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 started to write books to pay off her many debts. She wrote more than sixty books for adults and young adults, including The Doll’s House, Impunity Jane, The Greengage Summer, An Episode of Sparrows and The Mousewife.
Rumer Godden’s beautiful tale of a downtrodden mouse and her friendship with a caged dove is based on a story by Dorothy Wordsworth. William Pène du Bois’s elegant pen-and-ink drawings complement this meditation on love and freedom.
Neighborhood children—”the sparrows”—have been in search of “good, garden earth.” The Garden Committee thinks they have taken it from the private garden in the public square. Have they? An investigation leads to, among other things, a hidden garden.
“Eleanor Farjeon is a master at presenting the world as romance. Yet there is bite in it. Her worlds of imagination are no simpering constructions, all syrup and sugar, with fairies uprooted from their antique and awesome lineage. They are shadowed with weeping now and then, but the strongest note is affirmation, an exuberance of joy.” —The Horn Book