Understood Betsy

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Overview

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 ...
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Understood Betsy

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Emilie Buchwald
This edition is a pleasure to hold and to read. I hope that it will introduce another generation to Understood Betsy, a book that will continue to warm readers well into the next millennium. Riverbank Review
Children's Literature - Ellen R. Braaf
Nine-year-old Elizabeth Ann, who was orphaned as a baby, lives in the city with her two doting aunts. They suffocate her with love, dedicating all their energies to her care. When Aunt Harriet becomes ill, Elizabeth Ann is ordered away by the doctor. Having heard terrible things about her cousins, the Putneys of Vermont, she's terrified when she has to go live with them. As soon as she gets off the train in Vermont, Elizabeth Ann's life is never the same. Her much-feared Great-uncle Henry gently begins the transformation when--with only a brief explanation of how to control the horses--he hands her the reins and lets her drive their wagon home. With the Putney's love and encouragement, the coddled, frail and insecure Elizabeth Ann changes into the robust, confident, and capable Betsy. Dorothy Canfield Fisher's commitment to the Montessori philosophy is evident in this delightful and heartwarming classic. The pencil drawings by Kimberly Bulcken Root add charm to this new edition. 1999 (orig.
New York Times Book Review
Understood Betsy is sure to delight a new generation of very busy, overscheduled chidren whose own chances for early independemce and initiative are limited. It may even teach their parents a thing or two about the best way to raise a child.
—Elizabeth Spires
From the Publisher
"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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805060737
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Named by Eleanor Roosevelt as one of America's ten most influential women, DOROTHY CANFIELD FISHER (1879 - 1958) brought the Montessori Method of child rearing to America, presided over the country's first adult education program, and for 25 years influenced American literary tastes as a member of the Book-of-the-Month Club selection committee. A committed social activist and educational reformer, the popular Arlington, Vermont writer produced 22 works of fiction, including Seasoned Timber and 18 nonfiction books on a wide range of subjects.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2011

    Ebook conversion is badly done.

    Understood Betsy is a wonderful book for readers of all ages, and comes highly recommended.

    However, this particular ebook version was clearly converted from a PDF, and has irregular line breaks and a few typos. It is free, but it would be a good idea to flick through a few pages before deciding to keep it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2002

    Beautifully written charmer

    Imagine my surprise when I used Barnes and Noble's "Book Browser" feature online, to select a novel for myself (I'm 46) that incorporated New England in the early 1900's and pioneering spirit and women adjusting to change...and saw Understood Betsy. Yes, a children's book I somehow missed, and I a voracious reader. Elizabeth Ann - Betsy - comes alive on these pages, and the book is so well written and evocative of the simpler, pure Vermont farm life, I didn't want it to end. I immediately bought one for my 10 year old niece for Christmas, and will start exploring Dorothy Canfield Fisher's other (adult!) work. What a treasure! What a jewel!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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