Lucy Willow. By Sally Gardner. Orion Children's Books pound;8.99
What a wonderful school-holiday family film or children's serial Lucy Willow would make. Great opportunities for adult character acting, as well as for a new star to make their name as young Lucy, the girl with a pet snail and a magic touch in her green fingers.
The Willow family live in three carriages of a train that shuttles back and forth between Liverpool Street and Maldon-in-the-Marsh. It is a mark of the assured matter-of-fact tone throughout that the reader is perfectly willing to suspend disbelief and accept that the family have to attune their comings and goings to the train timetable, Mr Willow getting off at Liverpool Street to go to his job in the City, Lucy getting off at Maldon for school.
When the rail company is taken over by an American firm who decide to close the route, the Willows become embroiled in an exciting cut-throat battle between two plant nurseries.
Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex