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"Understood Betsy is as satisfying in its evocation of an earlier, simpler way of life as Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, and psychologically more acute. Fisher is a master of presenting, in a low-key, humorous way, a 'New Englandy' way of doing and saying things . . . Understood Betsy is sure to delight a new generation of very busy, over-scheduled children whose own chances for early independence and initiative are limited. It may even teach their parents a thing or two about the best way to raise a child." --New York Times Book Review
Thanks to loving but over-protective guardian aunts, Elizabeth Ann is a fearful, self-absorbed, nine-year-old hypochondriac. Most terrible on her list of fears is "those horrid Putney, Vermont cousins" her aunts shudder at mentioning. When they are suddenly no longer able to care for her, she is, incredibly, sent to live with those very cousins. Upon arrival in Vermont, she is immediately invited by Uncle Henry to drive the carriage. Steering the fearsome horses begins her adventures in New England - and independence. Rules at the comfortable farmhouse are relaxed. Aunt Abigail serves baked beans in the kitchen, Elizabeth Ann - now Betsy - must wash her own dishes, and is expected to walk to school alone. Gradually Betsy comes to enjoy the "queer Putney ways" of her country cousins, not realizing that they are teaching her to think for herself. When the aunts write inviting her to return, Betsy must make a difficult choice.
Timid and small for her age, nine-year-old Elizabeth Ann discovers her own abilities and gains a new perception of the world around her when she goes to live with relatives on a farm in Vermont.
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Dorothy Canfield Fisher was a pioneer in children's literature. In addition to writing more than fifty books for children, she was a co-founder of the Book-of-the-Month Club and a key reviewer for The New York Times. While Ms. Fisher lived most of her life in New York City, she retained an enormous affection for the hills of Vermont, where she was raised.
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