W is for What Katy Did. And if you wonder who Katy is and what she did, then you have missed out on one of the true children’s classics. Like every thing else, the book has its pros and cons, but in my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons. While I do find enjoy discovering similarities and differences in books that seem the same or polar opposites, I still enjoy (or not) each book on its own merit completely (even those in a series). And this one must be one of the first classics I fell in love with and which left a lasting impression on me. This book was definitely one of my first favorite books! And I read it many times as a little girl and reread it again in the recent past. I admired Katy for her strength, cried for her when she did not, laughed when she had fun.
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The book was written in the 1870s and is hence quaintly old-fashioned, and rightly so too. While we have Cousin Helen whose almost-saintly-goodliness might seem unbelievable, it somehow seems just right in the book, and that makes her a perfect role model for Katy. From a veritable tomboy at the beginning of the book ‘whose hair was always tangled, and who always landed in scrapes’ to a semblance of Cousin Helen towards the end of the book, Katy’s transformation is beautiful indeed. It is remarkable to see how circumstances alter her interactions with her family and friends as the story progresses. All of these help to make the book more realistic along with the language that Susan Coolidge uses in the book (like she is sitting across from you and narrating the story to you). Just like in Little Women, the siblings are based upon the author and her siblings; and also, just like in Little Women, the siblings in the book get together and come up with the most wonderful games, and compose poems and stories that are exactly what children of that age would do. (Well, that was my comparison bit!!)
This book is a must read for children (and older ones too) everywhere.. teaching wonderful lessons on perseverance against the odds life stacks you, and the joys of being a child and of growing up..
Have you read What Katy Did? What other books did it remind you of? Let me know..
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“She read all sorts of things: travels, and sermons, and old magazines. Nothing was so dull that she couldn’t get through with it. Anything really interesting absorbed her so that she never knew what was going on about her. The little girls to whose houses she went visiting had found this out, and always hid away their story-books when she was expected to tea. If they didn’t do this, she was sure to pick one up and plunge in, and then it was no use to call her, or tug at her dress, for she neither saw nor heard anything more, till it was time to go home.” ― Susan Coolidge, What Katy Did – this quote is perfect for me, as my parents said exactly the same thing to friends and family when we visited them (they actually would ask them to hide the books so I would socialize while visiting, and not end up lost within books!). And today, as a grown-up, while I try my best not to lost myself in a book when we visit someone, what I do notice is the books they have visibly lying around and their artwork on the walls and shelves (especially if handmade).
This post goes towards ABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter W (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22 is children’s books – I will pick one popular (and sometimes the not so popular/the unknown) book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely