THE DRAGONFLY POOL; Eva Ibbotson; New York: Dutton, 2008; 377pp. Fiction.
Tally doesn't want to go to Delderton, the progressive boarding school far from home and her loving father and aunts, but with war looming and a scholarship available, she has no choice. Happily, the school (based on Ibbotson's own childhood academy) is welcoming and nourishing to body, mind, and soul. While at the cinema with a friend, Tally sees a newsreel of the brave king of Bergania whose country has remained neutral in the face of enormous Nazi pressure. She wants very much to visit Bergania and her wish is granted when Delderton is invited to send a folk dance group to an international Berganian festival. The rest of the book tells the story of Tally and her friends' rescue of Prince Karil, first from his Nazi pursuers, and then from the life he is bound to, but crushed by. The Dragonfly Pool is a lovely, old-fashioned tale of good versus evil, of friendship, kindness, and open minds and hearts. Should be a great read-aloud, as well as on one's own.