Swamp Tale Dives into Deep Waters

If there’s any place you travel that sparks your imagination, it’s the swamp lands of the South, and that’s exactly where author Tim Pompey chose to go for his latest book, Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm.

Aimed at readers grades three through five, it takes place in the heart of Florida at the Big Cypress Swamp.

The book integrates an environment that’s magical yet filled with animals and plant life that are native to the locale. Trolls, red alligators two-headed water moccasins. Swamp orchids, beauty berries, great blue herons. It’s hard to separate the real from the imagined in this story, but the magic of the tale comes from the swamp itself. If you search the Internet for pictures of the Big Cypress Swamp, you can just imagine so much more than water and trees.

Mrs. Parsley is an African-American woman living by herself in tiny Okafor, Florida, population 126. For decades she has been famous locally for sharing stories about the Big Cypress Swamp.

But after years of entertaining children, she is distressed that they have all grown up and moved away. Her only remaining friend is Mr. Otis Lotus, a black gardener with a knack for cheering her up with his company and his gifts.

Then one day, while Mrs. Parsley is having lunch at the local Swamp Nest diner, a friend from the past shows up. Once a child who sat eagerly at her feet, Terence Hollins returns to Okafor and invites her to go on an adventure into the Big Cypress Swamp to rescue children who are being kept prisoners at the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Mossel.

Mrs. Parsley is very well acquainted with the Mossels, having once been forced to live there as a small child and pick beauty berries for Mrs. Mossel’s pies.

Reluctantly, she decides to go with Terence, and the magic begins.

Pompey, who is noted for his adult fiction, picked this location precisely for its imaginary possibilities. “I wanted to write a children’s book that offered limitless possibilities without separating itself from the land where it happens,” he said. “I poured over several different places and fell accidentally on Big Cypress. I would call it a happy accident.”

Mrs. Parsley is available on Pompey’s author site:  www.amazon.com/author/booksbytimpompey. The paperback edition is $13, and the Kindle edition is $3.99. Contact him at [email protected] for any requests for book signings or for other information. He is also available to do readings from the book at stores, libraries, or schools.

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