Elizabeth Ann is being carefully brought up by her Aunt Frances. Aunt Frances shares in all Elizabeth Ann's fears and slights, walks her to and from school each day, and conscientiously follows the most modern theories on child-rearing. She is the original helicopter parent. Not surprisingly, at nine years old Elizabeth Ann is timid and shy, friendless, and completely dependent on her doting aunt.
Then an emergency occurs, and the fearful little girl is temporarily sent to other relatives who live on a farm in Vermont. When her uncle Henry nonchalantly hands her the buggy reins for the ride from the train station, the newly named Betsy realizes that that this new family expects her to think for herself.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher was an early advocate of Maria Montessori's educational theory of learning by doing, and her heroine flourishes as she becomes aware of and interested in the world around her and discovers how truly capable she is.
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