What It Is About: Molly and Kip are two young Irish children that are left alone after their parents disappear. They make their way to an English village where they want to find work. Molly and Kip end up at a very large manor with a strange family. The home is run-down and something odd is going on with the members of this family. Molly becomes the "house-keeper" and Kip is left in the stables to tend the animals and the grounds. As the two children get use to their new surroundings, they begin to realize that something quite scary is going on. Each member of the family is using a "secret" room on the second level of the home to get things they need/want. During the night, Molly and Kip see an old man wondering the home and yard. Once inside this secret room, Molly finds a large tree that has something to do with the night man. Through an elderly lady in the village, they learn this man is called "The Night Gardener." The family is changing more and more each day and Molly knows she must do something to stop what is happening.
What I Thought Of It: This was such a beautifully written novel. I could not put it down. Being that I read it at the end of summer, I didn't have as much time as I wanted to spend with it; when I did sit down with the book, I completely enjoyed it. The characters are truly memorable and unique. I loved how Molly and Kip were children, but were the characters responsible for saving this family from harm. The mystery of story kept me reading and wanting to know more. I also liked the "scary" factor that was sprinkled throughout the novel. It was a joy to find this author and both of his incredible novels.
Who Should Read It: As I was reading this novel, I kept thinking what a wonderful read aloud it would make for my fourth graders. I also thought it would be fun to read it during the month of October to celebrate Halloween because it is a "scary" and "creepy" type story. The mystery of the story would also grab the attention of my listeners and bring them into this awesome story. If a reader is going to read it on their own, I think they should be in fifth grade or above because it is a longer novel at 345 pages, has quite a bit of text, and some of the vocabulary is quite complex. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars