Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: What Katy Did At School by Susan Coolidge + covers over the years

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

What Katy Did At School by Susan Coolidge

(This cover is from 1966...more covers below :)

This delightful 1872 novel for young adults (girls really) is the second book in the adventures of Katy Carr.

The first, called What Katy Did, is I think the earliest example of the later oft used plot device of a young girl falling and becoming bedridden with a back injury. How many later books used that same device? (Pollyanna,(1913) of course, but lots more.) These poor girls did something they were told not to but ended up better people for their trials-more obedient too! It makes me wonder how many boys fell out of trees and ended up bedridden for months or even years, never sure they would walk again.

This story is quite different. What Katy Did at School begins in a most unusual way-it is taken for granted that we have read the first book. I was a bit at sea at first as to who was who. Dr. Philip Carr (Papa) is widowed with 6 children: Katy, Clover, Elsie, Dorry, Joanna called Johnnie, and Phil. (It took me a while to realize Johnnie was a girl! :)

By chapter 2 we’re well on our way into the heart of the tale-Katy and Clover are going off to boarding school for one year. It takes them 3 days of traveling to get from Ohio to their New England school. While we don’t hear too much about their actual studies, this book gives an interesting peak at educational attitudes in the mid 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the girls’ school friends and I especially liked their games and the account of the fads that came and went. We also get some decorating tips!

“They went in. (Room) No. 5 was precisely like (their room) No. 6, in shape, size and furniture; but Rose had unpacked her trunk and decorated the room with odds and ends of all sorts. The table was covered with books and boxes; colored lithographs were pinned on the walls; a huge blue rosette ornamented the head-board of the bed; the blinds were tied together with pink ribbon; over the top of the window was a festoon of hemlock boughs, fresh and spicy. The effect was fantastic, but cheery; and Katy and Clover exclaimed, with one voice, ‘How pretty!’ “

Prettily read by Karen Savage, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf, e-Pub, or Kindle format here.

This book has been quite popular for a very long time. I thought it would be fun to share some of the cover art that has graced this book over the years.LOL! I particularly like the covers that look contemporary to the date of their publication…”Groovy, Katy, groovy!”


1939 (Gotta love that short skirt!)


Heather said...

I like that first cover from 1900. Very stylish.

Threeundertwo said...

I'm going to download this one! Thanks for the link. I love seeing all the covers.

GardenOfDaisies said...

It's fun to see how they update the covers to appeal to the new generation of readers.