I owe many many thanks to Maude Hart Lovelace. My favorite books as a kid were of the Betsy-Tacy/Noel Streatfeild variety: books that were quietly dreamy, championed friendship (I think I yap on about kindred spirits even more than Ann Shirley!), and placed in my favorite time periods. I'm not sure how to even properly describe these sorts of books, other than magical realism (though not quite as magical as one of my other favorite books, The Phantom Tollbooth). I suppose they held great appeal to a shy sensitive little bookworm such as myself when I was a wee tot (you know, the ones that decide to dress up as Louisa May Alcott for Halloween!).
Here are a few illustrations and book covers from the Betsy-Tacy series and Miss Lovelace's other endeavors. Of course, I can't mention these books without mentioning Lois Lenski, the lovely children's author who also illustrated many-a-book, including the aforementioned! Even though I was only seven years old when I first read all about Betsy's adventures, these little drawings of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib walking with books (in their wee boots) and sitting in trees are still stuck in my little heart. I'm a bit too sleepy to garnish these books with my own praise, so I'll have to let these dreamy book covers suffice! The first edition Betsy-Tacy cover is so perfect I could die! Now I'm off to hunt down all of the first editions A.S.A.P. (after nearly a year of trying)! This is perhaps the only time I regret having gone to the public library!
And finally here is Maud in all of her glory. I hope to someday perfect this look: the layered smile, the soft waves, and that illusive simplicity.