Orphan Samantha is sent to live with her aunt, Lady Clandorris, who lives in a thoroughly dilapidated mansion mirroring her own unloved and gloomy life. Samantha is proud to be living in what she considers her ancestral home. Yet she’s reckoned without Lady Clandorris’ hostility towards her and humankind in general. Their relationship gets off to a shaky start, made all the more precarious by the unexpected appearance in the kitchen of a curious wide-eyed creature with a long furry tale, feathered wings and two webbed feet. It is, she discovers, a bogwoppit, an animal assumed extinct, and one of many that come up through the drains from the outside pond. Samantha finds the creature appealing and wants to care for it. But Lady Clandorris is determined to be rid of it – and of her niece, too.
This novel is as enjoyable now as when it was published more than 30 years ago. Weaving humour, fantasy and suspense into a highly inventive story, its eco theme and larger-than-life characters ensure its popularity with today’s young readers. With a new foreword and the original drawings by Shirley Hughes, it’s a great pleasure to see this title by a gifted storyteller back in print.