An Episode of Sparrows

Rumer Godden (Author)


An emergency meeting of the Mortimer Square Garden Committee has been convened to discuss a most alarming matter: Someone has been digging in the garden and making off with buckets of dirt. Miss Angela Chesney is sure that a gang of boys from run-down Catford Street is to blame. But Angela's sister, Olivia, isn't so sure. Olivia has always wondered why the neighborhood children--the "sparrows" she sometimes watches from the window of her house--are kept out of the private 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, rich 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.

Product Details

$13.99  $12.87
Nyrb Kids
Publish Date
May 10, 2016
5.2 X 0.7 X 7.6 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Rumer Godden (1907-1998) grew up in India, where her father ran a steamship company. When her husband left her penniless in Calcutta with two daughters to raise, she turned to writing to pay off her many debts. She wrote over sixty books for adults and young adults, including The Doll's House, Impunity Jane, and The Greengage Summer.


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

"I'm amazed now at the depth and detail of this short novel. 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.... 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, former Children's Laureate, United Kingdom

"[An] 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 Godden here tries her deft writing hand at landscaping a child's heart."--Time

"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 Magazine

"Rumer Godden's work needs no praise. Her place in the literary world is high and secure. But perhaps one may say that in none of her books are her profound understanding and light touch more skillfully combined than in this poignant, tender, and subtly strong Episode of Sparrows."--Christian Science Monitor