Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Understood Betsy and old Golden Books...

I don't know what is happening to me, but I've got the desire to read children's literature.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I never read books as a child, except for the few books that I was compelled to read in school, and even those were read half-heartedly?  While teaching my children at home, I became obsessed with children's literature, and the kids and I gulped down lots of wonderful books that have become real treasures to us.  Now that all but one of our kids is gone, I have the urge to read some of those favorite books again and to pick up some of the books we never did get to.  Understood Betsy is one those books that we didn't read, but I sure did enjoy it on my own.  I'd love to read it aloud one day to my grandchildren or hand it off to my daughter and daughter-in-love for a quick, sweet read.  I see by the reviews that there are revised editions of Understood Betsy, so if you choose to read it, look for the original by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Elizabeth Ann, an orphan in her babyhood, was snatched up by her Aunt Frances to be raised up properly with a good education, piano lessons, a healthy dose genuine love and over-protection, along with a fear of big dogs.  When Aunt Frances realized she would have to care for her sick mother and take her south for her health, it was decided that the only choice for Elizabeth Ann was to send her to the dreaded Putney Farm where the cousins did chores and got dirty.  Certainly not the best conditions for a 9 year old girl, according to Aunt Frances, but it was their only choice, and what a happy choice it turned out to be.

Elizabeth Ann was immediately "Betsy" when she arrived at the train station and met Uncle Henry.  After her things were loaded into the wagon, Uncle Henry handed the reins over to Betsy while he did some "figuring" in his notebook and committed the remainder of the drive to Putney Farm to her with the instructions, "If you want the horses to go left, pull the left rein.  If you want them to go right, pull on the right rein."  What a ride it was, and it was only the beginning of the many life lessons Betsy would learn from Uncle Henry, Aunt Abigail, Aunt Ann, and even old Shep. 

Don't miss this sweet story.

For my Grandma's Library, I just received a treasury in the mail.  A Golden Book collection of Farm Tales.  If you are my age, you probably remember the little Golden Books that we loved to read as children and some of them we bought for our own children.  Oh, the adorable pictures!  Oh the sweet stories!

You remember.....
The Shy Little Kitten
The Animals of Farmer Jones
Baby Farm Animals
The Little Red Hen
The Jolly Barnyard
....just to name a few.

They just don't make children's animal books like they used to when the illustrations reflected the actual colors and shapes of the animals.  I bought my book second-hand, but I see that Amazon carries a newer version of Farm Tales, minus The Little Red Hen as told by a reviewer.  I can't wait to sit with lil Hazel Peach and flip through the stories with her.

I have another favorite book treasury to share, but it must wait until after Valentine's Day.  It's meant to be a gift for my grandgirl.  Not that she reads my blog at 18 months, but her mommy might!  ~wink~


  1. I pick up old Golden Books at the thrift store when I find them. My granddaughter would rather have the newer books to read and play with, but I love the old timey look.

  2. I LOVE children's books! Not having girls, we missed Understood Betsy, but read a lot of other great ones. I can't wait until I have grandbabies and can crack open the library again!

  3. My copy of "Understood Betsy" is sitting askew on the bookshelf in the hallway, waiting to be picked up again. I love(d) that book and I encourage all homeschooling mums to read it too. It gives such a wonderful perspective, I think, on real learning and tosses pre-fab, assembly-line education.
    Love it!

  4. I've been on a quest to re-read and first read Children's literature that I read or missed as a child. I've always loved Children's literature. I'm reading L.M. Montogomery Magic for Marigold right now...
    I love those old Golden books...the older the better :0)

  5. Little Golden Books! What a treasure I came across a while back. Digging through an old dresser we don't use I found a stash of them I had saved from my kids' childhood. They now have a place of prominence on my bookshelves along with other children's books I've collected. As someone who loves drawing I was excited to see that I'd saved "Pierrot's ABC Garden". I love the pen illustrations! I'm going to post a blog in honor of Golden Books! Thanks for reminding me, Jody! And I'll look for Understood Betsy. Sounds wonderful!

  6. I found Understood Betsy on Google Reader:

  7. Oh how I love Little Golden Books. I started collecting them some years ago and have way too many - no, that's not right. One can't have "too many" little GBs! Thanks for sharing. I'm not familiar with your Betsy, but now I think I'll have to read this book and meet her.

  8. I LOVE childrens literature...and the only thing I like even more, is reading them to a child! Come say hi :D

  9. You know what I much more prefer children's books. I soooooo many more then adult ones. xoxox Clarice

  10. One of the reasons I started writing children's books is because I loved reading them so much. I still do. But I'm sad to say somehow I missed Understood Betsy as a child. I need to put it on my list!

    Wonderful post--thanks!


  11. I love the little golden books as well. Children's books today are just not the same. I love the simplicity of them.


  12. I agree about the animal books - kids love to look at animals and think about them and it's nice when they look real (and happy!) Understood Betsy IS a keeper.

  13. I read Understood Betsy as a young girl, I don't remember much about it. I've never heard anybody mention it until just now!


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