The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener

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Annotation: 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. Soon, they face a mysterious stranger and the secrets of the cursed house.
Catalog Number: #97415
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2015
Pages: 350 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-71531-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-85925-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-71531-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-85925-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013047655
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Auxier's second novel is part morality play, part ghost story, and all enthralling. Molly and Kip are Irish orphans seeking employment in England after their parents die in a shipwreck. Brave, quick-thinking Molly is solicitous of her younger disabled brother, and she feels guilty because she has managed to hide the truth about their parents' death from him, spinning yarns about their travels and promising they will all be together soon. Molly finds them work as servants in a distinctly creepy, isolated country manor where a huge tree growing into the house is casting a spell over the inhabitants, among other mysterious goings-on. Auxier, like Molly, is a born storyteller, and he weaves a tale that will keep readers glued to the page. The outcomes may be expected, but the journeys are riveting, while the predictability conjures the comfort and satisfaction of a classic fairy tale.
Horn Book
During the Irish Potato Famine, siblings Molly and Kip land in England at the once-proud Windsor family's stately but decrepit mansion, which appears to exert a malevolent force on its inhabitants. Auxier delivers a spooky, menacing atmosphere; mystery; and suspense. While the book partakes of familiar tropes and themes, there's enough of a fresh spin on them that readers should be captivated.
Kirkus Reviews
Replete with engaging figurative language and literary allusions to works ranging from the Bible to Paradise Lost, Auxier's creepy Victorian ghost story is an allegory on greed and the power of stories. Fourteen-year-old Molly and her younger brother, Kip, orphans fleeing the Irish famine, seek work in England. The destitute siblings become servants at the Windsor estate, at the center of which is a decrepit house entwined with a huge and sinister tree. Although warned that this place contains something ominous that changes people, they are unprepared for the evil they encounter. The master, mistress and their two children grow pale and thin; their eyes and hair blacken. Entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree—a knothole that produces whatever one wishes for (money, jewels, sweets). The price is a piece of the petitioner's soul. Muddy footprints and dead leaves in the house attest to an evil nocturnal visitor, the titular Night Gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from their nightmare-ridden brows to water the tree. In a heart-stopping climax, Molly and Kip attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse. Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message, Arrasmith's atmospheric drawings and touches of humor amid the horror make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget. (Fantasy. 10-14)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 4&11;6&12; Storytelling and the secret desires of the heart wind together in this atmospheric novel that doubles as a ghost tale. Irish immigrants to England, Molly and Kip make their way to the Windsor house in search of employment. The great house stands in the shadow of a menacing tree, which locals speak of only in fearful whispers. Despite her young age and the warnings of a local storyteller, Molly uses the power of her own words to secure work, but soon realizes that all is not right in the house. Constance, Bertrand, Penny, and Alistair Windsor each struggle with personal demons, and strange footprints appear at night. A malevolent spirit, the Night Gardener, haunts the estate, dooming its inhabitants with foul dreams while the tree grants wishes to entrap the recipients. Molly and Kip must face their own dark secrets to release the Gardener's hold and end his evil enchantments. Auxier gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension. Molly's whimsical tales illustrate life's essential lessons even as they entertain. As the characters face the unhealthy pull of the tree's allurements, they grow and change, revealing unexpected personality traits. Storytelling as a force to cope with life's challenges is subtly expressed and adds complexity to the fast-paced plot. Readers of Mary Downing Hahn or Peg Kehret's ghost novels will connect with the supernatural elements and the independent child protagonists of Auxier's tale of things that go bump in the night.&12; Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Replete with engaging figurative language and literary allusions to works ranging from the Bible to Paradise Lost, Auxier's creepy Victorian ghost story is an allegory on greed and the power of stories. Fourteen-year-old Molly and her younger brother, Kip, orphans fleeing the Irish famine, seek work in England. The destitute siblings become servants at the Windsor estate, at the center of which is a decrepit house entwined with a huge and sinister tree. Although warned that this place contains something ominous that changes people, they are unprepared for the evil they encounter. The master, mistress and their two children grow pale and thin; their eyes and hair blacken. Entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree—a knothole that produces whatever one wishes for (money, jewels, sweets). The price is a piece of the petitioner's soul. Muddy footprints and dead leaves in the house attest to an evil nocturnal visitor, the titular Night Gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from their nightmare-ridden brows to water the tree. In a heart-stopping climax, Molly and Kip attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse. Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message, Arrasmith's atmospheric drawings and touches of humor amid the horror make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget. (Fantasy. 10-14)
Voice of Youth Advocates
Orphans Molly and Kip have traveled far from famine-ridden Ireland to Windsor Estate in the English countryside, the only place to offer them employment. Molly is determined to find a safe place for Kip, who is ill and lame, so she is not willing to let scary stories about cursed woods and haunted manors deter her. When they finally reach the Windsor Estate, however, it is impossible to ignore the strange atmosphere. A dark, monstrous tree grows right up into the house, its branches bursting through the walls. The Windsors themselves appear peculiarly afflicted, as if the life is slowly draining from their bodies. And most disturbing of all is the man who comes at night, thudding through the halls and penetrating the family's dreams through horrifying nightmares. As is her way, Molly spins imaginative tales to protect Kip from distress, giving him a "magic button" for protection. Soon enough, however, even Molly cannot spin a story that dispels the danger.This is an excellent ghost story for middle grade readers. It combines the chilling imagery of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (Bloomsbury, 2002/VOYA October 2002) with the isolated Victorian setting of Joan Aiken's 1962 Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Yearling, 1987, reprint). In addition to the haunting atmosphere, there is a loving sweetness between Molly and Kip that eventually expands to include the whole, desperate Windsor family. Auxier's novel is more than a simple ghost story, as the characters can only defeat the evil through heart-wrenching personal sacrifices. This novel is recommended for middle school and public libraries.Diane Colson.
Word Count: 79,193
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 166191 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q63712
Lexile: 690L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

A New York Times bestseller, The Night Gardener 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 REVIEW S "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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