Armchair BEA: Dear Marilyn Sachs

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I'm writing to thank you for The Truth About Mary Rose (Doubleday, 1973). That's my childhood copy, the 1977 Dell Yearling edition, illustrated by Louis Glanzman. It was one of the few books (maybe even the only one) I read as a child that had a Hispanic or Latina main character--like me, or close enough (I'm Cuban-American). I loved that Mary Rose's dad, an artist, made her rice pudding when he was worried about her being sick, and that she was surrounded by her extended family in New York City, even if they were mostly on her American mother's side. Speaking of Mary Rose's mother (Veronica Ganz, but I hadn't read that book), I also loved that she was a dentist and kept her maiden name at work. But Mary Rose's grandmother, on the other hand, just made me mad (to be fair, she made Mary Rose's mother mad, too). How could she say such mean things about Mary Rose's dad? And why would everyone let her get away with it? Even, especially, Mary Rose herself.

Rereading The Truth About Mary Rose as an adult, which I did last night, I'm more interested in the representation of the Ramirez (Ganz) and Petronski families than I am in the mystery of the first Mary Rose--after all, I already know how it ends. And I want to congratulate Luis Ramirez on his one-man show at MoMA. Very impressive! It almost makes up for having such an awful mother-in-law.

Almost Betsy-Tacy and Tib Dolls

If only someone at Land of Nod had read the Betsy-Tacy books! The Knit Crowd dolls are almost perfect replicas of Betsy, Tacy, and Tib as they look in Lois Lenski's illustrations for the first four books. Just switch the hair color on the brown and yellow-haired dolls and shorten the braids, and you have Betsy and Tib (the ballet dress is better on Tib anyway). And Tacy's red (orange) ringlets are exactly right. Sadly, all three dolls are sold out til early February, but that just means you have time to reread the books, conveniently reprinted in the The Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace (William Morrow, 2011). I still have my 1970s Harper Trophy editions; judging from their condition, Betsy-Tacy and Tib was my favorite. This image is from Chapter II, Learning to Fly. 

[I am not affiliated with Land of Nod! Although maybe if I had been the dolls, otherwise adorable, would have had the right color hair. I might have to buy the Tacy one anyway. For Milly (ahem).]