Anthony Sargeant read The School at the Chalet by Elinor Brent Dyer

Standard
Elinor M Brent Dyer published this, the first book in The Chalet School series, in 1925

Elinor M Brent Dyer published this, the first book in The Chalet School series, in 1925

Tony Sargeant first read some of the Chalet School series when he was about 11 years old in the 1950s. He was a member of ‘The Children’s Book Club’, an imprint of Foyle’s, which sent out monthly hard back but cheap editions of suitable books for children. Since you were joined by parents as ‘a boy’ or ‘a girl’ the books were gender specific – so mostly Tony got “boys’ books” such as ‘Biggles’, but sometimes mistakes were made and “a girls’ book” would arrive. So it was that he received, read and enjoyed some Elinor M Brent Dyer ‘Chalet School’ books. Sixty years later he re-read this ‘The School at the Chalet’ re-issued by Collins in their Modern Classics Series (good cover by the way – very art deco-ish) and was reminded what a good writer for children Elinor M Brent Dyer was. The book is pacy, fun, good vocabulary, occasionally challenging (but not too frequently as to interrupt the flow), for an 10 or 11 year old. It even includes a smattering of German and French words which a child would be amused to learn the meaning of. Some period schoolgirl expressions “Crikey”, “Gosh”, “Good Show”, “Chin-up” etc – but that just adds to the charm. It had a curious side-effect in that it almost resulted in Tony choosing to go to an London County Council Boarding Grammar School when he passed the 11 plus examination in 1955 – seeing that as an escape from his home life on the edge of The Bellingham Council Estate in South London.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s