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Jo of the Chalet School by Elinor M.…

Jo of the Chalet School (1926)

by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

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Showing 5 of 5
Second in the lengthy series about a girls' boarding school in Austria. This book particularly features 13-year-old Joey, sister of the school Head. She makes new friends, becomes editor of a magazine, learns to ski, and even discovers what her future career is likely to be.

Much more interesting than the average school story for teenagers, even if it does seem a little dated in places. So enjoyable to read the hardback again, after only having a paperback version for many years. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Jo of the Chalet School . . . I really enjoyed it.

Here's what I liked about it:

1. Like Tolkien or P. G. Wodehouse, Elinor M. Brent Dyer creates the kind of cosy fictional world you can just lose yourself in. Reading a book like this, life is pretty much perfect.

2. The Chalet School books seem to have a bit of everything. There's humour, adventure, and the pleasures of everyday life. It runs from the mundane to the silly to the sublime.

3. I love the old-fashionedness of this book. The 1920s is another world, run on different assumptions to the 2010s. Reading children's books - good children's books - you really get a sense of the times they are written in.

4. Jo herself. She is quite a complex character. I guess I would have to call her a heroine and I can see why she inspires the affection and loyalty she does from the other girls. To have someone like Jo as a schoolfriend would be a good thing. I enjoyed spending time in her company! ( )
  Akiyama | Oct 22, 2014 |
I liked this much more than the first one so I'm so glad I persisted. I'm getting really attached to the students, especially Joey (who I consider the main character at this point). I still wish most of the adventures would take place within the school and revolve around school activities but I really enjoyed the girls' Christmas spent with a host family nonetheless. The Robin is a lovely addition to the cast, too. At this point I'm considering this an adventure series, not a school series, and reading it as such. A bit frustrated as I really wanted a meaty school series but trying to take it as it comes. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
The Bettany sisters - Madge, who founded a boarding school for girls in the Austrian Tyrol, in The School at the Châlet, and her younger sister Joey, who was enrolled as the school's first pupil - return in this second installment of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's epic fifty-eight-volume series (sixty-two, in the paperback reprints), which first saw print in 1925. The little school on the Tiernsee has grown since its first term, and now boasts more than thirty pupils, with all of the old girls - Joey herself, reformed trouble-makers Juliet and Grizel, Head-Girl Gisela Marani, the Mensch sisters, sentimental Simone - returning, and some new ones - six-year-old Robin (real name: Cecelia Marya Humphries), a semi-orphaned young girl who quickly becomes the adored baby of the school, and American Evadne Lannis - being introduced as well.

Winter is an exciting time in the Tyrol, and many adventures and misadventures befall Jo and the other Châlet girls, from the publication of the first issue of the school magazine, The Châletian, to the flooding of the school as the snows melt. In between are the rescue of Rufus, a Saint Bernard puppy; a slang rebellion, in which the girls adopt Shakespearean language; a Nativity play and holiday concert, and Christmas celebrations for the Bettanys in Innsbruck; a covert trip to the local Ice Carnival, with disastrous results; and Jo's writing of an "Elsie" book (based on Martha Finley's Elsie Dinsmore series), and discovery of her true calling. The book concludes with a not-altogether-unexpected announcement from Madge, concerning Dr. Jem, who, as a result of Joey's many illnesses, has become a regular visitor at the school...

I enjoyed Jo of the Châlet School every bit as much as the first in the series - possibly even more! - and came away with a strong desire to read the next installment, The Princess of the Châlet School, which looks to combine school story with Ruritanian fantasy. I can see why a friend has described these books as having strong series appeal! There were so many aspects of this story that I found charming - the Shakespearean slang, the absurd excerpt from Joey's "Elsie" book - and I particularly enjoyed reading about the Christmas doings in Innsbruck, as the Bettanys visited with the Mensch family, and participated in a traditional Tyrolean holiday. I discovered that, as I spent more time with the characters, I came to care more about what happened to them. Of course there were some aspects of the story that were somewhat silly and overused - Joey's constant illnesses, Robin's appeal as the baby - but it never approached the level of irksomeness that would have ruined the book.

All in all, an enjoyable second entry in a series I intend to continue to explore. I read the original unabridged version, reprinted in a facsimile edition by Girls Gone By Publishers, which also contained a history of the book's publication, and a Christmas Châlet story by Catherine Bradley. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 2, 2013 |
When I reread The school at the chalet I was afraid that the series had lost its magic for me and I was wondering how I would go at rereading the early part of the series to finally catch up on the full versions of books I had only ever read in the abridged form. It was therefore a great delight to discover that with Jo of... the magic is definitely back. Yes, there are too many dramatic happenings, including Jo saving the Robin's life, but for all that, it is a truly enjoyable book. It is also the title that introduces so many favourites, including Rufus and the Robin. And it is the book that includes everyone's all-time favourite Christmas story. After reading this book the first time, I don't think any Christmas could ever quite live up to the fairytale event so wonderfully and simply described here.

I am prompted to remember that the first Chalet title I ever read (the only one I ever read or knew about before I grew up) was School at... At the time I was disappointed because it wasn't a "proper" school in my mind, not like Malory Towers. It didn't seem to me to count as a school if it was just being set up by a young girl with very few students. I wanted tradition, lots of girls and a wise, older head. It was only when I discovered that the book was the first of a series and read some of the other titles that I became hooked and began my reading journey that lasted slightly over 10 years. Now I find myself wondering whether it wasn't just my preconceived ideas about school stories that put me off School at... Perhaps, for me, the series really only takes shape with Jo of...

I am aware now of something else as well. So many people wrote in the FOCS magazine that the grownup Jo annoyed them - she was so "perfect" and different from young Jo. I was quite happy with grown-up Jo and couldn't remember young Jo being particularly wild. But I was wrong. I read the series so slowly that I didn't notice the changes or the contrast. Jo was very far from being a perfect child and she really is a much fuller, more rounded character than her adult counterpart.

I wonder how far I will progress with this series the second time round. Will I stop with Jo to the rescue or will I continue as far as all the "Tom" titles? It will be interesting to find out - I clearly have a few titles to go before I have to make up my mind! ( )
2 vote mandochild | Apr 24, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elinor M. Brent-Dyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brisley, Nina K.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
The Chalet School now boasts over 30 pupils. The autumn term sees adventures of all kinds - a flood that threatens the school and the dramatic rescue of an unwanted St Bernard puppy. Finally Joey, Robin and Madge spend a delightful Christmas at Innsbruck.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0006903355, Paperback)

The Chalet School now boasts over 30 pupils. The autumn term sees adventures of all kinds - a flood that threatens the school and the dramatic rescue of an unwanted St Bernard puppy. Finally Joey, Robin and Madge spend a delightful Christmas at Innsbruck.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:05 -0400)

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