WHAT KATY DID is an 1872 children's book written by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge. This first book was followed by “What Katy Did at School”and “What Katy Did Next”.
Synopsis: 12-year-old Katy Carr lives with her widowed father and her two brothers and three sisters in Burnet, a small midwestern American town. Her father is a very busy doctor who works long hours; the children are mostly in the care of his sister Aunt Izzie, who is very particular and something of a scold. Bright, headstrong Katy can hardly avoid getting into mischief almost daily under these circumstances, but she is unfailingly remorseful afterward. She behaves somehow kindly to the children and also she dreams of some day doing something "grand" with her life: painting famous pictures, saving the lives of drowning people, or leading a crusade on a white horse. She also wants to be "beautiful, of course, and good if I can." When her mother died four years earlier, Katy promised to be a little mother to her siblings: in practice, she is the kind of big sister who is sometimes impatient or cross with them but leads them into all sorts of exciting adventures.
One day Katy wakes in an ill humor, quarrels with her aunt and pushes her little sister so hard that she falls down half a dozen steps. Afterward, sulky and miserable, Katy decides to try out the swing in the woodshed although Aunt Izzie has forbidden it. Had Aunt Izzie actually explained that the swing was unsafe because one of the staples supporting it had cracked, "all would have been right," but she believes that children should unquestioningly obey their elders. Katy swung as high as she could and then, as she tries to graze the roof with her toes, the staples give way and she falls hard, bruising her spine.
The lively Katy is now bedridden and suffering terrible pain and bitterness. Her room is dark, dreary, and cluttered with medicine bottles; when her siblings try to comfort her, she usually drives them away. However, a visit from Cousin Helen shows her that she must either learn to make the best of her situation or risk losing her family's love. Helen tells Katy that she is now a student in the "School of Pain" where she will learn lessons in patience, cheerfulness, hopefulness, neatness, and making the best of things.
With Cousin Helen's help, Katy makes her room tidy and nice to visit and gradually all the children gravitate to it, coming in to see her whenever they can. She becomes the heart of the home, beloved by her family for her unfailing kindness and good cheer. After two years Aunt Izzie dies and Katy takes over the running of the household. At the end of four years, in a chapter called "At Last", she starts to walk again.
10% of the profit from the sale of this book is donated to charities.
KEYWORDS/TAGS: What Katy Did, Susan Coolidge, accident, active, adventures, Aunt Izzie, bad, barn, bed rest, beside, book, Bridget, bright child, Carr, Cecy, children, course, Cousin Helen, cried, Cry, crying, dear, Debby, Dorry, dreadful, Elsie, flowers, girl, great, hair, heart, Imogen, injury, John, Johnnie, Katy, Knight, lessons, little clover, Marianne, Mary, Miss, nice, nursery, Papa, paralysed, Paralyzed, people, Petingill, Philly, play, poor, pretty, rather, run, school, sofa, Spenser, stairs, strange, sweet, swing, tears, thought, tom boy, walk, window,