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Lying awake at night Tom hears the old grandfather clock downstairs strike eleven twelve thirteen Thirteen When Tom gets up to investigate he discovers a magical garden A garden that everyone told him doesn't exist A garden that only he can enter A Carnegie Medal winning modern classic that's magically timeless

10 thoughts on “Tom's Midnight Garden

  1. says:

    I was surprised finding myself that I really liked this book This is my 98th book this year and just my 2nd children's fiction If this were not one of the children's books in the 501 Must Read Books I would not have picked this up Time Slip is used brilliantly in the plot that you don't know between the two main characters Tom or Hatty is the ghost and who is a real human being To give you an example in the movie Sixth Sense you know right away who are the ghosts because the boy character says I see dead people Here at first I thought Hatty was clearly the ghost until she described Tom and then I did not know any Then in the end there is another surprise but I will not tell you what as I do not want to spoil your readingThe final scene is the most heartwarming and moving scene in a children's book that I've so far encountered Prior to this my most moving scene was in the book Charlotte's Web 1952 specifically when the many baby spiders appear in the barn one morning while Charlotte the lady spider is explaining to Wilbur the pig the passing of time The difference between the two is that the characters in this book Tom and the elderly Hatty are real people so it is easy to identify with them They don't talk about anything profound like Charlotte and Wilbur but the revelation is so gripping that would not think that this book was published during the time when your parents were probably not born yet 1958The grandfather's clock ringing on the 13th hour is for me very imaginative The ice skater reminded me of the movie Somewhere in Time There are so many memorable elements in this book that had Pearce only used complex language this book could be for adults and maybe classified as either a book under sci fi or horror genres or maybe a fusion of those Or throw in a love story between Tom and Hatty and this could be good material for a romantic movieIntelligent writing Innovative plot Immensely imaginative Why is it that I am only reading these beautiful children's books now that I am past the mid point of my life here on earth? Mind you don't underestimate the children's books Sometimes they are even complex and engaging than other popular bestsellers written with adult readers in mind

  2. says:

    English manor homes seem to inspire a certain kind of time travel story They are usually dream like and include a friendship across the ages The only caveat the protagonist from the present is usually unable to alter past events Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce fits perfectly in this category and it's one of my favorite examplesTom Long the present day that being probably the 1950s protagonist is sent away to his aunt and uncle's flat while his brother recovers at home from the measles The flat of course was once a manor house and has sometime in the last fifty years been dived up into apartments The only clue to the house's history is an old grandfather clock that keeps perfect time but chimes at randomThe clock is also the key for Tom to travel back in time to the Victorian era where he meets a girl about his age named Hatty Harriet Melbourne As the summer progresses Hatty grows up Tom's goal during his short stay with his aunt and uncle is to learn the secret of the clock and to find out what happened to his friend HattyTom's Midnight Garden is a short but extremely satisfying novel It is tightly plotted and populated with interesting and believable characters When the book ended I was both happy to have enjoyed the book and sad to say goodbye to Tom and Hatty Of course I was partial to Hatty having a Harriet of my own But even without that personal connection I would have loved the novelIf you like this sort of time travel story you might also enjoy A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley The House on the Strand Daphne du Maurier Reuiem for the Author of Frankenstein Molly Dwyer review coming November 26th

  3. says:

    I read this book 10 years ago and it still haunts meTom is forced to stay with aunt and uncle for the holidays He hates the no garden ness of their city flat and a cranky old landlady who lives in the attic One night the old grandfather clock downstairs struck 13 Tom is led to open the back door and he finds a blooming and live garden which he learns later isn't there during the daytimeIn the garden world time stood still for him He befriends Hattie a girl as lonely as he is But why is time skipping each night he visits there? Sometimes it's summer sometimes it's winter sometimes Hattie is very young sometimes she is nearly a young womanAfter reading the summary above maybe you think this is a ghost story At first that's what I thought but it turns out to be not like that What I love about this book is how time and reality all seemed just a blur The author weaves Tom's day life with his life in the midnight garden deftly In his day life Tom struggled to find the explanation to the garden Things are going bad to his mind when his stay at his aunt and uncle is nearly over and he found he didn't want to leave the midnight garden nor let it changeCarnegie Medal Winner 1958

  4. says:

    45 STARSA truly magical story entertaining for kids and adults alike The beauty of this book is how you can allow your imagination to run away with you just as Tom does I will for sure pass this story probably this exact book because THAT COVER THOUGH and it has cute illustrations onto my kids as I think it's a great classic kids story I know this story well I had the audio book on tape yes tape I am 21 kids when I was a little girl but it was an abridged radio play dramatization style so it was such a luxury to be able to actually read the words as if for the first time again It was a great nostalgia trip and I found myself feeling the tension I felt when I was tiny WISHING Tom to go back to the garden and other such spoilery things A true delight if you're a grown up like me pick it up read it love it and hang onto it for your kidsI knocked of5 of a star because THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SERIES Imagine it Tom spending entire summers there growing up and still going back maybe falling in love in the garden? I'm thinking a NarniaFamous Five vibe This story is SO good that I'm rating it down for only being 227 pages longAlso Aunt Gwen is SO annoying and whiny so yeah5 offThis book is guaranteed to put a smile on your face

  5. says:

    All this time I thought I had already added it to the shelf This is a true children's classic It is a beautiful haunting evocative story of childhood growing up adulthood and old age It's also unbearably sad in a happy kind of way if that makes sense It's the story of life As a child and a teenager I used to have dreams about the Midnight garden so did last night The story is about how two lonely children a liitle boy named Tom and a little girl named Hattie found each other's worlds and shared their lives The ending never fails to move me to tears I recommend it highly

  6. says:

    Did I just cry through the entire admittedly short last chapter of a children's book? Seriously????OK let's get the preliminaries out of the way first This is very much a period piece and for better or worse and I can't imagine my now grown kids having got through this or for that matter sitting through the first few chapters of the book even if someone was reading it to them For kids who grew up with or even so traveled with video games and video game consoles and DVD players or VCR's and yes the Internet well it's a bridge too far And sure my kids are and were very much urbansuburbanites so the fascination and satisfaction with or interest in a garden just doesn't resonate But ultimately that's just the by today's standards painfully slow opening gambit Also this is no Time Traveler's Wife a personal favorite even though that was the book that kept popping into my mind as I read this Obviously it's a children's book; as noted above it's extremely dated; I must admit I didn't love the prose by modern standards it's heavy and stilted and not just British but formalstuffy to the point of distractionBut but but if you can get through the first third which I admit was plodding and off putting than I expected it slowly starts to grow on you And it's worth it because it's a slender volume again it was written for kids so as you get towards the final portions the mosaic starts to assemble and the heart of the piece begins to expose itself And the end well as predictable as it is OK OK it was written for kids not adult sleuths raised on a broad range and healthy diet of whodunits is sublime? precious? touching? appropriate? ultimately very nicely doneIn any event this was a book I'd been hearing about forever Many authors refer back to it for a host of reasons and many describe it as a formative work although frankly others suggest the hype even at the time was overrated so I finally got my hands on a copy I have a hard time grasping how it became so popular in the 1950's and 1960's but kid's books and literature were different It is what it is Nor do I have any recollection of my parents reading it to me or reading it myself Nor have I seen any of the three 3 ??? BBC adaptations the movie or the stage performance But here's my point this clearly resonated with an entire generation of Brits and plenty of others as well regardless of how it stood the test of time Random observation It's kind of funny reading this in 2019 when sadly inexplicably maddeningly a significant segment of our society seems willing to tolerate if not facilitate the return of measles to the public consciousness I'm guessing that until the news stories of the recent outbreaks my kids had never given a moment's thought to measles didn't know anyone other than their parents of course who had contracted measles or could envision the concept of family separation or isolation due to measles uarantine But who knows? Maybe and I fervently hope this is not the case the next generation will be familiar sympathetic and empathetic to kids with measles as the disease again gains traction and returns to the mainstream Alas

  7. says:

    I have been trying to read children's fiction books like this because I think that it is not the time for me to read heavy books that are harder to read I just think that I need to refrain from reading those kinds of books for a while because their darker themes are not really something I want to read about when I am stressed out from schoolSo I decided to read this book I think that it is a very delightful book It is a good book to read when the days are getting wearisome It is what people would call a light and easy read But it is also a fun book because there are twists and turns that just make you want to read on I definitely recommend this to anyone whether they are stressed out like me or not The story of Tom and his midnight garden is a wonderful story that anyone will enjoy

  8. says:

    This children's classic one of the most beloved Carnegie Medal winners of all time will probably be my last read of 2017 I read it finally because Penelope Lively praised it so highly in her recent gardening memoir Life in the Garden Lively considers it to be far superior to The Secret Garden that other wonderful children's classic set in a garden I don't know that I agree with her but I will acknowledge that I fell in love with Burnett's novel as a child and I think that can really make a difference But part of what she objected to is the fact that the idea of a garden as a place for healing is too 'obviously loaded with meaning' in The Secret Garden Although I don't agree with Lively on this point I do like what she has to say about this bookBut above all it is a narrative of great elegance simply told and leaving you with insights into the nature of time and memory Penelope Lively There is a time travel aspect to the storyline but the 1950s setting of Tom will feel nearly as 'historical' to contemporary readers as the 1890s setting of Hatty It does capture something very universal though about children's play about imagination about growing up and about the mysteries of timePhilip Pullman claims that 'the ending is the best in all children's fiction' and I have to agree that it is wholly satisfying both because it ties up all of the thematic threads in an emotionally satisfying way and because it is a delightful surprise

  9. says:

    Sent to stay with his Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen when his brother has the measles Tom Long is bitterly disappointed and unhappy at the prospect of a dismal holiday spent at their flat which takes up one floor of an old Victorian house Lying awake late at night he is puzzled when he hears the grandfather clock in the lobby striking thirteen and going downstairs to investigate he slips out of the house and into a mysterious garden that was not there during the daytime As it transpires Tom has slipped into the past into the Victorian age when the house was still a great mansion Here in this midnight garden he meets and befriends Hatty an orphaned girl come to stay in the house and one of the only people in the past who can see him They have many wonderful times together in the garden but all things must come to an end and one night Tom finds that he can no longer enter the midnight garden he can no longer travel to the past In despair he thinks that he has lost Hatty But has he? A haunting and brilliant tale Tom's Midnight Garden is a book I first encountered as a young girl reading it loving it and then despite its story staying with me through the years forgetting its title I can remember many times thinking of that odd enchanted story I used to love about the boy the grandfather clock that struck thirteen and the nighttime garden This was before computers were ubiuitous and I wasn't sure how to track it down I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me to ask a children's librarian but in any case I happened across it by accident one day in my early twenties snapped it up and reread it It was like coming home Originally published in 1958 Tom's Midnight Garden won the Carnegie Medal that year and it is not difficult to see why It is an almost perfect book addressing the pain of childhood the joy and difficulty of friendship and the nature of time and of dreaming in perceptive sensitive ways The conclusion in which Tom discovers that old Mrs Bartholomew who is his aunt and uncle's landlady is view spoileractually Hatty grown old hide spoiler

  10. says:

    It has been several years since I last read this beautifully enchanting and somewhat haunting time slip tale about childhood friendship adolescence and the ocean swept passages of timeThis being not only my favourite time travel book but perhaps my favourite stand alone novel of all time I thought its about time I wrote a little something about it To be honest I'm triggered to writing this in a hope of promoting its position in a poll for our next time travel book of the month group read See just as our protagonist 12 year old Tom longs to share his discoveries of the Midnight Garden with his sick bed ridden friend I long to share this book with others around meOne of the many reasons for its ultimate impact is that it has the most profoundly moving revelation last act that brings the whole journey to an emotional crescendoWhen I was a young early teen reading this I would relate to the protagonist Tom and his mission to play having been dispatched to boring uncle and aunt for the summer to avoid catching measles from his bed ridden little brother at home Knowing how important it was to make the most of the summer holiday to play I would feel for his plight and hope he finds this midnight garden uickly that the book title promises and so I would be enchanted at his magical discovery and the intriguing new found friendship in a girl called Hattie Then I would be bewildered at where the main story was going exactly yet still be enraptured in the journey and then be stunned by its powerful conclusion At the time the book became one of my instant favourites despite my love for fast pace action adventures and fantasiesHowever as an adult the book resonates in a much different way deeper layers emerge about childhood innocence growing up and reflections on the passing phases of time both good and bad Most of all I marvel at how so well written this is how the narrative effortlessly sweeps along with haunting effect and how wonderfully clever the time travel plot device had been woven in What is masterful about the narrative is how you know what is going on with some of the characters and their thoughts without the book spelling it out Its all in the expressions and that's where the narrative's power lies Though this book is written for YA I feel adults would most likely pick up on these deeper unspoken layersThere isnt much to criticise about this book at all Just know this is a gentle paced novel with a uintessentially English setting It is a masterpiece of young adult literature but as the cliché goes this is a timeless book for readers of all ages Its not long only 240 pages So friends take a tiny break from your modern fiction your fast paced thrillers schools for wizards vampires spaceships or shades of grey For the next 2 3 days let this book sweep you back in time a time of simplicity innocence enchantment and poignant reflection then prepare to dab at your eyes for the knock out revelation ending 55