The Dragon in the Garden
Jimmy Stewart first went to school at 13. This novel tells of his problems with both the masters and the boys - his tangles with Fagso Brown, the gang-leader everyone was afraid of - and an adventure with high explosives and two near-drownings.
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||School Textbooks & Study Guides: Literature, Arts & Humanities
||Primary and secondary/elementary and high school
Description of this Book
M Books is a series of contemporary literature for children and teenagers. The books can be used as shared texts or as individual readers and are graded into five age ranges - from 7 to 14 plus for teacher guidance. This novel features Jimmy Stewart who first went to school at 13. It tells of his problems with both the masters and the boys - his tangles with Fagso Brown, the gang-leader everyone was afraid of - and an adventure with high explosives and two near-drownings. This book is aimed at the reluctant reader.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||Stiffly, stuffily, rebellion is contained and a bad 'un is redeemed in a story that has no story values. Take the title: the dragon in the garden intermittently symbolizes freedom; actually it's a fossil dinosaur found in a quarry by Jimmy Stewart during his first outing in the Middlesex town of Farley. A tangle with local bully Fagso Brown and one of his minions convinces Jimmy's potter father and artist mother that it's time Jimmy stop being tutored at home and go to school. After a day, he's had it: Fagso's tyranny over the boys is matched by the dour repression of the teachers. Fortunately for Jimmy, his father is enlightened, hulking and a Black Belt in judo. Rather than re-roach Jimmy for cutting school, he teaches him judo ( the weapon of the weak against the strong ) and encourages him to voice his protest - which is mouthed in adult terms ( You'd expect a school to be a happy place, wouldn't you? It's full of kids and if kids aren't happy, who is? ) and presented as formulations rather than immediate reactions ( I hadn't been... drilled to fit into their pattern of behavior ). With the waning of Fagso's power (Mr. Stewart belts him and faces down his father, Jimmy eventually throws him) comes the surfacing of good qualities in the teachers; even Jimmy's home room spoilsport turns out to be human. So is Fagso: Mr. Stewart discerns an artistic bent in that lump of clay and sets out to mold him into something useful. There's a rather smug, manipulative undertone to this throughout. (Kirkus Reviews)
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