Elizabeth Ann, a nine-year-old girl, is timid and small for her age; she is also an orphan. At first she lives with her father's aunt, Harriet, who expects her to lead a very sheltered life. When she is sent to live with her mother's family, on a farm in Vermont, she is then expected to do many of the chores that Harriet had thought too demanding of a little girl. Elizabeth Ann, nicknamed Betsy, discovers her own abilities and gains a new perception of the world around her.
Fisher's beloved novel, first published in 1917, makes a smooth transition to audio in the latest from Chinaberry. Orphaned as a baby, nine-year-old Elizabeth Ann is taken in by her kindhearted great-aunt Harriet and cousin Frances, who aim to raise her in a loving, proper and cultured home in the early 1900s. Pale, thin, nervous Elizabeth Ann experiences a new kind of upheaval when Aunt Harriet becomes seriously ill. The situation requires that Elizabeth Ann be sent from her city home to "those horrid Putney cousins" (in Aunt Harriet's opinion) who live on a farm in Vermont. The change in scenery and attitude does Elizabeth Ann a world of good; in the country air where she is expected to do chores and where she can romp around and play with the animals, Elizabeth Ann becomes Betsy, a robust and happy girl. Her transformation is the heart of what remains a warm family tale, despite a few dated references. Reynolds gives a solid if sometimes precious-sounding performance, adopting a careful, pleasant storytelling tempo. Ages 6-11.