Torea Frey

Editor, writer, photographer, observer on the street.

The big world

Not so very long ago, I found an old copy of Maud Hart Lovelace's Heaven to Betsy and fell in love, again, with a childhood favorite. It was inevitable that I would go back and reread all the Betsy-Tacy books, and fortuitously, Harper Perennial just come out with The Betsy-Tacy Treasury, which includes the first four books (Betsy-Tacy, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, and Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown).

I ate up the first book this morning, and, gosh darn it, nearly misted up at the Lois Lenski illustrations (the ones that were in the editions I read when I was younger). Such simple pleasures, ones that can be enjoyed at any age:

They climbed and they climbed, and they came to the top of the hill.

The land was as flat as a plate, and there were oak trees scattered about, and the white house stood there ... the one the sun came up behind in the morning. They went to the white house and they peeked all around it. They almost expected to find the sun in a pocket behind that house. But there was only a deep ravine, with the sound of water gurgling, and another hill beyond.

"Goodness!" said Betsy. "The world is big."

They had thought they would be satisfied when once they had climbed the Big Hill. But now they wanted to go down in the ravine, and see this water which sounded so merry, and climb the next hill.

Mountains beyond mountains, they say ...