A time of joy, that nonetheless stabs me to the heart. Tracy is reading The Golden Name Day to our granddaughter Emily. This has powerful family significance (see link, and I am even more convinced of what I wrote then and like the comments more). I am struck by three things: 1) The poverty of Regular Folk - even allowing for the 100x inflation markup of Jennie's childhood a century ago, the things that were considered party luxuries are discarded by even poor children these days without a thought. We have fabulous wealth, and we do not understand them if we do not enter in to their carefulness with pennies. 2) The assumed presence of same-sex cousins (and the invisibility of opposite-sex cousins). That day is gone and every person in the 21st C should spend a day weeping over that. Italy, Japan, China, Finland have so few children from the 70's onward that "cousin" has no meaning. We are following them mindlessly. 3) The cultural universality of the girl-story. These are the most excruciatingly white girls in KidLit, yet I cannot imagine girls of other races, in those latency years before boys darken the horizon, not entering into this 1900 Swedish-American world without complete comfort and understanding. It's girl stuff. They get it. It's the boys who shake their heads in puzzlement.
The Golden Name Day, and the follow-up The Little Silver House and The Crystal Tree should be added to your Little House/Anne of Green Gables/Secret Garden stable of girl-books. They can be hard to purchase, but still show up in libraries.