… Susan Coolidge, the American author of some of my favourite books when I was a child.
Susan Coolidge was her pen name – her real name was Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (1835 – 1905). She is best known for her classic children’s book – What Katy Did, featuring Katy Carr and her family. Along with Little Women this must be the book that I’ve the most number of times, together with What Katy Did at School and What Katy Did Next.
Looking at her entry in Wikipedia I realise now that she wrote many other books, short stories and poems, some of which are available from Project Gutenberg, including two more ‘Katy’ books, which I haven’t read – Clover and In the High Valley. There is a brief biography at the 19th-Century Girls’ Series.
I loved Katy. She was a tomboy, always getting into scrapes, playing rough games and getting into trouble. But there is another side to the story of Katy and her little brothers and sisters (based roughly on her own family) because Katy has an accident, falling off a swing and becomes bedridden, eventually with the help of Cousin Helen learning patience and cheerfulness. I haven’t read the book for years and I suspect I could find it a little too moralising now. I hope not I enjoyed it so much.
Katy’s hair was always untidy; her frocks were always catching on nails and ‘tearing themselves’; and in spite of her age and size, she was as heedless and innocent as a child of six. Katy was the longest girl that was ever seen. What she did to make herself grow so, nobody could tell; but there she was – up above papa’s ear and half a head taller than poor Aunt Izzie. …
She had fits of responsibility about the other children, and longed to set them a good example, but when the chance came, she generally forgot to do so. Katy’s days flew like the wind; for when she wasn’t studying lessons or sewing or darning with Aunt Izzie, which she hated extremely, there were always so many delightful schemes rioting in her brains, that all she wished for was ten pairs of hands to carry them out. These same active brains got her into perpetual scrapes.
These are my well-worn ‘Katy’ books:
So far my entries for ABC Wednesday have had a literary connection and I hope to continue with them as long as possible. I also post non-literary entries on my other blog Margaret’s Miscellany – this week it’s C for Corfe Castle.