Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
This is the first published book of famed actress Julie Andrews. It tells the story of Mandy, a 10-year-old girl whose parents died when she was very young and who has lived in an orphanage most of her life. One day, while exploring, she climbs over the back wall bordering the orphanage and discovers a small cottage in the woods that is unoccupied. Longing for a home of her own, Mandy secretly begins cleaning up the cottage and its garden, buying flowers and seeds with her allowance and then borrowing materials from the orphanage and even stealing from the orphanage to get the materials she needs. Over the course of almost a year, Mandy makes a beautiful garden and manages to keep it a secret. But in time her secret is found out and she must face the consequences. Although the book has a predictable ending – Mandy is adopted by the couple who have purchases the estate on which the cottage is located – it is an appropriately happy ending for a children’s book. A sweet book about a child finding a family of her own to love that is written in a voice that is appropriate for primary grade children or reading aloud to younger children.