9/2012 Six stars. Ninety-six stars. Down Town is my favorite of the first four books and ranks near my favorites in the series entire. I'm prissy about my copy, which is, in fact titled Down Town. None of this namby-pamby Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown stuff. Nope, just Down Town, because like Winona, I like to go in doors marked "Private, Keep Out." There are so many good stories twining though this book- Mrs. Poppy's, of course. We meet Miss Sparrow here, the librarian who gets so many great lines ("Tom Sawyer- classic- going to be!") and we learn some things about Mrs. Ray's childhood. The Christmas shopping trip! The bobsled, where we first meet Betsy's trick ankle. What fun these people have, and how they love each other.And did you ever notice how in this book Lovelace draws attention to Margaret's thick and lovely eyelashes? 12/2009 This is my favorite of the pre-high-school Betsy-Tacy books. Among the BT cognoscenti, whole weeks have been devoted to debating which books in the series are the best. This does sometimes devolve into name-calling and braid-tugging, but generally Down Town ranks near the top.The girls are 12 and they don't quite fit anywhere- not with Julia and Katie who are being walked home from school by boys, and not with Margaret and Freddie who are rioting through the streets shouting. They want to be one or the other but they can't quite decide which. Their parents are becoming more interesting, with backstories of their own- but at the same time less central to the lives of the girls. Betsy is developing some of that tender empathy which will both help her and break her heart in future books. Tacy is settling into her role as champion and cheerleader and Tib... is just like Tib, forever and ever, amen. The lost uncle plotline makes me weep as hard as the Ladies Home Journal story in teeny-tiny writing makes me laugh.