The Dragonfly Pool

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The Dragonfly Pool
Author Eva Ibbotson
Illustrator Kevin Hawkes
Language English
Series None
Subject War Time
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Dutton Juvenile
Publication date
4 September 2008
Pages 416
ISBN 0-525-42064-9

The Dragonfly Pool is a children's novel by award-winning author Eva Ibbotson. It is illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.


Talitha 'Tally' Hamilton is the daughter of the town's beloved doctor. Tally loves her life; she gets along with everyone. So Tally is very upset when she is sent to a boarding school (called Delderton) in England because of World War II, but does so for the sake of her father. When Tally arrives at Delderton Hall she soon discovers that this school is certainly like no other: the dancing teacher encourages them to be seeds busting into light, and the enigmatic biology teacher Matteo takes them for study walks at four in the morning. Tally soon settles in and makes plenty of friends, she even organizes a trip for her friends to attend a dancing festival in Bergania.

Tally's father, Mr. Hamilton, was a magnificent doctor, but kept his prices low anyway.

Meanwhile, Prince Karil of Bergania is a lonely boy who wants to be normal and have friends. He hates wearing stuffy suits and attending so many formal celebrations. When Karil meets Tally at the Dragonfly Pool, his place of comfort and peace, the two immediately become friends. But when Karil's father the King is assassinated, Karil is forced to flee with Tally and the others to England. The Germans overtake Bergania as part of their plan, as they had arranged the King's assassination.

The group of dancers quickly hide Karil as part of the team, to take him back to school with them. On their journey they are approached by many people but manage to get away. When they eventually reach England, Karil is taken into the care of his grandfather. Of course, this book has a happy ending and every one is reunited in the end. The book was inspired by Juliette Rocher.

In a foreword to the book Eva writes that Tally's school is based on her own experience at Dartington Hall, a progressive school in Devon. The inspirational biology teacher, Matteo, is based on David Lack, the ornithologist, who did a lot of his early research on robins with the help of his pupils [1]


  • Tally
  • Karil
  • Matteo
  • Kit
  • Julia
  • Tod
  • Augusta
  • Verity
  • Borro
  • Dr Hamilton
  • Aunt May
  • Aunt Hester
  • Magda
  • Margaret
  • Roderick
  • Aunt Virginia
  • Miss Hoy
  • Carlotta
  • Karil's grandfather


  1. ^ Ted R. Anderson - The Life of David Lack, Oxford Press 2013.