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The Diddakoi

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,034 ratings  ·  125 reviews
"There's a girl who's a gypsy. She has rings in her ears and she sometimes comes to school in a little wagon."

Kizzy Lovell is a gypsy girl. She has her gran and her horse, Joe, and she doesn't need anything else. Then Gran dies, her wagon burns, and Kizzy is left all alone - in a community that hates her.

Published September 3rd 2004 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published 1968)
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Rachel Longstaff Yes. My 3 granddaughters, aged 12, 9 and 6 all enjoyed it, the youngest one less than the other two. It's a great story, and introduces them to the fe…moreYes. My 3 granddaughters, aged 12, 9 and 6 all enjoyed it, the youngest one less than the other two. It's a great story, and introduces them to the feelings of being discriminated against.(less)
Yolandon Kizzy, the main character, is called a "diddakoi", because she is half Romany-Gypsy, half White.…moreKizzy, the main character, is called a "diddakoi", because she is half Romany-Gypsy, half White.(less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like orphan stories, horses and outdoor life
A read aloud of a childhood favourite.

Kizzy is from a traveller family, she lives with her Gran in a wagon parked in the orchard of Admiral Twiss' country estate.

She goes to the local school and is taunted and bullied. When the time comes Kizzy can't live with Gran anymore some disreputable family members come to take her.

The rest of the story follows Kizzy through the following year and her problems with the so called respectable children. The story has a wonderful conclusion, perhaps some mig
While I in particular have appreciated the happy ending of Rumer Godden's The Diddakoi (albeit that I do find it almost a bit too fairytale like and magical to be a totally realistic conclusion, kind of like a happily-ever-after tale with Kizzy basically getting the best of both the Romany and the non Romany worlds), I do have to admit that the lack of official consequences for the bullying group of village schoolgirls who not only were viciously harassing Kizzy but also were so physically rough ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have never been disappointed reading a piece of children's literature.

After reading it, I have always grown fond of characters and have come out enriched and with warm heart.

This is no exception.

It is a story about a girl who never gave up being herself. In spite of the taunts and bullying by the normal people (her own class mates) she remained what she is. She was not ready to give up anything of her own. She knew how to fight back and she fought back. That is the message of the book. But th
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it
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
I find a restfulness in Rumer Godden’s work that is peaceful, but not a stuck-in-amber sort of way that sometimes the brit-ish style imposes on me. I so enjoyed this YA story. The other thing this author does so well is tell a cultural story, one diverse from her own English POV, but with a context that is respectful. In this case the culture is that of the Romany / Gypsies. . . a diddakoi is a gypsy person who is living outside of the Romany tribes and who is of mixed blood. In the case of Kizz ...more
Faith Spinks
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
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. ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Andreas Stavros
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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,
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a grand little story. Loved how they all learned something.
Zen Cho
Sep 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book, and one I wish I'd read when I was a kid. The book was originally released in 1972 when I was 12, which would have been the perfect age. It's a story of a half-gypsy or Diddakoi called Kizzy, who goes to live with non-Romany people when her grandmother dies.

It does, as others have noted, have a bit of a fairy-tale ending, but it also has some very dark moments such as when Kizzy is beaten up by a group of girls from her school. This is a tale from before the days of po
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Different doesn't mean bad"

Oh, I adored this book! Heidi meets Annie meets Mr Blunden. It was clearly well researched and faithful to the truth of being a Gypsy/Traveller. It didn't glorify or over fantasise but it was also respectful and honoured the heritage.
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 (
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
Jan 09, 2011 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! ...more
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.
Christine Dolan
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
An old fashioned children's book. Heart warming, but a bit silly. Reminded me of Michael Morpurgo with its theme of an outsider being gradually accepted by a community. ...more
Sara Uckelman
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Angel
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
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...
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
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.
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Margaret Rumer Godden, OBE 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

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