There's a new Eva Ibbotson!!!! (Breathe, Noel, breathe.)
From The Globe and Mail:
THE DRAGONFLY POOL
By Eva Ibbotson, Macmillan, 397 pages, $22.95, ages 9 to 12
This newest of Eva Ibbotson's books - its most recent predecessor was the much-lauded Journey to the River Sea - has all the attributes of a splendid summer read. It has length going for it, making it a book from which readers will only want to come up for air occasionally and only to assure themselves that the known world still exists.
Like its predecessor, its central character is a girl, a rather exceptional one with a mind of her own and way of doing things that ensures that she is what we might call, in today's jargon, "effective." Eleven-year-old Tally, who lives in London with her widowed father, a doctor, and two devoted maiden aunts, is instantly likeable, independent-minded, "good" but not "goody-good." She is the sort of person with whom any reader would want to travel 397 pages.
And then there's the story, which is slightly old-fashioned, in the best sense of the word. It begins in 1939, in the first uneasy days of the Second World War and unfolds in rapid, imaginative leaps that do not ever really challenge the readers' capacity for disbelief. The bold outlines of the plot include Tally's being evacuated to a school in Devon, not to her cousins' feeder for Eton school, but to what might today be called an alternative school. It resembles Dartington Hall, which actually exists, but is called Delderton Hall, and it is the home of a number of "interesting" children and their eccentric teachers. Experiential learning is the presiding educational philosophy.
All of this is background to the main thrust of the story, which occurs as a result of a school trip to a small European kingdom called Bergania. Tally happens to meet and befriend Karil, the young son of the King, and in her plucky way is instrumental in smuggling him out of the country when the King is shot and killed by invading Germans.
Once he arrives in England, Karil is sequestered by the down-at-heel but very snobby members of Berganian nobility living in London, and seems lost forever to his new friends from Delderton Hall, especially Tally. Many a tale hangs on the reunification of the friends and the restoration of Karil to his rightful place in his homeland, all of them a treat.