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Tom's Midnight Garden
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Tom's Midnight Garden

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  11,705 ratings  ·  319 reviews
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.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 30th 1992 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1958)
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Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
May 23, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, childrens
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 charact...more
Sarah Sammis
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 examples.

Tom 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...more
fin
May 23, 2007 fin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of British children's fantasy
I read this book 10 years ago, and it still haunts me.

Tom 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 daytime.

In the garden world, time stood still for him. He befriends Hattie, a girl as lonely as he is. But...more
Auntie J
I read this as a kid but all I really remembered about it was that I liked it. It's not a flashy tale, and a bit old-fashioned. I think that's part of it's charm, but it may be a turn-off for some of today's kids. A bit like A Secret Garden with an E. Nesbit-lite twist.

Although the title character is a boy I think girls may appreciate this story more than boys. Tom's magical adventures are limited to the kinds of things kids do when they have a wonderful old-fashioned garden to play in.

The mai...more
Amalie
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 wo...more
Graham
I remember avidly watching the Children's BBC adaptation of TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN when I was around Tom's age myself - this would have been in 1990 or so. I absolutely loved the series, but to my chagrin I never read the book on which it was based - until now.

I'd always assumed that this was a modern book but on checking the details I found it was written in 1958 - this explains how Pearce has a natural way with words and how she recaptures the same magic of childhood as Enid Blyton did. In fact...more
Nikki
When I think about this book, I get the same sort of feeling as Tom at the beginning of the story -- a little stifled, restless, too full of food. It's quite odd! Anyway, that somewhat colours my memories of this book, making it a bit less wondrous than perhaps it should be. It's a sweet story, ultimately, about mutual loneliness and need of companionship reaching right across time and bringing too lonely children together. It never gets too saccharine, though -- perhaps just slightly, at the en...more
Justine
If I ever need to cry, I pick up this book (one of my favourites) and skim right to the end, to the line: "he put his arms right round her and hugged her good-bye as if she were a little girl." What a beautiful book this is - I was not a child when I read this but I want to read this to my children one day.
Ivan
This is one of those novels that I'll remember and appreciate in time more than I do now. The story is a good one, and there are many memorable scenes. However, I found the writing rather tedious, sluggish; I kept wanting the pace of the narrative to pick up. The final forty pages are quite lovely, and the final encounter choked me up. Still, I don't know that I'd recommend this to a child - certainly not before "The Borrowers" or "The Children of Green Knowe."
Salt Publishing
A classic slipstream novel, utterly wonderful and with chapters that are unforgettable. A must for any child.
Kaethe
Poor Tom, forced to go away during the summer holiday while his brother suffers the measles, and kept indoors under quarantine. How old-fashioned is that? Between Tom's unattractive sulking and insomnia, my general lack of interest in gardening, and a personal fear that this was going to turn into one of those stories about a guy finding the perfect mate by traveling back to a time before feminism, well, I didn't have high hopes. But it turned out to be a story about falling in love with a place...more
Ste J
Look at this particularly fantastic cover it just screams out ‘read me’, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to do just that. It wasn’t until I’d read the ending that I realised I had actually watched the wonderful BBC version in the 80′s, back when kids TV was made to be sinister and engrossing. I may have to do a post on that….

I have long been a firm believer that silence challenges the reader’s imagination and as ever I chose that medium in which to immerse myself in this wonderful book, a...more
Gary
Tom is forced to stay with aunt and uncle for the holidays. He hates the fact there is no garden (which I’m sure children can relate to) which he had to leave behind for the summer while his brother recovers.
I did find this novel to be an enchanting story about a boy who travels back in time when he should be in bed, again another part of the story which children can relate to and find exciting.

Tom finds a doorway to a magic garden to the past where he meets Hatty, a young girl. This is where th...more
Tej
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 time.

This 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....more
Heidi
I saw Tom's Midnight Garden as a film on TV a couple of years ago. Well...actually I only got to see half of it as I started watching it too late. I was totally charmed and knew I had to get the book of the same name by Philippa Pearce. I have not been disappointed. This is a wonderful story which ranks up there with classics like Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden and others.

Tom is not happy as he has to go stay with Aunt Gwen and Uncle Alan in their apartment because his brother Peter has...more
Matt Linzey
I remember being read this book as a class while in Year 6. I recently came across it again while on my PGCE placement because one of the girls in my class is currently reading it. The story follows a young boy, Tom, who is sent to spend the Summer with his Aunt. Tom is less than enthusiastic about this and boredom sets in very early on his visit. Struggling to fall asleep one night, Tom is laying awake wishing he had something to do and some people his age to enjoy the holidays with. Still bore...more
Farhana Imran
This book is about a nine year old boy called Tom and his adventures in a magical garden. As his brother Peter has measles and is quarantined, he is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle in a flat. Tom is very resentful at leaving his beloved brother and their garden. His desire to be in a garden is so strong that it becomes true. He climbs trees, run about, makes a tree house etc.

Tom cannot sleep as Aunt Gwen makes very rich food. He listens to the clock chiming, he counts 1,2,3,4,...,13 really!...more
Helen
Strangely, though it was published in 1958, I don't remember ever reading this as a child. I only read it now in preparation for the Open University's children's literature course, but I throughly enjoyed it. Though it's low key and not all that much happens -- Tom visits the beautiful garden that only appears after midnight and plays with the girl he meets there -- it had a strong narrative pull and I kept wanting to read on.

At the time the book was published, the present day story would have...more
Elaine
This has become one of my favorite children's books, alongside Understood Betsy, A Little Princess, and The Chronicles of Narnia. The thing is, I love those other books because the main characters inspire me. I love Tom's Midnight Garden because the story enchants me. I don't think I've ever been drawn so into the wonderful "magic" of a story.

The story is set in England. A young boy has to go live in the city with his aunt and uncle because his brother has the measles. One night, he discovers a...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1695975...

I can't quite believe that I managed to reach the age of nearly 44 without having read this brilliant children's fantasy, though I had fond if vague memories of Dorothea Brooking's 1974 BBC adaptation. Tom, sent to stay with his aunt and uncle after his brother develops measles, discovers that when the clock in the hall strikes thirteen in the middle of the night he is able to visit the garden as it was in the past, and makes friends with Hattie who lives...more
Nenette
A lot of times I read 'Hatty' as 'Harry', probably because of the latter's association with the name Tom who is the main character here. Or it might be that it is more likely for Tom to be friends with a boy rather than a girl. Well, this is just an odd observation I have. Odd as it is, it has nothing to do with how I liked and enjoyed this children's story, especially how it played out in the end.

I'd say that though it was to be expected, the revelation towards the end still caught me by surpr...more
Jane
I was not, as a rule, a huge fan of sad book when I was a child, but I remember both loving Tom's Midnight Garden and finding it heartbreaking. Sometimes I'm reluctant to reread something that gave me so much pleasure as a child, because I want to hold on to that initial experience. But the rereading was well worth it. It is a story about the power of memory, the relentless passage of time, and the fleeting but intense beauty of the world and childhood. One might think that these are not themes...more
Richard
This is one of the all-time great YA Fantasy classics. It uses the device of "time-slip"--the equivalent in Fantasy of "time-travel' in science fiction. Time-slip does not usually use a machine but works through a mysterious, often unexplained process which causes the consciousness of the character to slip into another time period. It is a plot device which tends to emphasize the ability to transcend time rather than travel through it.

"Tom's Midnight Garden" uses the device to explore the chang...more
The Styling Librarian
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce - Thrilled I had time to squeeze in this read. What a powerful fantasy with lovely twists and turns. I don’t want to give away the most special magical element but how I enjoyed every minute of this book. I know students will really enjoy reading it for the competition next year. It is one of those titles that is terrific for either gender and leaves you with many more questions than answers about the magic introduced. I would connect this book to a few t...more
Sara Darr
This is the first time I have read a book by Phillipa Pearce and overall I found it to be a beautifully written story. I did enjoy reading it but I did find it to be quite long. However because of how interesting the story is and how it is written I feel that it would be a great book to read as a class. 'Tom's Midnight Garden' is about a boy who is sent to live with his relatives due to a family illness. At his relative's house, he investigates after hearing the grandfather clock mysteriously st...more
Leona Duignan
I remember reading this as a child and but I didn’t really remember much about it. This magical stories tells the tale of a boy named Tom who is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle for a period of time. Tom is not happy about having to stay cooped up in a small apartment, and then everything changes. Tom finds a doorway to a magic garden to the past where he meets Hatty, a young girl. It is soon clear that Hattie lives in a different time to Tom and yet depite this, their friendship grows.Each...more
Barbara
I read this years and years ago, while living in England as a child. A copy was given to me as a prize for winning a summer reading competition at the Ely Library. I remembered the idea of the story: the clock striking thirteen each night, Tom sneaking out of bed to explore the garden that only appeared at night, and even the little girl from the past who climbed trees with him in the garden. But re-reading this book so many years later, I discovered there was a lot to the story that I'd forgott...more
Jean S
This was one of my favorite childhood books. I think I read it first when I was about 10 and must have read it two or three times before taking it back to the library. I thought about the book as a young adult, but couldn't remember the name (and this was pre-internet). Just found it again a few years ago and re-read it with as much pleasure as an adult. It's a wonderful story of a child who is sent to stay with relatives in a tiny apartment in an once-grand old house, who finds himself able to...more
Judy
I don't think I have re-read a childhood favourite before but I rediscovered this when doing some sorting and with such magical memories I had to read it again! I was not disappointed; still a really good story of time travel, from the 50s to Victorian period. I love the concept that an old Victorian house holds history and people can travel back in time to see the old inhabitants. Was particularly struck this time at how old fashioned the writing was and am thinking that today's children would...more
Veronica
Wonderful. Haunting and tender and very atmospheric. An added layer of pleasure and evocation for me as this book is set in the part of England I grew up in.
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Philippa Pearce was one of the twentieth century’s greatest children’s writers. Her books include Tom’s Midnight Garden, winner of the Carnegie Medal; The Squirrel Wife, illustrated by Wayne Anderson; and A Finder’s Magic, created for her two grandsons and illustrated by their other grandmother, Helen Craig. Philippa Pearce died in 2006.
More about Philippa Pearce...
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“Nothing stands still, except in our memory.” 19 likes
“A habit of solitude in early childhood is not easily broken. Indeed, it may prove lifelong.” 8 likes
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