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The Dragonfly Pool

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,323 ratings  ·  450 reviews
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 a far more" "unusual and " interesting" place than Tally ever imagined, and she soon falls in love with its eccentric staff and pupils. Now she's even organizing an exciting school trip to the kingd ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 2nd 2008 by MacMillan Children's Books (first published April 23rd 2008)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,323 ratings  ·  450 reviews

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Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
To read a book that is pure pleasure is a gift, particularly when you've been reading a lot of so-so or merely okay books for a while. My history with Eva Ibbotson has been a kind of stilted one. As a librarian I've shelved her fantasies on a regular basis. As a reader I tasted one of her realistic stories ( The Star of Kazan) and one of her more imaginative flights of fancy ( Island of the Aunts). And I did like them both, but that was all. I "liked" them. I didn't love them, look forward to go ...more
Louise / Daisy May Johnson
There's nothing quite out there that reaches Eva Ibbotson at her very best. She writes like buttery crumpets on a midwinter's day; hot, fat moments that can be tasted on your tongue, warmth in every word and that magical storytelling quality that makes nothing else matter but the read. An Ibbotson book is a world-stopper sort of book, something that makes you unable to quite see clearly until it's over and then you're struck by that moment of absence, of severance from the story book world.

The D
Beth Bonini
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This novel for older children -- 11 to 13 is probably the ideal age, but my almost 14 year old loved it -- is a good example of the Ibbotson oeuvre. I was working on a unit of Ibbotson books, and having read about seven of them in a row (not to mention those I've read in the past), a clear pattern of "Ibbotson values" emerged. For instance: Love of the environment, the importance of friendship, displaced or orphaned persons (the search for a home is a major theme), standing up to bullies, being ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s-books
surprisingly awful,especially given that it was partially based on ibbotson's own childhood experiences. it offers badly rehashed themes from ibbotson's other (better) books and unintentionally trivializes war with its simplistic characters and almost unbelievable naivette.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I have read many books by Eva Ibbotson. She almost always has a female character that is innately good. She affects others by her lack of knowing how great she really is and she can move people to action. What I liked about this book is it came about because of Eva's own experience at bording school. The main character goes off to school and it is a very unusual school. Tally soon learns what kinds of horrors war can bring. I like this book and I think I liked it better because I listened to it. ...more
Suzannah Seerden
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should own this book
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This had a more cohesive plot than the last Ibbotson I read (Journey to the River Sea). I enjoyed the historical accuracy and that Ibbotson wanted to tackle something as serious as the Nazis in middle grade fiction. However, I think I just prefer her magical works more than those placed firmly in reality.
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
The Dargonfly Pool is the last of the Ibbotson 'adventure classics' series and the only one to have not won a Nestle Children's Book Prize and it's easy to see why. The books is good but lacks the magic of "Journey to the River Sea" and "star of Kazan". Or I should say the second half of the book did.

The first half still had that absolute joy. The delightful adorable spinster aunts,the worried and over worked parent, the child who is helpful and sweet. Ibbotson's characters are the only ones I'v
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the first Ibbotson book that I have read and I truly enjoyed it. The story has the feel of a well-written classic such as The Secret Garden. Ibbotson was born in 1925, and many of her books are based on her own life as a non-practicing Jewish girl during WWII, so perhaps that is why. This book, in particular, was based on her time at the boarding school Dartington, which is named Delderton Hall in the book. The heroine, Tally, is a kind-hearted girl, who seems totally unaware of how spec ...more
Anastasia Tuckness
I really, really, loved this book and I can't entirely explain why. It takes place during WWII; the main character, Tally, has been sent to a boarding school in the British countryside called Delderton. It's no ordinary boarding school, though; the children are allowed to basically set their own curriculum and pursue their interests. One day she sees a newsreel about Bergania and knows in her heart that she will somehow become deeply involved with this country--and she does.

Things I loved:
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is sheer pleasure.It's like sipping hot tea when you're absolutely frozen. The story is about courage and friendship, but also an innocent satire of the governments in the 1940's Europe, for those who seek a deeper meaning. After having read this book I feel like I've made friends with the characters which have inspired me to focus on the good in this world. If you set your mind to it, you can do it, they've taught me
Alice Kuzmenko
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recall reading this book when I was a lot younger, and absolutely loved it. I have re-read it now as an adult, and I still love it. This book carries such interesting characters, varied adventures, and a strong heroine. It is at times very predictable and written simplistically, but if you channel your youthful spirit, this will be a fun read.
Review originally posted on my blog, Creativity's Corner []

First let me just say that this book was not at all what I expected. I picked it up because I have been hearing many good things about Eva Ibbotson for a while now but I had not yet run into one of her books in a library. Though I had never heard of this title specifically, I read the book jacket and thought I might like it - after all between Tally being shipped off during the air raids of WWII and the made
There's something about the style in which this book is written that is... comfortingly old-fashioned. I don't just mean that the story is historical fantasy (although it is, set during the run up to, outbreak of, and in the midst of WWII), it's that everything from the characters to the tone of the tale are all very charmingly written. The heroine, Tally, is one of those super-kind, everybody loves her and she loves everybody characters that usually gets on my nerves to the point that I can't f ...more
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Tally is a young girl who doesn't want to go off to boarding school at Delterton. But once she arrives, she sees that this boarding school is nothing like she imagined. She makes great friends. Then she meets Karil, the Prince of Bergania (spelling? I listened to this.) She and other children want him to come to their boarding school and he wants to...but many obstacles stand in his way.

It also weaves in a little bit of WWII...but with few of the horrors.

I liked this and would almost give it a 4
Eva Mitnick
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Tally has a bit of Sara Crewe of A Little Princess about her; although her father is still alive, she is a singularly compassionate and generous person, well-liked by almost all who meet her; luckily, her worries and occasional imperfections make her wisdom lovely rather than irritating. Prince Karil and several adults receive meticulous and fascinating character development, but many characters remain rather one-dimensional, known mainly by one or two eccentric traits. The unsympathetic charact ...more
Lisa Brown
A sweet children's/YA book about a girl named Tallie, who is living in England at the start of World War II. She is offered a scholarship to go away to a progressive boarding school, and although she doesn't want to leave behind her family and friends, she goes. It doesn't take her long to realize that this school is different, and she finds herself very much at home.

The real story starts when the children are invited to participate in a folk dance festival in a small country in Europe. While th
Kit goes off to boarding school as World War II threatens Britain. There she meets lots of unique friends and gets to go across the sea to Europe to small country were she meets a prince and has more adventures.

The English boarding school story is very much in evidence here. Kit is annoyingly perfect and wonderful and everyone loves and adores her. There are no real consequences in her world and everything feels staged and unreal. The story has a very old-fashioned feel and fans of the English b
Susan  Dunn
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Eva Ibbotson is so great! This reminded me a lot of her "Star of Kazan", but since I love that book too, I didn't mind this. Just as WWII is breaking out, Tally's father sends her away from London to a boarding school in the country, where he hopes she'll be safer. There she makes some wonderful friends, and ends up being part of a troupe of dancers that go to a festival in the country of Bergania to perform at a festival. Bergania has so far remained neutral during the war, but Hitler and his m ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Delightful! This was classic Ibbotson and was a perfect comfort read for me. I listened to this on audio and I found myself taking the long way home and doing extra chores just to keep listening. Ibbotson has a charming old-fashioned feel to her stories that I adore. This book is peopled with wonderful characters, both children and adults, who quite firmly know what is right and what should be fought for. The humor is wonderful and the "progressive" school not only made my smile but also made me ...more
Kimberly Fields
I had a hard time getting into this book. I didn't find the characters to be all that engaging, and the story didn't really feel like historical fiction. It was set in England during World War II, with Nazis as the bad guys, but other than that, nothing was really very historical. The story of the prince and his mean relatives was too unbelievable. It really seemed like the author should have written two books-- one about children and their experience during World War II, and one about a prince ...more
Helen Byrne
This is a romantic adventure set against the backdrop of WW2. The main character of the story is Tally Hamilton who is furious when she is sent from London to Delderton Hall, a horrible, stuffy boarding school in the countryside because of the war. When she gets there, it is a more interesting place than she had ever imagined. An exciting school trip to the beautiful kingdom of Bergania takes Tally on an unexpected adventure with a normal little boy who happens to be the Prince of Bergania. The ...more
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It's on my list of "books that make me feel like the Harry Potter books do" despite it's setting in a more-or-less real World War II era Europe with no magic. For one thing, Tally and her classmates go to the most wonderful boarding school ever - picture Hogwarts with no Snape, Filch, or Mrs. Norris to spoil things. For another, their heartfelt fight against the forces of evil is every bit as high-stakes and heartwrenching as Harry and his friends'. Ibbotson is a gr ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The dragonfly pool by Eva Ibbotson is imaginative and vividly descriptive, set just before WW2.Best suited for 10-14 year olds, it's about Tally and her friends as they embark on a trip to Bergania. Here they meet Prince Karil and suddernly, a innocent trip to a dance festival, becomes a daunting trip straight into the tight grip of Nazi power. But, as time goes by, as Tally learns more about Karil, something else is to be discovered- secrets!
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I always love Eva Ibbotson's books. Haven't come across one that I don't like! Although "Star of Kazan" is my favorite--by far--this one is a close second! Great historical fiction and wow, I want a friend like Tally!
Meredith Henning
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emma, fiction
Violet's reading page:
By the same author as Journey to the River Sea which she adored and is STILL on my TBR list, she really enjoyed this one too! Highly recommended!
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Found this book quite enjoyable. It's interesting to read about ww2 through the eyes of a young girl. I enjoyed the author's note and that many characters and some settings are from her childhood experiences,
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Eva Ibbotson always writes the most beautiful, heartbreaking tributes to Europe before the Nazis that I have ever seen. This one is just lovely. Idealistic, and very black and white, but it is a children's book, and it is lovely.
Dana Grimes
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
I love everything I read by Ibbotson and this one was such a lovely story about new experiences and finding true friendship. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction and happy endings.
Steven Scoular
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This is very whimsical and pretty, an enjoyable read and due to the pacing you can probably get through it in a Sunday afternoon (which I did). I enjoyed it, and it veers pretty close to Enid Blyton style territory, if I were to have kids, I'd read this to them to make them smile.
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965.

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