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The Dragonfly Pool

The Dragonfly Pool

4.2 17
by Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)

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A beloved New York Times bestselling author returns to paper!

At first Tally doesn't want to go to the boarding school called Delderton. But soon she discovers that it's a wonderful place, where freedom and selfexpression are valued. Enamored of Bergania, a erene and peaceful country led by a noble king, Tally organizes a dance troupe to attend the


A beloved New York Times bestselling author returns to paper!

At first Tally doesn't want to go to the boarding school called Delderton. But soon she discovers that it's a wonderful place, where freedom and selfexpression are valued. Enamored of Bergania, a erene and peaceful country led by a noble king, Tally organizes a dance troupe to attend the international folk dancing festival there. There she meets Karil, the crown prince, who wants nothing more than ordinary friends. But when Karil's father is assassinated, it's up to Tally and her friends to help Karil escape the Nazis and the bleak future he's inherited.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
Free-spirited educators, exotic pets, experiential classes-welcome to Delderton Hall, a progressive boarding school in England on the cusp of World War II. Meet Tally, the twelve-year-old inquisitive, determined, adventurous scholarship student who, along with readers, discovers the delights of outdoor biology with diverse classmates. With Hitler on the move, tense action migrates to the fictional monarchy of Bergania when students attend a folk-dancing festival organized by the king who refuses to "Heil." Assassins, spies, and thugs disturb the joyful gathering. Although political at times, the novel focuses mainly on friendships and interpersonal level freedom. Although Tally is the center of this omniscient tale, award-winning Austrian British author Ibbotson creates multiple, clearly delineated, memorable characters-both middle schoolers and adults. Taste, for example, the description of two aunts as "plump turnip-shaped ladies with big bosoms and short legs, like roots." Inviting sporadic sketches dot the manuscript. Readers become familiar with a sackbutt, rugger, rusks, and sayings such as, "You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair." Historical fiction through the eyes of sensitive youth who want to make friends and continue education in a world upended makes for a compelling, satisfying read. Ibbotson's novel, fairly fast paced and generally light in tone, would make a dynamic companion to the darker Goodnight, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian (Harper, 1982/VOYA June 1982), which also takes place before and during the London Blitz. Reviewer: Patti Sylvester Spencer
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
When an opportunity to send his daughter to a boarding school in South Devon arises, Dr. Hamilton decides she must go. Tally would rather stay at home in London but this is 1939 and the threat of war with Germany is on the horizon. London is bracing for heavy bombardment and Dr. Hamilton would like her to be safely out of the city. While attending the cinema with one of the other Delderton boarders, Tally is quite taken by a travelogue about the country of Bergania. When the Bergania Minister of Culture invites a group of children from Delderton to attend a Folk Dance Festival, Tally convinces the faculty and students that they must attend. While in Bergania, the King, who was determined to keep his country neutral, is assassinated. Tally and her friends must save Prince Karil by smuggling him out of the country. Masterful storytelling carries the reader from the first to the last page of this novel. With its vivid settings, memorable characters, and intriguing and suspenseful story line, readers will be completely satisfied. I highly recommend this for book clubs. It is a book that just begs to be discussed and shared. There are many lines and phrases which can lead to discussions such as, "Giving in to bullying has never been a wise policy." Readers will gain insight into patriotism, what it means to be a friend, and what it takes to be a hero. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Tally, 11, attends Delderton, a progressive boarding school in the Devon countryside, and though she doesn't want to leave her loving father, London in 1939 is not very safe. As it turns out, she thrives there, good-naturedly setting herself to solving the problems of students and staff alike. When Bergania, whose king has refused to let Hitler's armies march through his (fictional) country, announces an international children's folk-dancing festival, Tally convinces her school to attend. During their visit, the king is assassinated, and she and the Delderton troupe rescue 12-year-old Prince Karil and smuggle him to England. Kept virtually imprisoned by his snooty wellborn relatives, Karil longs for a normal life, and eventually finds a way to escape his royal obligations, attend the school, and be reunited with his friends. Tally has a bit of Sara Crewe about her; she is singularly compassionate and generous, beloved by almost all who meet her. Her worries and imperfections make her wisdom lovely rather than irritating. Prince Karil and several adults receive meticulous and fascinating character development, but many others remain one-dimensional, known mainly by their eccentric traits. The unsympathetic characters are easy to dislike, so unremittingly negative is their depiction. Although the battle between good and evil is painted with a broad brush, Ibbotson treats most issues with a wise, subtle, and humorous touch; her writing is sublime. The satisfying epilogue, set six years later, will have readers giggling through their tears.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Ibbotson's multi-stranded story begins in England at the start of World War II and ends six years later. Twelve-year-old Tally, a thoughtful and outspoken child, deeply loved by her widowed father and two maiden aunts, receives a scholarship to Delderton, a progressive boarding school. While at the cinema, Tally sees a newsreel about the small country of Bergania, whose King refuses to bend to Hitler's demands, so when Delderton is invited to Bergania for a dance festival Tally insists they attend. In Bergania the children witness the King's assassination. Horrified, Tally and her classmates help Karil, Bergania's young prince, escape from the now Nazi-occupied country to England. The third-person narration shifts among Tally, Karil and other key characters as they cope with the hardships of war. The book, based on the author's own childhood experiences, is a romantic tale of friendship, loyalty and heroism, and her fans will not be disappointed. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.02(w) x 7.78(h) x 1.02(d)
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Eva Ibbotson, born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner (21 January 1925 - 20 October 2010), was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for her children's books. Some of her novels for adults have been successfully reissued for the young adult market in recent years. For the historical novel Journey to the River Sea (Macmillan, 2001), she won the Smarties Prize in category 9-11 years, garnered unusual commendation as runner up for the Guardian Prize, and made the Carnegie, Whitbread, and Blue Peter shortlists. She was a finalist for the 2010 Guardian Prize at the time of her death. Her last book, The Abominables, was one of eight books on the longlist for the same award in 2012.

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The Dragonfly Pool 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
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It just really has no way to describe it. Itis awesome!!!!!!"!#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally cool book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kelly Vossen More than 1 year ago
I reallyoved this
Liz XXXXX More than 1 year ago
I actually havn't read this yet, but it is my book club book and we voted on the books, anf this won, so that means it looks really good, so i would say give it a try!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
By 1939 most English know war against Hitler is imminent. In London, Dr. James Hamilton worries about his extremely popular daughter Tally, born just before her mother died. Thus when a grateful patient arranges for a scholarship at the remote boarding school Delderton, he accepts because he wants her out of the capital though he knows he, his spinster aunts, his patients, and the neighbors will miss his precocious caring daughter. --- Tally is unhappy to leave London, but makes friends with other students on the train. She soon finds she loves the school especially the freedom and the lessons by her counselor and biology teacher Matteo. She continues to help other people as that is her makeup. When she attends a movie that has a newsreel, she is excited by the freedom stand by the King of Bergania, who rejects the Nazis¿ demands. When Tally learns of a folk dance festival there, she organizes the students to participate, chaperoned by Matteo. There she meets the lonely twelve year old Crown Prince Karil. However, when his father is assassinated while attending the festival, Karil is in danger by those who hope to appease Hitler. Tally and her friends risk their lives to try to help Karil flee to England. --- This is an entertaining historical fiction filled with a can do optimism in spite of the mass murdering madman. Tally is terrific, a sort of preadolescent Mary Poppins assisting others with their problems the middle school audience will admire her determination and courage as she is an excellent role model. The rest of the key characters are also fully developed though they either move forward the vivid story line or increase understanding of the remarkable heroine. My advanced copy did not contain the illustrations by Kevin Hawkes, but if his entries match that of his work in LIBRARY LION, fans are in for an even greater treat. Early teen readers will dive head first into THE DRAGONFLY POOL while demanding their school be more like Delderton. --- Harriet Klausner