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The Diddakoi

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  765 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
A young Gypsy girl is shunned by the children in her village because she lives in a covered wagon. And when her guardian great-grandmother dies, she must adjust to a new life and learn to accept life's inequities.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 2nd 1988 by Puffin (first published 1968)
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Yolandon Kizzy, the main character, is called a "diddakoi", because she is half Romany-Gypsy, half White.

Community Reviews

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Jun 23, 2012 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I first read this book when I was 9 or so and its memory has never left my mind. liked Kizzy, the little Diddakoi (Traveller) girl perhaps because I could subconsciously relate to some of her struggles, especially those of perceived foreignness when one is the only dark-skinned kid in the class. Now that I'm reading this book again as an adult, with all the experience I have regarding culture and such, I am quite amazed that this book which is a kids book would have so much social commentary, al ...more
Faith Spinks
Mar 14, 2014 Faith Spinks rated it it was amazing
When I found The Diddakoi in a box of books from up in the loft I let out a little sound of excitement. I remember loving this book as a child. It is a 1985 edition and falling apart because it has been read so many times over the years.

At the end of that day of sorting boxes I couldn't resist it, picked it up and started reading it again. In the early hours of the morning and half way through the book already I forced myself to put it down and get some sleep. Getting home the next day it took
Cute story about a gypsy girl who lives with her great great great grandmother in a little covered wagon with Joe, the horse. They live contentedly enough til the school board gets involved and makes Kizzy attend public school where she is mercilessly bullied.

Enter a kindly benefactor who takes her in when she is sick and orphaned and teaches her that not all humans are the enemy, and even those who are, can change.

So it's a short, pleasant read, one I would have enjoyed more while I was in the
Mar 30, 2011 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Kizzy is a half-romani girl aged 7 or 8 who has been brought up by her great-great-grandmother. She is first discovered by the authorities and made to go to school, which is not a good experience, and then when the old lady dies she finds her distant romani relatives don't want her and she is not going to be allowed to live on her own.

I loved this children's book. There are some great characters - not only Kizzy but the adults too. There are also some well-meaning characters who make mistakes (
Jan 11, 2013 Nic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who has kids!
Oh my word!!!
I read this book in primary, and LOVED it. I can't believe I found it here, and I would never have remembered the name if not for that gypsy list.
We did this book in 2005 for the subject "Book Studies" and I mean we had to study this book for the whole year. So imagine a less-than-200 page for a whole year. So slow!! I read the whole thing in the first term and had to shut up on the spoiler :P hehe.
It would be soooo interesting read this book again!
Andreas Stavros
May 16, 2014 Andreas Stavros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently re-read this book 35 years after first discovering it, and it's lost none of its intelligent charm. The story is simple: Kizzy is a young gypsy girl, shoe-horned into a mainstream society riddled with bullies and well-meaning but naive do-gooders, but whose innate determination and pride enables her to survive without losing her dignity or identity.

The book was also adapted into a children's TV series in 1976 (which is how I discovered it), but the tale itself is timeless. In short,
Jun 10, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This charming story was written in 1972 and tells of the life of seven year old Kizzy, a young gypsy girl who finds herself totally alone after the death of her Gran. She has all sorts of difficulties with going to school, interacting with the other children and adults and resists conforming to the standards of the town. This is a remarkable story of how the human spririt survives despite all odds and of the generosity and love given to this young girl from some caring people in the town. It is ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Wes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A tale about a girl who only wanted to be herself, and everyone's bizarre efforts to force her to blend in.

Kizzy was a little gypsy girl, who only wants her wagon, her Gran, and her horse. Sadly, she loses all three. But somehow, no one can understand why Kizzy is upset after losing everything she cares about in the whole world.

The schoolchildren torment her, the adults want to punish her when she misbehaves, Kizzy accidentally destroys Olivia's house, but somehow everyone gets exactly what they
Oh, how I loved this book when I was small! As an adult, I still remembered fondly this story of a young orphaned traveller child who longs for her caravan and feels a lonely outsider at school and in the village where she is now cared for. Rumer Godden is a lovely writer, but with adult eyes many decades later the story now feels quite dated, including (view spoiler) ...more
Having just finished the Maisie Dobbs’ book about gypsies—“An Incomplete Revenge,” I was reminded of this book that I read as an adult back in 1992. It’s about Kizzy, a young half gypsy girl who learns about prejudice when her grandmother dies and she enters the local school where she suffers the taunts and cruelties of her schoolmates. The book, directed at young adults, not only deals with bullying (a topic very much in the news today), but with Romany culture and kindness that reaches across ...more
Zen Cho
Sep 25, 2011 Zen Cho rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidslit
See review of Peacock Spring for critique. I did find this enormously satisfying in a lot of ways. I was tremendously invested in the characters, and I liked how Kizzy's trauma and recovery were depicted -- reminded me a lot of Goodnight Mr Tom. I would have loved the book and reread it millions of times as a child, but I'm not really sure about this message in the end that being taken in by Nice White People and having them graciously preserve your ~beautiful culture~ is the answer. Sigh ... it ...more
Aug 01, 2008 Alisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover pictured here is in even twee-er than the edition I read. But, really, I haven't enjoyed an actual kid's book this much in a long time. Maybe because it was written a while ago? I read YA all the time, but anything for the tween set and under just seems way way way too young to keep my interest.

But reading this was like going back to when books were not only good, but were magic, and were always going to work out all right.

I could use more of that.
Laura McNeal
If I had read this book as a child, my hopeless longing for a pony (a fire constantly fed by pony books) could have been joined to a longing for a pony that pulled a gilded red and green wagon, a kind admiral to protect me during a bout of pneumonia, and a little fire in the apple orchard to sit by while I cook my tea. There is no better kind of story than this when you are Kizzy's age, and I wish I could be eight again and find it.
This is about a gypsy girl whose grandmother dies leaving her an orphan. Themes involve traditions of travellers, bullying, adoption, family, village life, grief and loss. A powerful story about a very convincing set of characters, and how they learn to understand and see the best in Kizzy.
Wonderful dramatisation by the BBC. A perfect book for young adults (and old ones, too). Who wouldn't want to have bonfires at night and sleep in a little wagon? My thanks to Bettie for recommending this - I now have another book to add to my Gypsy theme.
Jan 09, 2011 Loripdx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a young girl and was throughly captivated by the story of the gypsy girl and her life. When I was an adult, I managed to find the book through Powell's used books and now have a copy of the edition I read back in the 1970s (when it was still a "new" book!). Excellent!
Dec 22, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was a young girl (preteen?) when I read this and really loved it. Made me wish I had a tiny, perfect caravan and a pony to pull it. Wished I was exotic. Was not exotic but in books could experience lives unlike mine. I love reading!
Aug 22, 2009 Lindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting thing about this book is that there adults who know that bullying is going on but wait to see if the kids sort it out themselves. This would never happen in a book written today.
Sara L.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Angel
Mar 15, 2016 Andy Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember watching this on tv in the mid 1970s and seem to think I read the book then two (but I could be mistaken about the reading - it's nearly 40 years ago and I've been to bed since then. Anyway, it came up in a conversation a few weeks ago and I looked on Amazon.....there it was!

The story is not a comfortable read at times, with the heroine Kizzy, the half gypsy 'diddakoi' of the title being bullied at school, losing her home when her Gran dies and so on. (There is more but I won't spoil
Sep 28, 2015 Harleychalmers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heart warming story of how a community welcomed an orphaned gypsy girl into their hearts. With social clashes and temper tantrums in every chapter this story has an uplifting message of acceptance and accommodation of other cultures.
Kizzy is a hard headed little girl who a desperate to uphold her gypsy traditions but is taken in by a wealthy gentleman and a kind hearted young woman. With background stories of unexpected romance and annoying neighbours, Rumer has not only depicted the gypsy tr
Andy Angel
Childhood Memories

I remember watching the tv series of this back in the mid '70s. To be honest I don't remember much of the story but it must have been something special as it stayed in my memory. So
When I found out it was available for kindle it was a no-brainer.

The story of the young half gypsy Kizzy is not a comfortable read at times. She is bullied and picked on at school and is not trusting of others as she isn't used to them. There are good people in the village too though who want to hel
Tracey Billson
Who has not been bullied at school? Girls are the worst. And so Kizzy, the little Diddakoi girl of this story finds out.
A short sweet story of a child making the transition from the life of a gypsy to living amongst Gorgios, or non gypsies. The ending is somewhat fairytale but still a good tale.
a wonderful story, told poetically and clearly and will resonate with many kids- gives a glimpse into another time and place, but still relatable to kids of today, especially immigrant kids or kids who feel different at school.. but really anyone--- highly recommended...
Oct 01, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it
A beautiful story whose lesson is that it's OK to be different. Because of it, I spent much of my childhood wanting to be more different than I was!
Jan 19, 2015 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my favourite book as a child, I loved this book to pieces. I read it so many times that the pages all fell out. It has a great story line and vibrant characters.
Megan Parker
Mar 08, 2015 Megan Parker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can read and re-read this book again and again, a very easy read and a good book.
Oct 29, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Little Kizzy, who doesn’t know how old she is, lives with her Gran – who is really her great-great-grandmother, in a wagon in Admiral Twiss’s orchard. They are gypsies, or Travellers, though their traveling days ended long before Kizzy’s birth. Her beloved horse, Joe, couldn’t pull the wagon now, even if it wasn’t too old and decrepit to move from where it stood. When Gran dies, Kizzy’s relatives come and burn the old wagon, according to tradition, but contrary to that same tradition, none of th ...more
Cute and lovingly told tale of a Gypsy/Traveler girl and her experiences in the English day school and caravan life during the early 20th century. It has a tra-la-la lyric and the language reflects the mood and the chanting to a skilled degree. The feeling of differences and apprehension are clear. The story itself is detailed to characters in a manner that grabs their depths and their oddities. Their unique features of what makes them be themselves.

But as much as I liked this one for kids- it w
Dec 01, 2015 Nisha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dec-2015

... 'You ought to be in school,' she said.

Kizzy mutely held up her bunches but Mrs Cuthbert was not to be deflected. 'Why are you not in school?'

'Because I don't go to school,' but Kizzy did not say it. She said nothing, only offered her bunches.


'How old are you? You must be six or seven.'

Kizzy did not know. Gran always said such things were not important. 'You're as old as you are,' said Gran, and that was the answer Kizzy innocently gave, 'I'm as old as I am.'

To her surprise Mrs Cut
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Margaret Rumer Godden was born in Sussex, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj. Many of her 60 books are set in India. Black Narcissus was made into a famous movie with Deborah Kerr in 1947.

Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.

For more information, see the official website: Rumer Godden
More about Rumer Godden...

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