered the Betsy Tacy books earlier, they would definitely be on my re-read list with each daughter.

The series begins when a new family moves in across the street from Betsy. Betsy goes to meet the little girl, and despite a somewhat rocky start, the two become the best of friends. The series follows them throughout their childhood and finishes when Betsy grows up and becomes a writer. (The stories are loosely based on Ms. Lovelace's childhood). The chapters are almost stand alone stories, and tell of real life occurrences, like the first day of school and making a playhouse out of a piano box. Chapters also include their imaginary adventures, like flying away on a cloud while enjoying a picnic.

In Betsy, Tacy and Tib, a new friend joins the Betsy Tacy friendship, and she blends perfectly into the friendship.  There is no fighting and no difficulty getting along between the threesome.  Life isn't perfect, just real, and at the same time, hopeful, sweet, and kind. A baby dies in one of the families, the sisters fight, the girls get in trouble as well as the enjoy ordinary adventures and happy experiences.

We listened to the first book from, and liked it so much we bought the first four books in a treasury for the Kindle. I have since read all four books to Lala and she has read them herself several times. She has certain chapters she likes to read again and again. In the next set of books, Betsy and Tacy are in high school, so I don't know that I will read them with Lala right away, but I've got them on the shelf, ready to visit these wonderful new friends again.

We didn't have a large turnout for the book club. But we had a great time. While reading the Betsy Tacy books, we could tell they would be great book club party books, so we made notes. Lala had lots of suggestions for which picture books we should read:

Big Sister, Little Sister by Charlotte Zolotow
Connection: Betsy and Tacy have older sisters named Julia and Katie. For the most part, they get along and help each other, but sometimes they have disagreements.

Franny B. Kranny Has a Bird in her Hair by Harriet Lerner
Lala loves this book. We had it from the library for several weeks, and she cried when we had to return it. Grandma Sally got a copy for her and sent it for a surprise. When we read about Betsy, Tacy and Tib cutting their hair and setting out the excess for the birds to build nests, Lala made a note on the iPad that we just had to read this book.

George and Martha by James Marshall
George and Martha are good friends like Betsy and Tacy.

Bella and Bean by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
I adore Rebecca Kai Dotlich as a poet. (A Circle of Sun may be my favorite poem ever.) Bella and Bean are good friends like Betsy and Tacy, although they have different interests. The book ends as the two friends write a poem together.

The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall
Betsy, Tacy and Tib have a great game in Tib's basement acting out the folktale of the Three Little Pigs. I like this traditional retelling of this well known story.

We also read poems about sisters, friends, and imagination.

For our craft we made colored sand sculptures and enjoyed coffee cake and vanilla ice cream for our treat.

Lala couldn't decide on the next book. so we didn't officially announce the next book, but Sallie is leaning toward The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, Unlocking the Spell by E.D. Baker or Babe, the Gallant Pig by Dick King Smith. It's quite a wide spectrum of books. Her next party will likely be in January.


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