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The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Night Gardener (edition 2015)

by Jonathan Auxier (Author)

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1,2676315,472 (4.05)15
Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.
Title:The Night Gardener
Authors:Jonathan Auxier (Author)
Info:Puffin Canada (2015), 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier


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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
A thoroughly enjoyable read. The atmosphere is spooky (as opposed to true horror) and perfect for Halloween, despite being set in the springtime. The characters are rich and sympathetic, and Auxier really drives home the idea that needs and wants can be a terrible burden, despite appearances. ( )
  Library_Guard | Jun 17, 2024 |
After becoming separated from their parents during their overseas journey from Ireland, Molly and Kip arrive as domestic help at a creepy, isolated house in the forest. The family, a couple with two children, seems a little off, and they act awfully secretive about the locked green door on the second floor. Most unsettling of all, however, are the shadowy figure glimpsed in the darkness and the heavy footsteps Molly and Kip hear each night whose muddy prints are discovered on the floors in the morning.

I selected this book to fulfill the category "a middle grade horror novel" in this year's Read Harder challenge. The writing is decent, but I never really got invested in the story so it felt a bit of a chore to get through. I'd probably recommend it to a kid looking for a spooky story, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  ryner | Apr 3, 2024 |
After being separated from their parents by a shipwreck, Molly and Kip travel to the spooky “sour woods” to work for the Windsor family. The branches and roots of a huge tree grow into the walls and ceilings of the house. Each morning, Molly cleans muddy shoe prints and sweeps leaves from the hallways. Molly and Kip discover that these are left by a mysterious man who comes to the house every night to tend the tree. Molly and Kip notice other distressing things. Each night, everyone in the house suffers from terrible nightmares that are connected to the Night Gardener’s visits. And each morning, Mr. and Mrs. Windsor and their children are sicker and more despondent. Even Molly, who sleeps in the house, is affected as her red hair and green eyes turn black. The logical thing would be for them all to leave, but the tree holds them by giving each of them the one thing they most desire. Can Molly and Kip find a way to break the spell and save the Windsors before it is too late?
©2024 Kathy Maxwell at https://bookskidslike.com ( )
  kathymariemax | Feb 5, 2024 |
A delightfully spooky story that manages to intrigue, but does not leave a scary phantom in my brain. The main characters are plucky, but able to make mistakes and learn from them. ( )
  mslibrarynerd | Jan 13, 2024 |
I really loved the first 90% of this book, and then felt a little let down by the ending. It's not that the ending was bad, but I had built up certain expectations during my reading that weren't met. I don't think it's quite a spoiler to say that I wanted to know so much more about the Night Gardener himself. As I've said in many a review, a shallowly developed villain character always gets my goat. If an author takes the time to flesh out the villain, to give him a compelling back story, it takes a book to the next level (Voldemort, am I right?).

Still, it's a great scary read for kids. The mood reminded me of the fabulous [b:Splendors and Glooms|13531021|Splendors and Glooms|Laura Amy Schlitz|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1360096699s/13531021.jpg|19092689], but is more likely to gain a wider readership because it's not as dense or stylized.

I'd love to share this with my young readers club someday because Molly, Kip, Penny, and Alistair are all such interesting kids. It would be great to hear what the kids think about how they change and what motivates them. Also, the quote about the difference between stories and lies (stories reveal the truth and lies hide the truth) has a lot to unpack.

Also, in closing, I must say that this is basically Faust for kids. (Only Faust is a tree.) ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)



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Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe.
—John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1

We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
For Mary
Halloo! my fancie,
whither wilt thou go?
First words
The calendar said early March, but the smell in the air said late October.
Quote from Hester on page 207 about stories:
"There's tales, which are light and fluffy.  Good for a smile on a sad day.
Then you got yarns, which are showy - yarns reveal more about the teller than the story.
After that there's myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people.
And last of all, there's legends. . . Legends are different from the rest on account of no one knows where they start.  Folks don't tell legends; they repeat them.  Over and again through history."
"You sure it's smart to go back there?" he said.
"I'm sure it's not." Molly reached down and squeezed his hand. "But there's what's smart and what's right."
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Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

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