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By Patricia Wrightson

Selina, Rupert and Benny live in different surroundings to most children their age. Instead of a small, fenced backyard, the Botanical Gardens and the labyrinth of Sydney’s narrow streets is their playground. Life is seemingly normal for them, until they uncover plans for part of the Botanical Gardens to be taken away to make way for a carpark. They have to try and stop it, but how? Just when they think that there is no hope, a little magic comes their way.

The class class had mixed feelings about this book. Some students found the descriptions of the mystical creatures and the magical occurrences very exciting, while others thought that the book needed some humour. A few students commented that they were disappointed because it seemed as though the book was building up to something really exciting happening, and what happened turned out to be somewhat of an anticlimax. The students did have some strong opinions about what they thought of part of the Botanical Gardens being taken away to build a carpark. The following are some letters that the students wrote in protest to the carpark being built:

Dear Sir Mortimer,

               I don’t think you should destroy the gardens because the city needs to have trees and plants to make oxygen and shade. People like to have picnics next to the pond and other places in the gardens. You will create pollution because more cars will come. If you cared about the people you would see that most of us like the gardens being there. (Fynn & Amber)

Dear Sir Mortimer,
               We want to keep the Botanical Gardens. I know you might not want to listen to children but the flowers and trees have lived there longer than you. How would you feel if someone took your home away? You should be ashamed of yourself! It is the heart of the city and the trees give us air. What would you do without trees and flowers? More people will come to the city because of how beautiful it is, and you would make more money because more people would be coming. ( Naomi)




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