Leon's favourite tree, the old Crooked Oak, is said to be haunted by the Mad Mangler, a washerwoman who mangles her victims. The tree is kidnapped by SAS-type men and taken to the home of an old rock star, Goldilocks. Leon and Leather Girl search for the tree and witness the arrival of an ancient African baobab which is used as a village bus stop - a small boy and Levi, an elderly fruit bat are still inside! The mystery of the tree kidnapping deepens as the Mad Mangler and other strange characters arrive. All ends happily as the Mad Mangler is introduced to the modern washing machine and Levi's bat poo solves Goldilocks baldness!
Susan Gates has written books for a very wide age range. RAIDER, a novel for older readers, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Fiction Award, and her younger novel, BEWARE THE KILLER COAT, won the Sheffield Children's Book Award. Susan lives in County Durham.