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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Kids
ISBN: 9781590179932
Pages: 256
Publication Date: October 31, 2004

An Episode Of Sparrows

by Rumer Godden


A much-loved English novel reminiscent of The Secret Garden

Someone has dug up the private garden in the square and taken buckets of dirt, and Miss Angela Chesney of the Garden Committee is sure that a gang of boys from run-down Catford Street must be to blame. But Angela’s sister Olivia isn’t so sure. Olivia wonders why the neighborhood children—the sparrows—she sometimes watches from the window of her house —have to be locked out of the garden. Don’t they have a right to enjoy the place, too? But neither Angela nor Olivia has any idea what sent the neighborhood waif Lovejoy Mason and her few friends in search of —good, garden earth.— Still less do they imagine where their investigation of the incident will lead them—to a struggling restaurant, a bombed-out church, and at the heart of it all, a hidden garden.

by Rumer Godden


It’s a masterpiece of construction and utterly, realistically convincing — though it has a fairytale element too. Rumer Godden’s books are admired for many qualities...but I think her greatest strength is her accurate, unsentimental portrayal of children. Lovejoy, Tip and Sparkey were so real to me that they have stayed alive in my head for more than 50 years...An Episode of Sparrows was the first book that made me cry when I was ten. I cried all over again at this recent reading of the story — and I closed the book with the same sense of total satisfaction.
—Jacqueline Wilson, New Spectator

It would be impossible for a reader not to feel better from reading the story...her rich understanding of human nature, her humor and her beautiful prose inevitably leave one aglow.
Chicago Tribune

...[A]n extraordinarily gifted writer who manages to infuse her novels with a special magic of their own.
Boston Herald

May well prove the book of the year for those who are not ashamed to weep over the printed page...author Godden here tries her deft writing hand at landscaping a child's heart.

It is a sentimental tale, well told, with an unlikely and entirely satisfactory ending.
The New Yorker

It has a dizzying cast of characters, radiating out from the inhabitants of a once-genteel London residential square to the residents of the teeming commercial streets beyond.
The Horn Book

A gentle, poignant story, poetically conceived with a fairy godmother ending. Recommended for all...
Library Journal