Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Back to School with Betsy by Carolyn Haywood

Published: 1943
Paperback, 140 pages
Genre: Youth Fiction/Coming of Age
Borrowed from Brooklyn Public Library (Bedford Branch)

Okay, reeeeeally quickly? Because this book wasn't long enough for a zillion word review, not my favorite.

The first two were so endearing. There were little stories that could remind you of your childhood or a childhood you might've wanted. They were interesting and made you smile and want to watch Betsy grow up. But this one fell a little flat for me and here's why...

The most interesting story line was finished right in the beginning when Miss Grey the school teacher announced she wasn't returning to the school because she was getting married. Then, jolly old Mr. Jackson moves next door because he's marrying "someone" and wants to get the house ready. At this point you're rooting for the two of them to get together. Well, surprise, surprise, Miss Grey is Mr. Jackson's fiancee - and they all live happily ever after.

Then it gets boring and a little weird.

I've read a few reviews on this edition and no one mentioned the odd chapter where Betsy essentially steals a Black baby off the street after saying how much she wanted a "little Black baby". Yes ok, this book came out before this was weird, but I'm sorry I was weirded out.

Bottom Line: I give Back to School with Betsy 2.5 out of 4 stars. This is only because the stories weren't as cohesive as they had been in past.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks sooo much for commenting on this. My elementary school has this book in their library when I was little, and I remember thinking that part abouthe little black baby was so weird. I showed my Mom, who said it wasn't offensive, but she read through the book o make sure nothing offensive popped up. I remember being horrified at the illustration of the little black baby too-braids sticking out everywhere, etc. Maybe bec I am black I felt offended, but I'm glad you pointed it out. It was definitely...weird.


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