- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Format: Hardback | 350 pages
- Dimensions: 142mm x 213mm x 36mm | 544g
- Publication date: 20 May 2014
- ISBN 10: 141971144X
- ISBN 13: 9781419711442
- Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
- Sales rank: 114,436
This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier's exceptional debut, "Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes," is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it's also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling. "The Night Gardener" follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier's exquisite command of language, "The Night Gardener" is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making. Praise for "The Night Gardener" STARRED REVIEWS "Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message, Auxier's atmospheric drawings and touches of humor amid the horror make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget." --"Kirkus Reviews," starred review "Storytelling and the secret desires of the heart wind together in this atmospheric novel that doubles as a ghost tale." --"School Library Journal," starred review "Auxier achieves an ideal mix of adventure and horror, offering all of it in elegant, atmospheric language that forces the reader to slow down a bit and revel in both the high-quality plot and the storytelling itself." --"Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books" "All proper scary stories require a spooky, menacing atmosphere, and Auxier (Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes) delivers the goods with his precise descriptions of the gothic setting and teasing hints of mystery and suspense." --"The Horn Book Magazine" Summer 2014 Kids' Indie Next List
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Jonathan Auxier teaches creative writing and children's literature. He is the author of "Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes," which the "Wall Street Journal" called "as delightful a magical story as readers ages 9-14 will hope to find." He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter. You can visit him online at thescop.com.
By Wayne S. Walker 26 May 2014
It is sometime in the 1850s. Two red-headed, Irish children, fourteen year old Molly McConnachie and her ten year old lame brother Kip, from County Donegal, had left Ireland with their parents for a new life during the potato famine. However, something happened to wreck the ship, and Molly and Kip found themselves in an orphanage without their Da and Ma. Molly has been comforting Kip with her storytelling ability. They sneaked away and have come to Cedar Hollow, England, where Molly lands them jobs, she as a maid and Kip as a gardener, at the old Windsor estate in the Ã¢??Sourwoods.Ã¢?? They meet the master of the house, Mr. Bertrand Windsor, his wife Constance, and their two children, Alistair and Penelope Eleanor or Penny.
However, things are not right. The children hear stories about an ancient curse and a mysterious spectre. The house looks as if it is haunted. There is an ugly tree growing right up beside it and actually right into it. The woods surrounding the place have no birds. The Windsors all appear to be sickly. Mr. Windsor seems to have financial problems. Strange men come around asking for money. And something very sinister and eerie is going on at night. Will Molly and Kip be all right? Or will something bad happen to them? And will they ever find their parents? The Night Gardener is said to be the Ã¢??much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan AuxierÃ¢??s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes,Ã¢?? which I have not read but is about a blind ten year old orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery and one fateful afternoon steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher that contains three pairs of magical eyes. It apparently bears no direct relationship to The Night Gardener.
As to language, one common euphemism (drat) occurs and the term Ã¢??bloody hellÃ¢?? is found once. Some references to drinking wine and ale and smoking tobacco are found. And there are two or three rather violent deaths. Thus, it might not be appropriate for especially sensitive readers, but there is nothing that most parents would find majorly objectionable. The book is said to be Ã¢??a Victorian ghost storyÃ¢?? with shades of Ray Bradbury, Washington Irving, Frances Hodgson Burnett, J. M. Barrie, and even Henry James. Yet, it is more. It is also a cautionary moral fable about human greed, the dangers of lying, and the power of storytelling. Young people who enjoy spooky stories with a gothic-like setting, a creepy plot, a menacing atmosphere, and memorable characters will like this book.