New York : Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1972. First Edition. Hardcover. 186 pages ; 21 cm. $4.95 dust jacket. One long tape strip residue at the front free endpaper. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
An Older Kind of magic
This is a Roman candle of a story, starting with a quiet fizz and exploding in colored stars at the end. It begins simply, with three Australian children who want to save the Botanical Gardens of downtown Sydney from being turned into a parking lot. But then the author of A Racecourse for Andy, in a magnificent blend of fantasy and reality, brings together the three children, a money-loving businessman who wants to destroy the Gardens, an expert in the pseudo-magic of advertising who suddenly discovers unexpected powers, and the "little people" of Aboriginal legend—the Pot-Kooroks, Nyols, and Net-Nets. Nothing is quite what it seems, and the everyday and the mysterious become inextricably mixed. A stone eagle moves his wings on command, an ancient spell guaranteed "To Call a Toad to Your Hand" really works, and shopwindow mannequins form a protest march—all on one strange, exciting night when a comet that appears only once every thousand years gives new life to an older kind of magic.
Patricia Wrightson feels that although we are growing very wise, there are still things at the edge of our vision that we only half understand. In this marvelous evocation of the mysterious, she calls forth the strong, primitive magic that continues unsuspected in the land itself—despite the spires of glass and steel that are heaped on top of it.
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