Jun 1, 2016

Tom's Midnight Garden

by Philippa Pearce

I really enjoyed this story. Tom is sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle when his brother has the measles. His aunt and uncle live in a small flat, part of a larger house. There is very little to entertain Tom- the small walled yard has only dustbins and a parked, and he can't go out because he might be contagious. He thinks he's going to die of boredom until he makes a wonderful discovery. When the grandfather clock downstairs chimes thirteen, the back door opens into a vast, manicured garden. Pretty soon Tom is sneaking out every night to explore the garden. He meets other children there, catches glimpses of the gardener and a few adult members of this other household. Only one little girl can see him, and they strike up a friendship. Eventually Tom puzzles out that the children in the garden are from the Victorian era, and also that time moves differently for them. His life becomes so enmeshed in the happenings of the garden that he never wants to leave it.

Funny, if you think about it this book is something of a mystery. Who are the other kids in the garden? where do they come from? why can't they all see Tom? is he a ghost in their world- or are the Victorian children all ghosts themselves? It all comes together neatly in the end. I didn't find it sad like some other readers, I rather liked the ending. Very well written, believable characters and lots of interesting stuff to think about time, aging, how relationships change... Definitely one I'd read again, or put into my kids' hands.

Borrowed from the public library.

Rating: 4/5        229 pages, 1958

more opinions:
Charlotte's Library
Tip of the Iceberg
Cornflower Books
Books Under Skin


bermudaonion said...

This sounds very different from what I normally read.

Jeane said...

Well, it is a rather outdated children's book. But I can see why it's considered a classic, too.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I shame-facedly confess that although this book was on my bookshelf the entire time I was growing up, I never once read it. I think I tried it once or twice and wasn't hooked and didn't finish, but I may be thinking of Midnight Is a Place, which I canNOT keep straight in my head from this one.

Actually, I've got a vacation coming up, so maybe I'll finally sit myself down and read this properly. My family would be thrilled, they all love it. :p

Jeane said...

I never heard of Midnight is a Place. Looked it up, and I can see how memory would get the two confused! If you read Tom's M Garden, I will be eager to see what you think of it.