Chapter 6 of Shelf Discovery is all about girls gone wild--but not in the spring break dodgy video way, but in the "girls left behind, or girls experiencing the wild world of nature on their own/for the first time, or experiencing a severe change of environment."
This is a sweet little story of Elizabeth Ann, raised by spinster aunts who love her, but treat her like a fragile specimen that might shatter if tapped too gently. When the older aunt becomes ill, the younger aunt sends Elizabeth Ann away while she nurses the elder. To Elizabeth Ann's horror, she's sent to the awful Putney cousins in Vermont, a family her aunt shudders to speak of.
But of course, the Putney cousins are delightfully down to earth and the horrors that Aunt Frances referred to ("The children had chores to do...as though they had been hired men!") turn out to be a world of wonder for the rechristened Betsy. She learns she's not nearly so fragile as previously supposed, and she learns about the joys of country life. Especially school, where her lack of math skills is not a huge concern for the teacher.
It's a charming book, predictable, but the charm overcomes that. And it's an anomaly in the books I've read so far in that the author, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, regularly inserts herself in as narrator. Her fondness for the foibles of all the characters, from the well-meaning aunts to the sometimes laconic Putneys, gives the book a warm and cozy feeling, much like Betsy's kitten Eleanor.
Recommended for anyone needing a palate cleanser after a distasteful book. Yes, I'm talking about you, Go Ask Alice.