The Doll in the Garden
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The Doll in the Garden (A Ghost Story)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,842 ratings  ·  334 reviews
After Ashley and Kristi find an antique doll buried in old Miss Cooper's garden, they discover that they can enter a ghostly turn-of-the-century world by going through a hole in the hedge.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 1989)
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Supernatural Hero by Eran GadotWait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing HahnThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Shadow Guests by Joan AikenGhosts I Have Been by Richard Peck
Middle Grade Ghost Stories
10th out of 98 books — 21 voters
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17th out of 93 books — 9 voters

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I love, love, love this book. I read it for the first time when I was in 3rd grade, and it scared the crap out of me. I read it again about 6 years ago, and had the urge to revisit it again this summer. It's genuinely spooky and beautifully written, and includes some great commentary on losing someone you love and the grieving process. This is one of my go-to books when a child wants a scary book to check out, and one that I will keep re-reading every few years.
I found this while looking around on my library's digital download site, and I realized that I had read this book before when I was a kid, then almost completely forgot about it. I decided to read it again to refresh my memory of how it ended.

Miss Cooper has to be one of the most crotchety elderly ladies I've ever come across in fiction. One wonders why she would even rent out her upstairs apartment to a single-mother with a child, especially when there is a girl next door who might come over to...more
Adrienne Proctor
Obviously I make these ratings based on how I felt about the book at the time that I read it. So, the 4 out of 5 stars is the rating that the 11 year old me would have given it.

I remember loving this book, and I remember checking it out from the school library more than once, which is something I don't now or didn't then do very often. The only part of it I remember is the beginning when she and her mom ate pizza on the front porch.

But it has stuck with me long enough so I had to add it to my...more
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Selena Gayles
I think The Doll In The Garden is a rilly good book.It's about a little girl named ashley, and she and her friend go in miss.cooper's garden and digs in it.And as there digging they see this white cat just standding there looking at them.And ashley calls the cat and he comes to her and likes her.So they go back to digging and they found a box but ashley and her friend are a little scard to open it but ashley stilled, and in side of it was a old pritty doll.Ashley and her friend wants to ceep it...more
This is a beautiful children's book.! It is about ghosts, past mistakes, remorse and forgiveness with strong well defined characters.

It's is tale of a ghost cat and a 9yr. old girl who died in 1912 and the new tenant's of this old crabby lady who owns the house and the garden where the little girl is heard crying at night. Why is the little girl crying, why does the cat come out at night to the old lady's yard?

It's not until almost 11yr. old Ashley and her Mom move to the upstairs floor of the...more
I've decided to rate The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn as I would have rated it when I first read it.

It's a good ghost story for young girls. Ashley has just moved to a small town with her widowed mother (different take on that now that I'm older and have lost my father as well). They've moved into the second floor apartment of old Miss Cooper's house. The first night, Ashley sees a white cat out in the garden.

This cat eventually leads Ashley through a hole in the hedge and into anoth...more
Mar 27, 2009 Mivembre rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and young adults who love ghost stories
I was never a huge fan of Mary Downing Hahn as a child-- most of her books didn't appeal to me (I like fantasy). But this one is phenomenal. I don't remember much, but I loved her interesting take on ghosts: that they are imprints of the past formed by strong emotions. As I recall, one character was the ghost of an old lady who was still alive.

A good ghost story, and of course, as it is by Hahn, an excellent read for young people.
I owned “Time For Andrew”, 1994 a few years before discovering it is a masterpiece. I unhesitatingly pick up anything Mary Downing Hahn publishes and spotted “The Doll In The Garden”, 1989. Mary leans towards time travel rather than hauntings. I savour the way she plunges into otherworldliness nonetheless. I count on her to tread there and didn’t let this novel sit on my dresser longer than one day! Delegation of stars is a smidgen lower because this was a simplified portrayal of textbook scena...more
I thought that this book makes you sad,mad,exited, and wondrous. It made me cry it was so sad. But it is my favorite book!!!!!!!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!!! They need to add like a thousand more stars because this book is DA BOMBDIGGITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kassie Blue
I’ve rated this book a 5 out of 5. It was a very good story for being as short as it is. It’s also the book that got me interested and to enjoy reading these type of books.

Ashley and her mother move to a new house in the suburb after the death of her father. Miss Cooper (who’s a mean old lady) owns the whole house but rents the upper half. Ashley liked to explore the garden which enraged Miss Copper. Ashley was told not to play in the garden and to stay out of it. Ashley and Kristi (her new fri...more
It was a very amazing book, but at some parts, I almost cried. I read it in one day! I just couldn't put it down! I kept on wondering, "What will happen? I gotta know!"
Chesney Martin
Personally I think this is a really good kids book for kids in middle school 6th to 8th grade maybe a little younger. It had alot of vivid detail the author stayed on topic and it was very easy to understand. I really enjoyed this book and its kind of hard to explain what all happin in this book so all I can tell you is that it involves ghosts who are attached to this doll that a couple if kids found in a garden. Haha so pretty much I can only tell you what the title says but this is one of my f...more
I wonder how i would have felt about a book like this if I read it while I was younger. Reading it now, I wasn't spooked (well, maybe just a bit), but saddened by the events that occurred within the story. I liked the book mostly for the lesson it lends to readers: there's always a reason for why a person is the way they are. And until you know what the reason is, it's difficult to fathom and be accepting of their flaws -- particularly behavior -- as a human being.

I thought this book was so good...more
I loved this book it was so interesting and i enjoyed reading this book.
Linda Lipko
Purchased at the local library sale table for .10, this was a quick, nothing of substance read. Attempting to read my huge stash of books before purchasing more, I happened to grab this off the shelf.

When Ashlee and her mother move to the upstairs apartment of a bitter, nasty elderly woman, Ashlee roams the back yard gardens while her mother types away, preparing to finish her education in order to support the family.

Finding a play mate, together they discover a Victorian doll buried in the wood...more
Emily Theroux
I think that this book was very entertaining. In the beggining Ashley's dad just died and she feels mad because he just left her and her mom there without him. Then they move into the top of Mrs.Coopers house and Ashley thinks that she is really mean. Then one day they find out about Kristi who is there neighbor and Kristi and Ashley become friends. After they find each other they decide to make the abandond garden there play spot. While there are there they find a tiny box. When they open the b...more
It was about a girl about Ashley,her and her mom moved too another town because her dad died,he had cancer and they wanted too away because they had so many memories of him. so they move away to another town. they move and they lived upstairs in a house that an old lady lived there she had a really mean looking dog. she was really mean and didn't like ashley's cat. she started going to a garden behind the house. and she meet snowball a ghost cat and from there she meet a girl name louis that was...more
This book completely caught me off guard by touching me very deeply. By the time I finished this I was crying in a way I haven't done since I was seven. The ghost story Hahn unfolds is very simple, completely age appropriate and makes room for her to explore in a simple way most children can understand about what it means to loose a loved one. It's a rare author that can write a book about survivors guilt and about giving one's self permission to grieve and still make it accessible to younger au...more
Honey Hutson
I am, of course, way over the target age for Mary's books. However, I really enjoy them and share them with the target audience. I never share a book with a kid without reading it first, just in case. I read Mary's because I enjoy the stories, too - that's just my excuse! Her reputation in infallible in appropriate content.

She has a talent for seamlessly enduring characters and story lines that also have valuable lessons. Her material teaches morals, sympathy, empathy and so much more. They are...more
For 20 something years, this was the "one that got away". I vaguely remembered a book I read one summer that I loved, but couldn't remember the title, author, or anything about the book except a sense the cover had purple on it. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across it (and recognized it!) while helping a child find a different book last week. As an adult, I found the book merely good, but as I kid I loved it enough to (vaguely) remember it and wish I could find it again.
Though the message of the book was not subtle, and the plot predictable, this is exactly the sort of book that young girls and their mothers would enjoy. Reminicent of the Secret Garden, this is a slightly dated ghost story/time travel. Ashley, the young heroine, has moved with her mother, following the death of her father to a new appartment. Along with her next door neighbor,Ashley explores the garden, which the crotchety landlady warns them not to disturb. While there they uncover an antique...more
Lauren Fidler
oh, mary downing hahn. i think you're going to try to scare me, but really, you're in your groove best when you're sad.

and this, my friends, is sad.

protagonist: ashley, age 10 going on 11, lost her father recently to cancer, mom is a phd candidate with little income
setting: creepy miss cooper's apartment of horrors, replete with decrepit garden, ghost cats, and the dulcet tones of a dead little girl's weeping
bff: kristi, obnoxious seven-year-old sidekick with doll-separation anxiety
plot: ashley...more
Jillian McGrath
This book of fiction tells the story of a girl named Ashely who is ten years old and the narrator. She moves into an apartment in Monkon Mills with a cranky old lady living below her who won't let her do anything in her backyard because of her garden. Ashley starts to get curious and goes in the garden. Every time she goes she sees a cat. It follows her where ever she goes in the garden. When she goes to pet it ,it just disappears. One day she follows the cat into this whole other world and find...more
Carrington Shaw
I read this entire book today while I was babysitting. I'm an adult, so I don't read too many kids' books these days, but I was familiar with Hahn as I loved Wait 'Til Helen Comes as a child.

I really enjoyed this book. The entire time I was reading it, I kept picturing it as a Studio Ghibli film; the story gave me the same feelings of magic and wonder as I get from those films. I would love to see Miyazaki get his hands on this one!
The doll in the garden:a ghost story is about a girl named ashley and her mom live one floor from the mean old mrs cooper.ashley meats a knew friend kristi. soon they notice something weirod going on in the garden they wonder off into the garden and they deside tht could be there secret hide out.they try to pukll some weeds out but they come across something they didnt think they would come across it was a barried doll.suddenly they hear mrs cooper and her stupid dog max they start running out o...more
This is one of the books I hadn't read originally of hers, so it was fun to read it for the first time. The story was less scary than Wait Til Helen Comes, and more about real people and forgiveness and grief, which obviously rang a chord in me today because I was definitely crying when I got to the end. I think my elementary-aged self would have loved this book if I'd found it in a library back then.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Mary Downing Hahn's books are hit and miss for me. Some of them are good, and some are just horrible.

This one was a hit. I loved the story, or should I say stories, which in the end weave together.

I didn't like Mrs. Cooper in the beginning, she was mean, grumpy and I really didn't understand why should would rent her top floor to a mother and child, when she hates children.
I also disliked how she complained about everything the kids did. Instead of just...more
Kim Sasso
Every time a Mary Downing Hahn book crosses my path, I wish I had read it when I was little. So I took this one home and read it last night. Enjoyed it quite a bit, actually! I had a few quibbles with the grammar, but I will recommend this book to youngsters at my store. It is spooky but not really "scarey."
I remember reading this as a kid and thinking that it was a really good spooky story. When I stumbled on it again as an adult, I thought I'd give it a try to see if it was as good as I'd remembered. Eh, not so much - it's a quick read, but I disliked the characters. So, good for young kids, not great for adults.
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I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland. Our block was loaded with kids my age. We spent hours outdoors playing "Kick the Can" and "Mother, May I" as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom. In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory -- the woods on the other side of the t...more
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