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The School at the Chalet (The Chalet School #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,516 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
When Madge Bettany sets up a school in the Austrian Tyrol, her sister Joey is among the first pupils. From small beginnings, it grows rapidly, enjoying all sorts of exciting adventures and mishaps.
Paperback, 335 pages
Published 2005 by Girls Gone By (first published 1925)
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Well, I've reread about ten of these today (not going to rate them all, thinking of your poor feeds), and I've only got about twenty in the series, which must contain over fifty books...

I tend to divide the copies I've got into two sets. The first set is the beginning of the school, which is a boarding school that Madge Bettany, all of twenty-four years old, starts in the Austrian Tyrol, while her sister Joey becomes one of the first students. It's entertaining, particularly the obsession with
Lisa Vegan
Sep 25, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: CLM and Abigail A.
This is a well written, well paced, and engaging story, the first of many in a long series about a boarding school in the Austrian Tyrol. I’m really glad that I got an unabridged copy, a facsimile reproduction of the original edition.

I was interested in the characters and one of my favorite things about them and the story was how the girls of all nationalities had read English boarding school stories and had ideas about how their new school should comply. As a fan of orphan and quasi-orphan boo
Jun 28, 2014 Ro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved these when I was growing up and they are still as magical as ever.
Tara Calaby
(2.5 stars)

From the opening pages of this novel, there's no escaping that it was written in the 1920s. The slang is an instant giveaway, and the ongoing casual racism throughout the book ensures that you never forget that this is children's fiction written for a now-distant generation of children. The page about the Romany people is particularly gasp-worthy. Enid Blyton's gypsies have nothing on Brent-Dyer's "religious" superstition!

The School at the Chalet suffers from first book in a series sy
Feb 04, 2015 ^ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ^ by: My mother
“… condemmed to sitting and sewing name-tapes onto new stockings and gloves …” (p.12) brought back memories galore; though my stitching was onto articles such as gym shirts and hockey socks. I sometimes wonder if the harmless fun of certain schoolgirl pranks such as (p.148) vaselining the blackboards (or whatever is the best equivalent is on a whiteboard) ought to be positively encouraged nowadays, as a way of teaching what limits can be tested but must never be breached.

I’m horrified to read on
The first, and possibly the best, in the Chalet School series by the prolific Elinor Brent-Dyer. In this book, in order to make a living for herself and her delicate little sister Jo, Madge Bettanyt establishes a new school in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol. Despite their tenuous financial status, she is able to acquire a Tyrolean chalet capacious enough to house a small school without much difficulty. Despite this unlikely setup, the descriptions of the formation of the new school are detailed ...more
Jan 03, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored these books when I was a little girl, and I used to wish I could attend the Chalet School. It sounded like a dream, a boarding school for girls, studying in a foreign country, and plenty of outdoor fun.

I decided to re-read my collection this year, and even though I'm much older now, I still enjoy them. In this first book, Madge Bettany decides to open a boarding school for girls in Austria. Her younger sister, Joey, is her first pupil, and the Chalet School soon grows rapidly.

This book
Katherine Bruce
Reading this after the first few La Rochelle titles, it is possible to see EBD's growing prowess as a writer. Her descriptions of the new arrival into Paris and also Innsbruck are very different from the much more vague descriptions of Guernsey (at least partly due to the fact that she is probably describing her own visits) but even once the school begins it is a very different dynamic. The balance of the Englishness of the school with the foreignness of the pupils and the location is deftly han ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of Eleanor M. Brent Dyer's quite long series--some nearly 60 books--about the fictional Chalet School, begun by Madge Bettany in the Austrian Tirol about 1925 as British boarding school chiefly because it's too expensive for her to live with her much younger and somewhat frail sister Jo in England. The air of the Austrian mountains was then thought to have healthful qualities, and the school starts up with about 15 girls, some few from England, the others from local famili ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Weasel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very much a product of the time it was written (c1924 - published 1925) - it's interesting in the glimpse of how things were and the opinions of the time. Reading other reviews it's interesting to see some of the negative comments (the gypsies, there are both negative and positive views given on them (a character is even corrected re: they steal children), more so then in many modern tales/opinions - but it is by no means perfect.) I am equally sad to hear that they edited the serie ...more
Roseanne Wright
Feb 17, 2013 Roseanne Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I must have read every one of these stories when I was young. I just loved the fact that it was set in a foreign country and the pupils had to speak different languages depending on the day of the week. I wanted so badly to be a pupil there!
Jun 01, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book for which, like many other readers, I have huge affection. The astonishing thing is not that so many people have read this, and then got sucked in to an entire Chalet world. No, the astonishing thing is that anybody could read this and go, well, that was OK, but I don't think I'm that fussed about reading any more.

Because EBD was really on top form when she wrote this. She seems to have settled down a bit, so instead of trying to cram in every idea she's ever had, in case she never gets a
Ruby Rose Scarlett
Good and entertaining - though I'd prefer if more of the classes and school itself were shown (as opposed to whatever happens in the area around the school), I really enjoyed this, especially the fact that Brent-Dyer focuses as much on the staff as she does the students. The premise is quite original since we see the founding of the school and the number of girls is quite small in this first book. That being said, all the characters seem exactly the same to me and the author's use of racial ster ...more
Oct 16, 2011 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this book after many, many years. Still a good read! Rather dated in content, of course - attitudes to girls' capabilities, for instance - although they were probably quite liberated at the time. Madge is clearly a well educated, well travelled, highly motivated and independent woman despite her brother's concern for her managing without a man. Although there is some condescension towards the 'peasants,' everyone behaves politely or is brought to see the error of their ways. Obvious ...more
May 13, 2008 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if you want to reminisce about girlhood (international boarding school not required)
It is about a new boarding school in a remote (at the time) area of Austria. A British woman and her sister need a means to live off of (without going to India with their brother) and had fond memories from traveling to this area. The younger sister is still of school age, so they decide to start a school for girls in the area. Students quickly trickle in from everywhere. Then the rest of the story is simply about the various girls interactions with each other. Little adventures, if you will. I ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Zizeloni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would probably enjoy it more if i read it in my language.
Now i found it boring and had to skip through most of it.
Maybe the english was too oldish for me.
Also it didn't have the things i like in boarding school books, it described a different kind of boarding school than the ones i have read.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The first in a long-running popular series of stories centered on an English girls school in the Alps. Plenty of drama and fun characters to keep modern young readers interested, I think, with a Nancy Drew-like feel. 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read.
Sep 21, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long while since I read any of the Chalet School books and, well, I did not remember them bring so casually racist or fattist.

They're still entertaining in a rather jolly boarding school kind of way, but it's hampered somewhat by the constant reminder that the Brits are the superior race...
Oct 08, 2014 M.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now these books were old when I was a kid, but, i loved them so much and can only wish that my children would read them too, but they won't. Of all my childhood books, this series is one of the few that I've kept.
Sarah Adamson
Jun 07, 2014 Sarah Adamson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This is the first book in the famous Chalet School series featuring Joey and Madge Bettany and lots of friends.
Yes the series is now seen as dated and there are some inappropriate stories with girls running off to climb mountains and so on but I will always love this series. It's a fun and entertaining read and provides some really thought provoking morals and lessons.
This is the first book which explores Joey and Madge Bettany moving to Austria to set up a new school to be run along English s
2.5 stars

A little too stilted for me to really enjoy, though some aspects were not bad. However, I was thoroughly sick by the end, of everything being either top-hole or topping.
It may be that if I had read these as a child, I would have had residual warm feelings for these stories in the same way I do for Enid Blyton's Malory Towers books, which I still love. In Enid Blyton's school stories though, the girls are a little less obedient and more inclined to joking about. Elinor's creations here,
Celia Powell
The first book in the Chalet School series (which comprises an incredible 60 volumes). I decided to re-read the series this year - or what books I can get hold of, as many of them are out of print - and do it in order.

In School at the Chalet we meet English sisters Madge (in her early twenties) and Joey Bettany (a twelve year old). Madge has decided to start a boarding school in Austria, in a small chalet in the mountains, with Joey as her first pupil. The school develops in leaps and bounds in
really, I just began it, and found it much too soppy and square for me to want to read more. if I read many more school stories, maybe I'll be curious to compare, and try again.

at this time, I had just read Antonia Forest for the first time. I just can't get a second Marlows book at the moment, so I felt i might as well try this and compare.

some reviews prepared me for feeling this way. I certainly didn't expect it to be as sharp as Forest. but some find that very out of date, too, and I only h
Jun 07, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have loved these books for years and now I'm going back and re-reading them in order
This book is the first of the long-running and ever-popular Chalet School series. I love the Chalet School books and read a lot of them when I was younger. I was really looking forward to revisiting this one - but I'm not sure I've ever read it before!

(The edition here isn't correct - my copy is hardback, though has this cover. I think it's a Chambers reprint.)
Katie Marriott
May 21, 2014 Katie Marriott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this series when I was younger. Amazing boarding school stories.
Aug 16, 2007 Shawne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: CS & boarding school story fans
One of the cornerstones of my childhood. I've probably reread this at least ten times, to the point that when I recently read the unabridged version (yes, several of the paperbacks that aren't GGBP are abridged, wtf is that right!), I knew exactly which parts/lines were new. Scary. Not necessarily one of the BEST books of the series, but because it kicked off the longest boarding school series ever in such a fantastic way (oh, to live at the Tiernsee!), it's worthy of a 5-star rating.
Jan 22, 2013 Felicity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book which is about a quintessentially British boarding school in Austria. It is full of lively characters and captures childhood in the beginning of the 20th century when children would always be outside and playing pranks on eachother. If you are fan of Enid Blyton you will enjoy this. The main difference between this and Blyton apart from the setting is that it isn't quite so middle class and includes people from all over the world.
Sep 17, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this many times, both in hardback and paperback. Having recently acquired a hardback version for myself, I re-read it for the first time in over ten years, and very much enjoyed it. It's the first in a series of over 60 books, and introduces us to Madge, who starts a school for girls in Austria, and her young sister Joey. Seems quite dated now, yet the personalities of the people are realistic and the story quite exciting in places.
Hidayah Ramlan
This book was time-killer!!! I couldn't put down and close it either.... Until my mom made me stop... Hahahahaha
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Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was born as Gladys Eleanor May Dyer on 6th April 1894, in South Shields in the industrial northeast of England, and grew up in a terraced house which had no garden or inside toilet. She was the only daughter of Eleanor Watson Rutherford and Charles Morris Brent Dyer. Her father, who had been married before, left home when she was three years old. In 1912, her brother Henzell d ...more
More about Elinor M. Brent-Dyer...

Other Books in the Series

The Chalet School (1 - 10 of 58 books)
  • Jo of the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #2)
  • The Princess of the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #3)
  • The Head Girl of the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #4)
  • Rivals of the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #5)
  • Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #6)
  • The Chalet School and Jo (The Chalet School, #7)
  • The Chalet Girls in Camp (The Chalet School, #8)
  • Exploits of the Chalet Girls (The Chalet School, #9)
  • The Chalet School and the Lintons (The Chalet School, #10)
  • The New House at the Chalet School (The Chalet School, #12)

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