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'Understood Betsy' shows us a little girl who grows up to enjoy learning, become curious, act with courage and love work. The setting is around 1900 and the risk-averse Aunt Francis, because of other duties, has to put little Betsy under the care of the gauche farmer cousins. Surprisingly, Betsy thrives.
All of my kids, aged 3-12 loved this story. The narration was good, in that the narrator brings out the right nuance in such a way that little kids get what's being suggested but not being said. This story ranks up w Little House on the Prairie and Little Britches
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This was my favorite book as a child and I read it many times, so I'm fairly biased. :-) But I didn't announce this to the kids when I bought it and several others from Audible. They started listening while I was at work and when I got home both kids and Dad/husband were sitting silently, hanging on every word.
I loved this story because it shows the transformation of a shy anxious child (which I was) into a spunky, confident person (which I am now, partly thanks to the influence of this book). It is a great story but also something of a treatise on the author's beliefs about child development, education, etc. The adults are kind and helpful but also give Betsy the opportunity to learn to think independently, problem solve, etc. She learns to deal with test anxiety, pride, lack of attention, scary situations, etc. There are some heavy topics (including a child with an alcoholic step father) but all dealt with in a way that I felt was entirely appropriate for by almost-5 year old. Characters are not one dimensional. At the end, we are able to see Aunt Frances (Betsy's original caregiver) in a whole new light
The book is about a girl but very appropriate for boys too--my 8 year old son especially enjoyed all the small adventures --rescuing a little girl who fell into the "wolf pit" (no wolves involved), getting lost at the fair, etc.
We all liked the narrator. She does a good job with pacing and emotion and uses slightly different voices during dialogue so you can easily follow who is saying what. Even with how many times I've read the book, I felt like I understood the characters better after hearing this narrator read them. My kids like almost any narrator but I'm really picky so that's a high compliment.
I would recommend pre-reading if you have a child under about 6 or an especially sensitive child--the book starts off with Betsy being sent away from the only family she's ever known. But ultimately, I would highly recommend this book and this performance of it for the whole family.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful