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Dimsie Goes Back: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Spring Books, published as part of the Halycon Library

This is set during Read more... )
feather_ghyll: drawing of a girl from the 1920s reading a book in a bed/on a couch (Twenties girl reader)
Dimsie and the Jane Willard Foundation (The Dimsie short stories): Dorita Fairlie Bruce, Girls Gone By, 2011

I first came across Dorita Fairlie Bruce via the Springdale books, and until I bought this collection, I owned an equal amount of Dimsie and Springdale books. If I ever do get a complete collection of the Dimsie books, I should probably read them in order!

Anyway, this is a complete collection of the stories about Dimsie and her school written by Fairlie Bruce for various annuals. They are Read more... )
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I'm currently dipping in and out of The Big Book of School Stories for Girls, edited by Mrs Herbert Strand and published by Humphrey Milford - the Oxford University Press. I've never been one to buy annuals and what-do-you-call-thems...anthologies? I prefer girls own stories in longer form, on the whole, and here's always the possibility of stories told in cartoon, which I'm not fussed about. However, it's not too bad, some of the stories have been amusing. The was a Dimsie story 'All Fools Day' (I don't know if it was written specially for this collection or not). It wasn't the pranks that Puck and co came up with so much as their reasoning.

I also love the illustrations, which seem to have been done by a variety of contributors. I forgot to mention when reviewing Torley Grange that while I appreciate Girls Gone By's habit of using the original art work, I didn't much like the cover. This will show my very limited appreciation of art, but I'm not sure that drawing schoolgirls as influenced by Edvard Munch's Scream with a jaundiced tinge, when you're not going for an Addams Family vibe is particularly attractive.

Anyhow, here are a couple of links that I've collected, mainly from trying to find information out about the writers I've recently been reading. I discovered (it must have been stated in the intro, but didn't sink in) that Torley Grange was Corutney's first book, which explains a few things and is rather impressive.

The University of Reading has her papers, there's a short bio here.

And this is an in-depth biographical article on Evelyn Smith by Hilary Clare for Folly magazine.
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Dimsie Carries On: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Oxford University Press

This is my post about buying the Dimises I've been reading and reviewing of late. (Tes, it can easily take over six months between the purchase of a book and the reading of it in my world.) Closer scrutiny has shown that I've got reprints, so there must have been other dust jackets originally. Even closer scrutiny (ie the dust jacket breaking up somewhat) has revealed that it's two sided, the other side was a dust jacket for another book entirely (Adventure for Two by Elsie J. Oxenham). I don't think I've come across that before!

To the book )
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Dimsie Among the Prefects: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Oxford. Reprinted 1949

I thought that I had bought four Dimsies in one go, but it was only three, so, after this, only one to go.

Read more... )

Anyway, I am currently reading A Company of Swans, and it's delightful.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Dimsie Goes to School: Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Oxford Univerity Press. Reprinted, 1949.

This is the first of three Dimsie books that I have to read...

And so, we begin at the beginning. I read my first Dimsie book after reading a couple of Springdale books, and my impression of the Jane Willard Foundation school was that it was always raining in comprison, and that they were always doing drills (which sounded beastly) and what kind of a name is the 'Jane Willard Foundation', wondered I. Ouf, typing it out, that opinion comes on a bit stronger than I expected. But rereading and reading more Dimsie books toned it down, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to get a fuller picture of Dimsie and 'Jane's.'. Another thing is that I was used to Dimsie as a Senior, so having her be in the Hilary Garth role is strange.

Read more... )

edited for typos on 12.1.10
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I've referred to Lucy Mangan's series of features on how to build up 'a brilliant children's library' before. Here in No. 15, she reaches Dimsie goes to School and Angela Brazils. Apparently the only difference between Fairlie Bruce and Angela Brazil is that one wrote her books a little earlier, which is unfair. Though I do appreciate that this is a short piece and she's talking about Dimsie as a representative of a genre.

But no, I cn't help but be pedantic, Fairlie Bruce wrote about Scotland as well as England, and Jean is a rubbish example of stoicism. I type as one who has four Dimsies waiting to be read upstairs. There's also a reference to 'You're A Brick, Angela' in the article, which apparatently was 'the first substantial book of criticism-cum-championing of girls' school stories'. This leads to the inevitable thought that if that's championing, who needs undermining. (I discuss that book and line of thought here.

Mangan's argument for these books is mainly nostalgic, though she makes an interesting point about how these books are no longer being passed on. Is this true? The Chalet School, Mallory Towers, St Clare's and Trebizons were easily available in paperback as I grew up, and I found others from my mother and her friends', a haphazard collection, and became a haunter of charity shops and Christmas fairs, but I was a real bookworm. But what about young girls these days? Do they get their hands on copies to beguile, entertain and confuse them?
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Today's haul = nine books. Most of them were courtesy of a second-hand bookshop where, to my delight (truly, I was grinning like a fool for a good bit after that), I got three Dimsie books. There were more DFBs, but I already owned them. These are the first Dimsies that I own with a dust jacket, which was nice satisfaction for my curiosity, although they're all the same drawing and less colourful than the Springdale dust jacket that I own. Speaking of, I am most excited about getting Dimsie Carries On because it links both series, although the copy was priced down because it was in a worse condition.
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I've read several children's books over the past few weeks, but I'm not in a position to type up full reviews at present, so here are some one-sentence responses. The Potato Riddle by Agnes and Norman Furlong was a boys' story, a change for me, and definitely operating by a different set of rules to the one I'm used to, which may have been a factor in how entertaining I found it i.e. novelty. Pamela at Peters' by Edna Lake flubs its central mystery horribly, ignoring the gun in the first act rule, but is otherwise a tight story with a new girl and a secret society fighting for a school's honour. Dimsie, Head Girl by DFB is the real deal though. Yes, the title makes the first half mildly irritating as you wait for the story to catch up and for Dimsie to step into the biggest shoes a schoolgirl heroine can, all to save the Jane Willard Foundation from drift - actually, there's a thematic sympathy between those last two books.

Then I read Plough Penny Mystery by Lavinia L. Davis, which features younger characters over a summer, and offers a genuinely perceptive character study in the shadow of the second world war. Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allen is what you'd expect from MAE, first person narrative, coming of age story with romance amidst friendships, good on local detail - although there was something in there about a play about a Welsh valley being drowned performed in Liverpool that the sixties (Tryweryn) rendered a howler.

Finally, there was something in the news a few days ago about land girls and lumberjills (a term I'd never come across before) finally getting recognised for their war work by the UK Government. How? Badges. How very Blue Peter. (I'm not sure how tongue in cheek I feel about this).
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Researching for this review, I found out that one of its sequels, Toby of Tibbs' Cross, is that book featuring a Land Girl that I was thinking of the other day. The fact that I didn't remember that I'd read about the further adventures of this character doesn't worry me particularly, but as it wasn't on my main list of girls' own stories, that suggests that it is not stored with the rest of those books, or it wasn't when I made the list to try to avoid buying second copies of books I already own.

(PS: The only tennis I saw yesterday was the entertaining Bryan twins n their way to an easy victory. Doubles always fascinates me, apart from the rat-a-tat volleying, with its psychology. There is some tennis in the book below, but it's mainly a plot device.)


The School on the Moor: Dorita Fairlie Bruce Oxford 1934 reprint
Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I was back to the charity shop where I'm volunteering yesterday - the skirt that everyone kept picking up but never buying wasn't gone, but the killer red boots that everyone kept picking up but never buying were. 'Twas only a matter of time before a size 3 Cinderella came into the shop. It was busy, but we weren't selling many books. All I sold was a funny book, a classic (a bargain, because it seemed to be a recently published version and in good quality for a quid) and a dictionary. I hope to pick up some books for myself today.

Over the weekend, I read an Angela Brazil. I hope to type up my review soon, I very nearly lost my scrawls out of carelessness. Order marks for me etc. etc. Also - finally somewhere where my excitement is not going to be inexplicable - I got a Dimsie book! Think of a snug one-room shop, thirty seconds away from a seaview. The walls are painted an airy white, but are mainly hidden, because books are piled precariously everywhere, there's no space left on the shelves, making turning or hasty movement an invitation for an avalanche. And there I saw 'Dimsie Head Girl'! I have more Springdales than Dimsies, so I was pretty sure i didn't have it (and have since checked: it isn't a double. That's becoming an occasional whoopsie that I do, having been collecting for around twenty years now.) I got another children's book by a name I didn't recognise and an Ethel Talbot (yes, despite the harsh reviews I've been giving her books. It was only £1.50).


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October 2017



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