Peaceborough Town has a unique treasure, the garden of St. Mungo’s School. It was started over forty years ago by Mr. Percival Sweet, teacher and saint, but Mr. Sweet is with the angels now and his beautiful school garden is threatened with destruction, doomed to become a car park for the local shopping mall. If it belonged to the school all would be well, but it doesn’t, it belongs to Horace Blackwell, owner of the Shoe Polish Factory next door who aims to sell the garden for a deliciously huge pile of cash…
Age Range: 8+
Size: 198mm x 129mm
Format: ‘B’ paperback
Word Count: 50,000
Second Edition: 2010
Magnolia saw it at once, a brand new species of bird, breeding away in the St. Mungo School Garden, looking after its colourful little children, the phoenix in an urban jungle.
“True, wise little Dmetrius. But we aren’t wrong. You have fallen into the adult world here, children, and at the moment you are on the side of right.”
“But miss…Wilba,” said Magnolia, “if the garden belongs to Mr. Brightwell, we aren’t right. He can do what he likes with it, can’t he?”
Wilba stood, then paced up and down.
“Indeed, indeed, indeed. Now that side of it, I want you to leave to me. I need to do some digging of my own, and I will. But meanwhile, what you all have to do is create some kind of distraction that gets lots of people interested.”
“Like what, Wilba?” Nat asked. “We only got a hundred names on a petition, and nobody answered our letters. Nobody’s interested, and even if they were, they’ll think Mr. Brightwell’s right and we’re wrong.”
“Not necessarily, my pessimistic Nathaniel…”
Wilba hung up. She really could not be bothered with these new-fangled, totally annoying message systems. They were designed solely to make people lose their temper and give up. She put on her coat and made her way to the offices of the city hall.
“Which department do I have to go to,” she asked the receptionist, “if I need to check the Deeds of ownership?”
“Business or residential?”
“Room 34. Third Floor.”
‘That was easy’, Wilba thought as she took the lift to the third floor. ‘Can’t be this straightforward.’
The lift doors opened and there were two arrows on the wall, one pointing to the left for Rooms 30 to 34, the other to the right for Rooms 35 to 39. Wilba turned left.
Room 34 had a notice on the door which simply read ‘Reception. Please Enter.’ So she did.
Prissy watched all this with horror, Horace watched it with resignation and Bryson with anger. The last thing any of them wanted was attention being drawn to their little scam, and yet the whole world was now looking at them. When they’d got together, the garden was a small, tucked away patch, ignored by everyone except a few crazy children – now every home in the land and many homes beyond the land were tuning in to see how the butterflies were shaping up, if the aphids were doing any damage, whether the bulbs planted last year were seeing daylight and above and worst of all, whether there was any news on the closure.
The author was recommended to my young niece by a friend of hers. Although I am nowhere near being in the target audience for Mr Delmonte’s books, I picked it up whilst on a visit to my niece’s and read the book at one sitting. The characters’ names have a Dickensian ring to them (Magnolia Roundtree) and even the unpleasant people are vaguely endearing. This is definitely the sort of book I would have read as a child and it’s only a pity that he wasn’t writing them all those years ago. I have borrowed the book to share with some much younger people as I know they will enjoy it too. (Amazon: Right click and open in new tab)
Dear Magnolia, We have laughed wept and wondered at your story . It is exciting , inspiring and wise . Also extremely well written , we have been reading it out loud to each other and think it would work extremely well as a n audio book or as a Tv for kids . Tell Ellis we have nearly got to the end reading it aloud though © wants him to know that she has already finished it on her own and wept buckets and thinks it is one of the best kids books she has ever read . Honestly !!!! xxxxxxx all of us …[Devon, U.K]
This was our second book, and still one of the funniest and favourites. In my mind’s eye I see a wonderful, topical TV series – but my vision is shared by shadows alone.