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Carr Family #2

What Katy Did at School

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Dr. Carr's mind is firmly made up. Katy and her little sister Clover are to spend a year away at boarding school. A strange place, far from home, but on arrival the girls have an inkling that it might turn out to be rather different from their expectations. One thing is for sure, it certainly isn't going to be dull with Rose Red as an ally.

150 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1873

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About the author

Susan Coolidge

320 books162 followers
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey was an American children's author who wrote under the pen name Susan Coolidge.

Woolsey was born January 29, 1835, into the wealthy, influential New England Dwight family in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father was John Mumford Woolsey (1796–1870) and mother was Jane Andrews. She spent much of her childhood in New Haven Connecticut after her family moved there in 1852.

Woolsey worked as a nurse during the American Civil War (1861–1865), after which she started to write. The niece of the author and poet Gamel Woolsey, she never married, and resided at her family home in Newport, Rhode Island, until her death.

She edited The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mrs. Delaney (1879) and The Diary and Letters of Frances Burney (1880). She is best known, however, for her classic children's novel, What Katy Did (1872). The fictional Carr family was modeled after the author's own, with Katy Carr inspired by Susan (Sarah) herself, and the brothers and sisters modeled on Coolidge's four younger Woolsey siblings.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 137 reviews
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,256 reviews1,125 followers
April 20, 2020
What Katy Did at School is a sequel to “What Katy Did”, and written a year later, in 1873. Like many girls, I read and enjoyed these novels about the Carr family, written by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, using the pen name Susan Coolidge. The style and concerns are rather like those of “Little Women”, the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott. Interestingly, both authors heightened the realism in their novels by drawing on their own childhood memories.

The book starts immediately after the conclusion of the first novel, Life, in the fictional Ohio lakeside town of Burnet, has returned to normality. The only drawback is the sultry weather, not typical for September. It seemed:

“determined to show that he knew how to make himself just as disagreeable as August, if only he chose to do so.”

A constant yellow dust in the air, “made the sunshine look thick and hot ... A few bright leaves appeared on the trees, but they were wrinkled and of an ugly colour … boiled red like lobsters”.

Even the wind: “seemed to have passed over some great furnace which had burned out of it all life and flavour”.

After the feverishly heat-dazed Autumn, Winter finally arrives,

As Katy and her sister travel north, the landscape becomes more mountainous and the air turns “cool, and full of a brilliant zest, which the Western girls had never before tasted”. The school is not what they expect. In some ways it seems narrow and rigid, with too many rules, but in others it represents a new sort of freedom. The two sisters meet new people, and are introduced to new ways of thinking. They learn maturity.

The book is written differently from the earlier one, reflecting a slightly older readership. Katy's change of circumstances and intellectual growth are reflected in the change in the climate. Removed from the safe cosiness of her family into this chill place, she seems to be shocked into a new way of thinking and behaving. Winter in Hillsover involves:

“December snows unmelted on the ground in March ... ten, twenty, even thirty degrees below zero”.

The girls wake to: “toothbrushes stiff with ice in the morning ... thick crusts of frost on the windowpane ... every drop of water in wash bowl or pitcher turned to solid ice.”

It is unlikely that children would understand the metaphor exactly, but it certainly conveys the sense of isolation. The author explains: “Do any of you know how incredibly long winter seems in climates where for weeks together the thermometer stands at zero? There is something hopeless in such cold.”

There is one memorable, magical description, of a Christmas, when Katy and Clover receive a Christmas box brimming with gifts, flowers and all sorts of exotic edibles such as: “jumbles ... crullers, and ... frosted plum-cake.” Children may not have any idea what these are (I didn't) but the impression was certainly mouth-watering, and seems to fit with the bitter cold perfectly:

“To Katy, the cold was more bracing than depressing. There was something in her blood which responded to the sharp tingle of frost.”

This book was published in 1873, and the style of writing is sadly dated. It needs to be read very much with the time it was written in mind. For instance, its emphasis on the importance of “ladylike” behaviour does not sit well with a modern audience. The language is chatty, cosy and overly bright, so it is doubtful whether many youngsters would enjoy this one, unless they had previously read and enjoyed “What Katy Did.

Nevertheless, as a girls' school book, this is better than many of its time, so my rating errs on the kind, rather than the judgemental, side.
February 27, 2023
—3 stars—

(Please ignore me counting this as an actual classic)

When I was younger, I used to adore the idea of boarding schools. I think I would have hated it if I actually went.
But what I’m trying to say, is that this is a book about a boarding school.
And that’s it.
But I love Clover so it’s worth it.

I spent at least half of this book laughing because of the word uses—that are completely different to how we use them now...(the sultry weather😆)

Thanks for reading!❤️
Profile Image for Lindley Walter-smith.
202 reviews12 followers
July 20, 2012
Another sanctimonious Carr family book, in which Katy and Clover teach the other girls at boarding school (which they only go to for ONE YEAR because having made them go against their will, Father decides he "can't spare them at home" and, besides, the starving poor relative he got to housekeep and childmind for free escaped to anotehr relative) not to look at at bow to young men they haven't been properly introduced to, forming a society against unladylike behaviour and against flirting and inspiring priggishness in all they meet.

There's a bit less illness fetish and disability fetish than in the first book, although the perfect Angel of the House is still necessarily an invalid ("nothing could be prettier" than watching her husband carry her around "like a child"), and getting seriously ill still causes miraculous personality changes in women, with a grumpy teacher healed by illness this time. The ultimate evil power, passive-aggressive Cousin Helen and her mercilessly wielded disability, is thankfully reduced to writing saccharine letters to Katy. Katy, on her part, has been rendered a feminine saint by illness. She was so much more interesting as a tomboy. :(

The other moral is that you can't judge people by how much money they have and how much they move in Society, providing of course that at the very least they have a big house and servants and can send their daughter to an expensive boarding school and are "respectable". It's almost a critique of classism. Almost.

I initially thought the fairly likeable (although she is very tiresomely winsome and quirky AT ALL TIMES) Rose Red was a ripoff of Phil from L m Montgomery's Anne of the Island, but it seems I was entirely unfair and this is an earlier book. Montgomery, I suppose, was never above "lifting" material. Im any case, her distinctly sapphic mutual infatuation with Clover - they ultimately promise never to love anyone else as much again - is the best part. There are other bright spots with the letters from the smaller children, who are much more likeable than their older sisters, and the fun of Katy having to face down hideous accusations of having written a note to a boy asking him to give her some cake. She was nearly expelled.
Profile Image for Katja Labonté.
Author 19 books192 followers
May 21, 2023
5+ stars (7/10 hearts). Oh, this book. What a delightful, thought-provoking read and a perfect sequel.

This is an 1869 American boarding house school in Connecticut. While we miss seeing the other Carrs, the first two chapters—and the letters later on—keep them in. And the other characters fill in the blanks.
As always, Katy is my favourite. I am always inspired by her relentless desire to do what is right, and to be polite and obedient, and withstand peer pressure. I love how sweet she and Clover are and what a good relationship they have, and how willing to help and submit to each other. Clover is almost as good as Katy. ;)
Rose Red—well, what can you say about her? She’s absolutely hilarious. She means so well, it’s hard to be angry at her pranks. I think she’s a sort of warning… what happens when you let high spirits control you instead of the Holy Spirit, like Katy. Louisa is a sweetheart; and the other girls are nice or funny, depending. Obviously I don’t agree with all their decisions/words but they’re a very realistic bunch and make you think a lot about which kind of girl you are.
The Pages are an interesting group. Lily is a stuck-up hypocrite; her mother is affected and snobby, but not hypocritical. Clarence is a striking example of mistreated boys, and I love how Clover helps him. Mr. Page hardly shows up; he’s decent, but weak.

The writing style is delicious, in my opinion; just the usual 1860s flavour. The plot is simple—one year on your own, separated from family, at a boarding-house. How will you make it? Will you change? I think it’s a great example of how to remain true to one’s convictions and continue cultivating virtues. And the objection to flirting is excellent. And the message on remaining good when everyone doubts you unjustly? SO GOOD.

Overall—an excellent sequel, funny and light-hearted but still deep, and a great book for preteen/teen girls.

Content: Some lying/disobeying/rebellion (condemned); flirting & having crushes (condemned).

A Favourite Quote: Mrs. Peters sat on deck with her baby in her lap, and was in a perpetual agony lest the locks should work wrongly, or the boys be drowned, or some one fail to notice the warning cry, ‘Bridge!’ and have their heads carried off from their shoulders. Nobody did; but the poor lady suffered the anguish of ten accidents in dreading the one which never occurred.
A Favourite Humorous Quote: Miss Jane pretends that she reads all the abstracts through, but she doesn't; for once Rose Red, just to try her, wrote in the middle of hers, ‘I am sitting by my window at this moment, and a red cow is going down the street. I wonder if she is any relation to Mrs. Seccomb's cow?’ and Miss Jane never noticed it, but marked her 'perfect' all the same.
Profile Image for Eustacia Tan.
Author 15 books260 followers
November 18, 2022
I’m continuing with the What Katy Did series since I have the first three books! What Katy Did at School is a direct continuation of What Katy Did, and so will have spoilers for the first book.

At the end of What Katy Did, Katy has recovered from her prolonged illness and can finally stand and walk again. Unfortunately, having to stay in bed and endure helplessness has made Katy a lot more solemn, which I guess is good for an invalid but not so good for a teenage girl. As a result, her father sends her and her sister Clover off to boarding school, where they can mix with girls around the same age and Katy can hopefully regain her spark.

Since most of the book is set at the boarding school, tonally the book was consistent throughout and I liked the book better for it. Boarding School stories are generally fun and we have some really interesting characters here – from the stuck-up and dramatic cousin Lilly (who I would have liked to see more of) to the prankster Rose Red.

Of course, since her illness has rubbed off her rough edges, Katy doesn’t really engage in pranks here. She even sets up a secret society to help girls to have fun without flirting with the boys. But, her ability to be friends with almost everyone, especially Rose Red who is so different in character, and the fact that she does stand up for herself when the need calls for it shows that Katy is maturing into the type of person you would like to be friends with (even if it makes for less exciting reading).

One question that I have after reading this book is: what age group is this for? Younger readers will probably want more fun, and books like Mallory Towers or Naughtiest Girl would be more appealing. Older readers will probably be hoping for some romance, or at least for more to happen. It’s a tough question and I think something that shows how much children’s fiction has changed (apparently, the Katy series was written in response to demand for more books like Little Women).

Overall, I enjoyed this more than the first book, which is good and bodes well for the third book, where Katy goes to Europe.

This review was first posted at Eustea Reads
Profile Image for Luisa Knight.
2,823 reviews809 followers
November 8, 2022
Here's the sequel to What Katy Did and it does not disappoint!

Katy and Clover go to a girl's boarding school. It's a real test of character though, as they see many girls doing things that are not right or that are inappropriate. And then when Katy gets accused of doing something she didn't do, it is a real fiery trail that will show the wonderful character she is made of.

A great story with wonderful lessons and examples!

Cleanliness: Heaven knows, gracious and oh mercy are said. Prig and idiot are used for name-calling. Mentions underclothes. Some girls at the school are in varying degrees of boy crazy and have gentleman callers - the main characters don't really take part and act maturely. Mentions champagne.

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that!

So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! And be sure to check out my bio page to learn a little about me and the Picture Book/Chapter Book Calendars I sell on Etsy!
Profile Image for Deborah.
431 reviews15 followers
August 25, 2016
An old favourite - Katy's adventures at school are just as engaging as her adventures at home. As a child I was somewhat confused by a school which only had holidays in September and at Christmas (and not much of a break at Christmas), and I really didn't understand the whole 'not talking to the boys' thing - even if Katy had passed Berry a note asking for a piece of cake I couldn't see why this was a matter of such disgrace. I was also confused by references to things like wash-stands and bath-houses, and Dr Carr's instruction to Katy ('Never study until your back aches' simply didn't make sense - was he really telling Katy that she should wait until she had an aching back before settling down to study?) And why didn't they play netball? (although this last one made more sense halfway through, when the date is made clear - presumably netball hadn't been invented then).

As an adult, I have traced Katy and Clover's journey to and from school using first an atlas and then Google maps (and the later journeys too) - thoroughly recommend this for an enjoyable hour or so after reading the actual story.

Rubbish ending though - saying that now that Katy is grown up she won't be writing any more stories about her. I'm so glad this turned out not to be true!
Profile Image for Louise Armstrong.
Author 32 books15 followers
November 14, 2011
I enjoyed this. I remember thinking what an attractive character Rose Red was when I read the book as a child, and I still found her so now.

When we first meet Rose she is described as having 'a rosy, mischievous face' and she is not enchanted to be greeted by a rich, but spoilt character. She laughs, she has dimples, 'she's a twinkling wild rose, with saucy whiskers of brown calyx'. Her eyes sparkle with fun, she has dimples that make you want to laugh too, and 'Whatever she said or did seemed full of a flavour especially her own.'

And throughout the book it's always Rose who gets into mischief.
Profile Image for Mildred Eymar.
65 reviews
September 14, 2021
Continuación del primer libro Lo que hizo Katy. Aquí nos muestra las aventuras de las 2 hermanas mayores Carr en el colegio de señoritas. Aqui aprendieron como era la vida de las señoritas de clase alta, ya que ellas habian vivido sobreprotegidas por su padre médico y no salían de su circulo de personas conocidas de confianza. Esto las obliga a salir de su zona de confort. Pero tambien a vivir nuevas aventuras y hacer amistades. Si te gusto el primer libro tienes que seguir con su continuación es alegre saber que la protagonista ya esta mas estable después de haber vivido él trago amargo del primer libro.
Profile Image for Carrie ReadingtoKnow.
400 reviews31 followers
October 17, 2018
Finished reading "What Katy Did" for the first time and enjoyed it so much that I snatched up the sequel, "What Katy Did at School" and devoured it in an afternoon. If you've read the first Katy book, you'll want to know what happens when she and her sister attend an all girl's boarding school. She grows up a little more by learning new lessons about life and friendship. I liked the first book very much and might have possibly liked this sequel even more. It reminded me of "Anne of the Island" in many ways. Definitely a fun read!
Profile Image for Dyah.
1,110 reviews57 followers
December 19, 2019
What Katy Did at School adalah sebuah karya klasik, sekuel dari What Katy Did. Karena aku udah lama baca buku pertama, masuk ke buku kedua ini agak-agak susah mengingat hubungan antar tokoh dan kepribadian mereka seperti apa.

Jadi ceritanya ada sebuah keluarga bernama Carr. Isinya 5 anak dan seorang ayah (ibunya sudah meninggal), serta bibi (adik sang ibu) yang mengasuh dan mendidik kelima anak tersebut. Sang ayah adalah seorang dokter. Anak tertua bernama Katy. Dalam What Katy Did, Katy mengalami kecelakaan yang membuat dia lumpuh dan tidak bisa berjalan selama 4 tahun. Tapi kemudian dia sembuh dan menjadi pribadi yang lebih baik.

Dalam What Katy Did at School, Katy dan adiknya Clover dikirim ke sekolah untuk para gadis selama satu tahun. Sang ayah, Dr Carr, khawatir karena Katy sepertinya terlalu dewasa untuk anak seusianya, dia pikir akan baik jika Katy lebih banyak bergaul dengan gadis-gadis seusianya. Ini kali pertama Katy jauh dari rumah, jadi awalnya dia sedih dan homesick banget gitu, tapi lama-lama ya terbiasa.
Di sekolah, Katy dan Clover bertemu dan jadi berteman dengan Rose Red, si gadis troublemaker. Asyik ngikutin tingkah laku mereka selama di sekolah, kocak deh keisengan dan gaya pdkt remaja zaman dulu 🤭 Ada bagian yang bikin gregetan, waktu Katy difitnah nulis surat buat cowok... Tegar banget dia menghadapi perlakuan tidak adil terhadapnya.

Sekolahnya Katy tuh ngga kayak bangunan sekolah yang kita kenal sekarang ya... Sekolahnya tuh bertempat di rumah besar dengan banyak kamar (kayak kos-kosan). Dan muridnya ngga banyak-banyak amat. Mereka makan, tidur, belajar ya di situ.. Tiap hari mereka berbaris dan jalan-jalan ke kota, biar ngga bosen dan buat olahraga. Bener-bener buat jalan-jalan doang, ngga boleh keluyuran sendiri ke mana gitu. Kalau butuh barang atau jajan apa-apa, mereka bikin daftar, terus nitipin uangnya ke bu guru, nanti dia yang beliin (ngga boleh beli sendiri).

Layaknya novel klasik lain, deskripsi tempat yang mendetail dan karakterisasi yang menarik jadi pesona tersendiri. Aku jadi ingin segera baca buku lanjutannya, What Katy Did Next, sebelum aku lupa lagi sama cerita dan tokoh-tokohnya 😂
Profile Image for Bethany Willcock.
Author 1 book11 followers
March 6, 2018
I enjoyed reading this more the second time round than I did the first. Katy and Clover's adventures and misadventures at a distant boarding school were both amusing and realistic. I also appreciated the way in which the author made a point of instilling good morals and lessons into the story throughout the book, without making it dull or tiresome. Probably one of my favorite books in the Katy Did series.
Profile Image for Dorothea.
227 reviews66 followers
July 18, 2013
What Katy Did at School begins with a chapter that's not about Katy at all; it's a short story about her youngest two sisters (who are still children, not adolescents, here) and an unhappy visit they make. I find this chapter pretty strange. There is sort of a lesson -- don't assume that everything in a new situation will be exactly as you hope it will, especially when those older and wiser warn you otherwise -- but it's meant to be humorous, I think.

Elsie and John hope they'll escape from the summer heat by visiting family friend Mrs. Worrett on her little farm. But the farm isn't really in the cooler country after all; there's little shade, the house is hot and stuffy, and the only entertainment is reading moral literature and chasing the chickens. (Coolidge sometimes does have her characters reading moral stories -- here, tracts by Hannah More -- in ways that make it clear she thinks of herself as writing something else, i.e. entertainment for children.) They are dismayed to find that they're meant to sleep in a feather bed -- something that puzzled this modern reader (who imagines a feather bed to be something luxurious) until I realized how it would envelop and insulate the body on a hot night with no air conditioning.

Some of these disappointed expectations are pretty funny, but I draw a blank at one of Elsie and John's complaints: "Mrs. Worrett was just as kind as could be, but so fat!" I think this complaint must be meant as a joke itself, because of course they had seen Mrs. Worrett before the visit. Unfortunately it's not surprising to see fatness ridiculed in a children's book of the 1870s, since it still happens in children's books and television now. What's rather interesting is that the nature of the ridicule seems to have changed. Everyone seems to acknowledge that Mrs. Worrett can't do anything about her size, and it's not linked to laziness or gluttony as it might be today (her mobility is limited, but that seems to be a consequence of her weight, not a cause) -- but that doesn't seem to stop anyone from holding it against her. Unadorned fat phobia, I guess.

I thought the funniest part of this chapter is that the area in which Mrs. Worrett's farm is located is called "Conic Section."

Well, on to the Katy story. In this book, she and her sister Clover spend a year at boarding school. Not much happens; the main conflict is between the sisters and the school authorities, who don't notice right away how wonderful Katy is (!) and unjustly believe that she has done something terrible (writing a note to a young man!). I like that Coolidge makes clear that sometimes adults have imperfect judgment; I like less that her best advice for dealing with this is unending self-abnegation.

Two details always draw my attention --

(1) Pupils at the boarding school are never called anything so academic as "students"; they're "girls" or "young ladies." "Students" always refers to the young men at the college next door.

(2) On arrival Katy discovers that the girls are supposed to use a communal lavatory to wash themselves. "I never heard anything so horrid!" she says, and her father insists on her having a wash-stand in her room (shared only with Clover). Other girls follow suit and that's the end of the lavatory.

I'd really like to know whether this was a general concern for schools (or girls' schools) or a bee in Coolidge's specific bonnet, and what the reasoning was against shared washing facilities. Was it that they encouraged group nudity and therefore lax morals? Or was it a question of hygiene? Katy's father argues for a private wash-stand because Katy requires "sponge-baths of cold water every morning"; should we assume that the girls would wash less thoroughly in a communal lavatory? (They have a full hot bath every week at the local bath house.)
Profile Image for Kaylie.
240 reviews1 follower
November 27, 2021
I love What Katy Did , and I love What Katy Did at School, but it struck me on this reread that the two have almost nothing to do with one another. The Katy Carr who attends school in Hillsover seems to have completely forgotten that she ever romped around losing hats and causing havoc. There are occasional references to lessons Katy learned when she was unable to walk but, on the whole, if you presented What Katy Did at School as the first in a new series, I'd totally believe it.

In a way, it's a shame. What I loved most about What Katy Did was the character development, and Susan M Coolidge doesn't give us much of that in this sequel. Though Katy is sent away to school so as not to become old before her time, she doesn't materially change through her experience at The Nunnery. Instead, she's become almost a new Cousin Helen: perfect and unchanging. Meanwhile, Rose Red seems to have taken up Katy's old mantle, though there's no significant character arc for her, either.

On the other hand, Susan M Coolidge, like Enid Blyton, captured the romance of boarding school in a way real life always failed to measure up to. While the disgrace of walking past boys carrying a sponge and towel was a little lost on me, I'll always remember the glory of Katy and Clover's Christmas box. Clover's advice to her cousin Clarence about being a gentleman has also stuck with me for most of my life. Though lacking What Katy Did's character development, What Katy Did at School also lacks the original's saccharine preachiness, which is probably a good thing for many modern readers. Katy is something of a paragon, especially when founding her Society for the Suppression of Unladylike Conduct, but it seems more of a joke than anything taken terribly seriously.

I really enjoyed Katy's relationship with Miss Jane. It's one of the few places in the novel where events in What Katy Did actually matter, and it leads to the resolution of the only real conflict in the novel. If that could've been fleshed out, I think I would've loved this book as much as I loved What Katy Did. Instead, it's a fun and nostalgic boarding school read, but nothing exceptional.

The next book in the series is What Katy Did Next, which I remember disliking, but I was only about 12. It's possible that, as an adult, I'll find it a lot more worthwhile. I certainly intend to give it a fair try!
Profile Image for Judy.
3,179 reviews54 followers
January 23, 2021
I picked this up to scan, positive that I'd read it as a child, but nothing seems familiar. This is the second book in a series, but unlike other series, this one should be read in order. The author assumes the reader 'met' all of the characters so doesn't re-introduce them in the first few chapters. I turned to Goodreads to read the summary and reviews for 'What Kady Did,' which helped immensely.

It felt odd to be reading this story in paperback given that it was written in 1873. I enjoyed reading about a boarding school in the United States set in the age of railroads. As in so many books from this era, I was surprised at the terms and activities often used for older kids. For example, Katy is over 16 years old in this book, yet she is still referred to as a little girl.
Profile Image for Carina.
1,412 reviews1 follower
December 26, 2013
If I was reading this for the first time now this would probably get either two or three stars depending on my mood - however, this is about the 10th time I have re-read this book (in fact it was the book that introduced me to this series) and I still really enjoy it.

This book is a lot less 'preachy' than the first in the series, but it still has its morals and tales of what is considered ladylike behaviour. This does make this incredibly outdated (although I personally think they are still good standards to live by) but it is an enjoyable read regardless.
Profile Image for Kristi.
459 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2016
There’s a sweetness to these books that I find irresistible. And I don’t mean sweet in a cloying way; there’s just a preponderance of characters who care more about other people’s feelings than their own, who love sacrificially and speak with honesty and love. Call it old-fashioned if you like; I call it refreshing. And I also love that none of the characters are perfect. They all have selfish moments and make mistakes, especially when they have to deal with difficult people, but in the end grace wins. These books remind me how I want to be.
January 5, 2017
"What Katy did at School" is a brilliant book, and Susan has a way of making you feel you are right there, on the spot. I know that most people say that but, really, I mean it. You can feel the excitement and tension, and the unhappiness and depression. Sometimes Susan could try to show us what it really is like, for example, the bedrooms, kitchens...

All this in one book.
Profile Image for 寿理 宮本.
694 reviews4 followers
September 28, 2023
I wanted to give this a shot since I went through so much trouble to try to fix up a copy I'd found with half the cover torn off. That sort of thing makes me invested in reading the story.

Unfortunately, two things happened:
- my restoration job didn't go as well as I'd hoped, and
- the story was actively uninteresting to me.

The former is my fault, though not for lack of trying. There just aren't any good quality scans of the original cover, and my printer is on its way out.

The latter has to do with, I realise after checking the SIX HUNDRED EDITIONS, this is a "period" piece that was contemporary at the time it was written. I've read "contemporary" stories as far back as the mid-1900s (or earlier, if you count Eaters of the Dead and most assigned English Literature texts), and I've read period pieces from all throughout history, but there's something that this one lacks that makes me aggressively uninterested in continuing after two chapters (before she even gets to school!).

First, I suppose, is the fact it's a book 2, and I have no clue who everyone is or why their relationships to Katy are significant. Also, I kept getting confused as to whether John was a girl and had to reread to see the... help(?*), Alexander, call her "Miss Johnnie" earlier in the chapter.

Second, Katy took a major backseat in HER OWN BOOK in the first chapter, such that it was just her tagging along with a plan of her sister's(?) to see a farm they were invited to visit, and most of THAT was the sister (Elsie) complaining after she realised it wasn't as nice as she'd thought it would be.

Third, Katy spent the second chapter being domesticated (a little housewife), until her parents informed her she would be sent away to boarding school to be a child, rather than be "old" at such a young age. I don't know... I sort of bristle at the idea of sending kids away without their input, perhaps due to more recent influences involving a character who is sent far away to boarding school as a punishment.

It's probably a fine book for its age (except for my specific copy, haha). I just can't get into it despite the time investment. If I were less well-off than I am, and this were my only unread book, perhaps I would give it the old college try. As it is, I feel more inclined to return it to a free library and pick up the next book in my (rather large) reading stack.

*I have a feeling Alexander is a slave, based on his actions and the time period, but I'm not terribly interested in confirming it.
Profile Image for Paula Vince.
Author 11 books100 followers
October 5, 2021
Here's another enjoyable read, with more of the charming life observations we get in the first book.

It begins with a visit from the fashionable and disapproving Cousin Olivia Page. She convinces Papa Carr that it would do Katy and Clover a world of good to go to boarding school for a year, before they're set in their ways with provincial adult responsibilities, making them staid before their time with limited outlooks. Dr Carr thinks she has a point, so before they know it, the two girls are heading off to a distant town called Hillsover, where there's a girls' boarding school known as 'The Nunnery' which Aunt Olivia's, Lilly, daughter attends.

It's a strict institution run by the majestic Mrs Florence, along with her deputy Mrs Nipson, and the prim and crabby Miss Jane. There are other staff members too, of course. It appears a prerequisite for working there must be no sense of humour, for it would never do to crack a smile or allow yourself to be the butt of girlish pranks or teasing.

Luckily for us, the girls themselves have spades of bright humour, especially Clover and Katy's good friend Rosamond Redding, aka Rose Red. This girl is a legend who's often regarded by the adults as an 'evil influence' just because she's figured out a great secret to life is not taking herself, or others, too seriously.

The crux of the story occurs when Katy, and by extension Clover, are severely punished for something they didn't do. The teachers discover some circumstantial evidence and instantly go off their sanctimonious nuts! Katy handles the situation beautifully, expressing her indignation but drawing on her inner Cousin Helen to help her move forward. And the culmination of this incident is perfect.

I also like this book for the interesting finer details. The brutally cold winter term when Katy's toothbrush turns to ice and every drop of water in pitchers and washbowls is frozen solid each morning. The autograph albums, which were the girls' form of social media (as in Little Town on the Prairie). Their very clever club meetings, when the girls play some great literary games. The school soiree which Clover gets to attend for good conduct, but turns out to be a bit of a letdown with cream of tartar water being fobbed off as lemonade (Yuck!)

There are plenty of updates in the form of newsy family letters to keep us in touch with what's happening at home with Elsie, Dorry, Johnnie and Phil. And now we have extended family to add to the mix, with Cousin Olivia and her kids; Lilly, who looks out solely for her own interests, and Clarence, a sulky rebel who's so over being scolded and corrected for every little thing he does.

I'm looking forward to continuing on with What Katy Did Next.
July 25, 2021
In this the second instalment in the series, we follow almost straight on from What Katy Did. After an almost comical trip to the awful Conic Section by Elsie and Johnnie, Katie and her family receive a visit form an old friend of their Mother's, Olivia Page.

She is none to pleased upon finding a tall, serious young girl in the place of the lively little girl she remembers Katy being when she last visited. Tackling Kathy's father she convinces him that Katy and Clover have too much responsibility on their shoulders and should go to school with her little girl in order to be able to experience life with no responsibilities.

So Katy and Clover set off for Hillsover to board at 'The Nunnery' for a year.

I loved this book as a child and it doesn't pall under the gaze of adulthood. There are many scenes that are beautifully described, one in particular being a Christmas box from home, filled with goodies for the girls.

The characters are definitely inately on the stereotypical side and caricatures of certain traits but they are very well written and believable. One in particular Rose Red, was so mischievous and fun loving that she fairly leapt from the page.

The new girl at school feeling was captured perfectly and I enjoyed watching Clover and Katy settle in to a completely new and strange environment.

Again this is a story very much of its time, first published in 1873. There are old fashioned ideas and women and girls don't have the same rights or standing as men do. Therefore there isn't really an argument in my eyes that it is sexist or non feminist.

What it is, is a delightfully sweet story about two young girls attending boarding school, learning to fit in and make friends. Katy faces some unjust and unfair accusations and it is about her learning how to handle these as well.

It also kept the sense that these two girls have a large family that love them very much and because the family were referenced and written to so often, you felt as if they were still a large part of the story.

This is a very accomplished book in many ways as it writes about growing up and learning to cope with large and strange changes and what an advantage a loving family can be.

I will never tire of this series and Little Women and Anne of Green Gables lovers really should give it a read.
Profile Image for Sapna.
46 reviews7 followers
July 8, 2022
Really cool book. I generally sleep at 8:30 pm in the evening but I was so engrossed in reading the book I didn't realise it was 9:00 pm until informed by my father one night! Another so-called "unputdownable" by Susan Coolidge.

This book is the second in the three-series books following the life and times of Katy Carr and other protagonists whom she knows. When a relative comes to visit and questions the lifestyle of "solemn" Katy who according to her is old beyond her years, Dr Carr, Katy's father, stunned and concerned, decides to send Katy and her sister, Clover, to a boarding school for a year called "The Nunnery" in New Hampshire. Katy is saddened at first to leave her home and family but soon gets into the excitement of things. Dr Carr travels with them to drop them off at school and thus, the adventure begins. Katy and Clover make friends with an impish girl called "Rose Red", whom Clover is really attached to. Learn how Katy is unjustly accused of flirting with the President's son. Katy and Clover want to leave "The Nunnery" immediately but Katy ultimately says Cousin Helen would want her to "Live it Down". Learn about the two Christmas boxes that arrive in the height of a gloomy winter where "The Nunnery" girls unfortunately have to stay away from home, ultimately known as "The Carr Girls Boxes" in "Nunnery" legend as Katy and Clover share all the contents with the staff and their friends. What's the SSUC and why did Katy start it? Is Katy exonerated ultimately? Does Katy "Live it Down"? Does Katy make peace with the staff about the shocking "flirtation episode"?

Awesome book! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 stars.

I'm currently planning to read "What Katy Did Next". 😈
265 reviews
October 28, 2019
In this book, Katy and her sister Clover go back east to a boarding school. Because of Katy’s previous long illness and her recent experiences at being the housekeeper at such a young age, she has a grave and grownup air about her that most her age haven’t got. The family are visited by relatives. The lady comments about what she perceives to be Katy’s outlook. These comments cause Father to recognise that Katy needs time to be a child again.
And so the decision to send the two girls to boarding school, where the daughter of that family goes.

As with most books about boarding schools, there are a great deal of high jinx that go on. Katy does have somewhat more of a mature attitude towards things. However, the sisters make friends with a very mischievous girl and her influence brings out some of that old enjoyment of all things fun for Katy.

But there are also deep lessons which Katy learns at school, not the least of which is getting on with girls who are quite unlike Katy and Clover. She learns patience and forgiveness, as well as other life lessons. So that by the end of their year at the school, Katy has learned to apply some of those previous lessons from the time of her illness to other aspects of life.

The narrator was perfect for this book. She was able to make the book live. An exciting book needs to be read so that the excitement is felt, and Karen Savage did this brilliantly!
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237 reviews51 followers
July 9, 2022
Another great addition to the Katy books. These stories are fast becoming one of my favorite series in classic children's literature. Trust me, if you are a fan of L.M. Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott then you need to read these books.

In this story, Katy has recovered from her accident and had taken over the duties of housekeeper after their Aunt Izzie passes away. Fearing that Katy is acting too old for her age, her father, Dr. Carr sends Katy and her sister, Clover, away to boarding school in Connecticut. Once there, the sisters are paralyzed by homesickness until they start taking an interest in the other girls. Surrounded by new friends including their obnoxious cousin, Lily, and the adorable prankster, Rose Red, the sisters soon become engrossed in life at the boarding school. They have many adventures, including starting a secret society and an epic Christmas party. Through it all Katy leans to remain true to herself and her ideals. A little preachy at times, like most books written during this era, but fun nevertheless. I especially love the resolution between Katy and her sinister teacher, Miss Jane! Now, I can't wait to read the last book in the series.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 12 books154 followers
July 13, 2022
I liked this book even better than its predecessor, What Katy Did! In this story, Katy and Clover Carr attend a boarding school for young ladies rather far away from their home and family. The experience deepens their sisterly bond, but also allows them to branch out and form new friendships independent of each other.

The girls have quite a few small adventures at school, sometimes of their own making and sometimes instigated by their new friends. Katy also gets into some rather serious trouble because someone else sends a note to a boy and signs her name to it, and such note-sending is forbidden. But rather than leave school in disgrace, Katy vows to let her good conduct exonerate her.

I really loved how Katy's kindness and thoughtfulness won over a rather unpleasant teacher, over time. That reminded me a little of how Anne befriends Katherine in Anne of Windy Poplars, but with a student-teacher dynamic instead of kindness shown to an equal. I thought that was believably and gently written.
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