Synopsis: Katy Carr is the longest girl that was ever seen. She is all legs and elbows, and angles and joints. She tears her dress every day, hates sewing and doesn’t care about being called ‘good’. Her head is full of schemes and one day she plans to do something important. But a great deal is to happen to Katy before that time comes.

Format Read: Audiobook

Genres: Coming of Age, Middle Grade, Classics, Historical

Review: The story follows the Carr children as they basically do what they want and ignore their Aunt Izzy. Katy and Clover the eldest two are pretty rude to their sweet sister Elsie through most of the story, feeling her as annoying and different to them. Then we have Dorrey, Johnnie and Phil the younger three that were kind of unusual children. The children have hide out places that they’ve created and play in all day long, even though their aunt wanted them to spend less time out there. Some of these sections were very interesting though hearing of their interactions with each other.

Katy is the protagonist and the leader of her family, though she is described as a giraffe being much too tall for her age she acts as though she’s a young child, which for the era it’s set in is very odd normally girls have matured and are ‘proper young ladies’ by her age. She gets into scrapes and gets into so much trouble at home and at school, bringing her friends and family into those troubles too. 

As the story progresses we are taken to see a whole new side of Katy, she becomes injured and thanks to her cousin Helen learns that being kind, understanding and caring towards her family will get her through the hardest of times. This was where to me the story started to become bittersweet, as she grew up almost overnight. Elsie was listened to and cared for, she was helping be a motherly figure for her siblings which she should have been anyway. I think this section was probably my most favourite from the story.

I liked this story but didn’t love it, there were parts that I enjoyed more than others, I loved the chapter about Christmas when Katy was so gracious and generous, I did enjoy hearing the stories of them as children playing though hated how they treated their aunt at that time. She wasn’t the easiest to get in with but she did everything for those children and they didn’t even give her a thank you. 

This isn’t the best children’s classic out there, but it was such an interesting world to be in, learning about the Carr family. Each character being unique and interesting, the story takes a turn that until that chapter you don’t see coming at all. This isn’t a book that would be for everyone but I personally enjoyed listening to it. 

Narrator Review: Eloise Oxer was a really good narrator, clear, easy to listen too and read the story well.


About Author: Sarah Chauncey Woolsey was an American children’s author who wrote under the pen name Susan Coolidge. 

Woolsey was born January 29, 1835, into the wealthy, influential New England Dwight family in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father was John Mumford Woolsey (1796–1870) and mother was Jane Andrews. She spent much of her childhood in New Haven Connecticut after her family moved there in 1852.

Woolsey worked as a nurse during the American Civil War (1861–1865), after which she started to write. The niece of the author and poet Gamel Woolsey, she never married, and resided at her family home in Newport, Rhode Island, until her death. 

She edited The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mrs. Delaney (1879) and The Diary and Letters of Frances Burney (1880). She is best known, however, for her classic children’s novel, What Katy Did (1872). The fictional Carr family was modeled after the author’s own, with Katy Carr inspired by Susan (Sarah) herself, and the brothers and sisters modeled on Coolidge’s four younger Woolsey siblings.


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