Not the first Betsy-Tacy book, but I like this cover, illustrated by the famous Lois Lenski.
So, since she is the authority at this blog on all things Betsy-Tacy, here is a blurb that Susan has so kindly provided for your edification regarding the substance of the books:
“O tempora! O mores!” groaned Betsy and Tacy, taking Cicero’s classic cry for their own. (Betsy Was a Junior, 182)
If anything can sum up the appeal of the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace, it is this quote. What times! What customs! Betsy and Tacy may have quoted Cicero to exaggerate their own misery in studying for midterms, but I don’t think Maud Hart Lovelace would be unhappy to hear the phrase in a nostalgic instead of disgusted sense.
Betsy-Tacy books are the largely autobiographical accounts of young girls playing make-believe and telling stories at the turn of the twentieth century, and later of young ladies navigating high school society and looking towards their futures. Reading them gives the impression that these were the best years to grow up, that things were never so rosy as they were in those decades in Minnesota. What times Betsy and Tacy have! They play in piano boxes, dress up in their mothers’ long gowns to pay calls on neighbors, meet opera stars, and have endless socials with their friends in high school. What customs! It is très chic to put your hair in a pompadour. A sure-fire way to have a successful party is for your girlfriends to come with their fathers’ old suits (!), and an equally safe bet for a good time is to have an unironic night of singing (very different from karaoke parties today).
Basically Betsy and Tacy have adolescences where imagination and friendship are the most important things. How can you not wish you lived in those times and with those customs?