The dragonfly pool by Eva Ibbotson is about Tally Hamilton and her adventure around the dragonfly pool. Tally Hamilton is furious to hear she is being sent from London to a horrid, stuffy boarding school in the countryside. And all because of the stupid war. But Delderton Hall is not just any school. Eccentric, crazy and inspiring, Delderton is the gateway to a wonderful adventure – led by the mysterious Matteo, who speaks five languages and longs for his mountain home. And on a school trip to the troubled kingdom of Bergania, Tally proves herself to be braver than she knew and discovers a deep and lasting friendship by the dragonfly pool.
Talitha’ the daughter of the town’s beloved doctor, loves her life; She gets along with everyone. Following the outbreak of world war II, for her protection, she is sent to an English boarding school in the country, Delderton. She reluctantly goes, on her father’s request. When she arrives at Delderton she discovers its eccentricity; the dancing teacher encourages then to be seeds busting into the sun, and the enigmatic biology teacher takes then out for study walks at four in the morning. Talitha soon settles in and makes plenty of friends. Even organizing a trio for her friends to attend a dance festival in Bergania.
Meanwhile, Prince Karil of Bergania is a lonely boy who wants to lead a normal life with normal friends. Wearing stuffy suits and attending formal celebrations are all things he hates. When Karil meets Tally at the dragonfly poo, his place of calm and comfort, the two immediately become friends. But when Karil’s father is assassinated by invading soldiers, Germany beginning to invade and overtake Bergania.
The group of dancers try to disguise Karil and sneak him out of the country and back to their school. But before safety, they will have to make it through an army of Germans and various obstacles…
I received Eva Ibbotson’s books as a birthday present, and to be honest, I didn’t like them at first. The beginning wasn’t that interesting and the title was not that attention-grabbing either. However, when I read further into the book, it was hard not to get lost in that world. Although it might not have any direct action or fantasy, however, it is definitely worth the read. Eva Ibbotson has portrayed the setting beautifully, like the cliffs, and the educational walks with Matteo. The main structure of this book is based around nature and how it can bring people together. Moreover, one of my favourite concepts in the plot was the kingdom of Bergania, as it is not a real place, but it is named after a flower. Again, nature influences a lot of this book, which is ironic as it is based on world war II which was not beautiful at all.
The plot of this book is about Tally fitting in and discovering a new world, in her school. Then it progresses to then rescuing the prince while trying to overcome many obstacles which are thrown their way. I doubt there is a moral to learn in the ending, and if there was it was not clearly depicted. I think this story is just for someone’s interest and is a great read overall. I have enjoyed the ending the best as it is interesting and has a bit of action in it.
“You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair.
Although the plot itself doesn’t have any main moral, it contains beautiful small quotes which you can definitely apply to your own life. That is one of my favourite parts of reading when you get small pieces of wisdom from passages when you’re reading. And your subconscious minds note it down to remember later. for example, in the book, Karil is bored of his life and Tally teaches him to step out of that bubble and take more risks. It gives you advise according to those lines.
I would recommend this book to readers between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. This book is fiction, historical fiction, war, children’s and adventure. I feel this book is great to read in one sitting, such as one a rainy day.
About the Author
Eva Ibbotson was a British writer for children’s books that specialized in Romance and children’s fantasy. She graduated from university with a diploma in Education in 1965. Her books are mostly said to be imaginative and humorous and most of them contain a magic creature or a magical place, challenging the fact that she disliked the supernatural, and made up such characters to help the readers get over their fears.
Some of the book, such as the Journey to the River Sea, reflect her love for nature. She also loves Austria, which shows in her books such as the Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. These books are set mainly in the famous Austrian countryside and yet again reflect her love nature and the natural things in life.
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I would recommend this book to readers between the ages of 11 to 15. This book has a great and relatively simple storyline, however, the writing style may not appeal to younger readers. At the same time, the storyline might not appeal to the oldest readers.
Some interesting vocabulary in this book include:
- convent – a Christian community of nuns living together under monastic vows.
- fondly – with affection or liking
- trench – a long, narrow ditch dug by troops to provide a place of shelter from enemy fire.
- desolation – a state of complete emptiness or destruction.
- dandy – an excellent thing of its kind