Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Doll in the Garden” as Want to Read:
The Doll in the Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Doll in the Garden

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  5,779 Ratings  ·  451 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I'm reading (and re-reading) ghost stories for the Halloween season.

"The day we moved into Monkton Mills, I made an enemy of our new landlady."

Reading this made me remember why I loved Mary Downing Hahn stories so much when I was younger. It's nice to find out that not everything I liked back then sucked. (Trust me that is not always the case.) This story was more than just a ghost story. It was a story about friendship, love, death, loss, and how to carry on when you lose someone important to y
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Selena Gayles
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is a perfect example of don't judge a book by it's cover. i found the book and instantly said oh Chucky is a doll so this must be creepy or about a killer doll. but by the last few chapters i could not stop crying. the book is so mentally depressing that i almost had to put the book down, which for me is very bad. i would not tell others that this book is good for the soul because its very sad. but it is excellently written and that is why i love it.
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
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
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
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
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
You know, when you read a Hahn book, you will read about loss and redemption and second chances, and giving each other a chance. You will read about staying open to possibilities and forgiveness.

This book has all that and more.

Can the doll in the garden find its way home? Can an old woman forgive herself and begin to live again? Can a little girl come to terms with the losses in her life?

Carrington Shaw
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, modern
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.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
This book scared the crap out of me when I was around age 8 or so...Mary Downing Hahn is like a precursor for R.L. Stine books (only I remember thinking her writing was better even as a kid). If your kids like scary stories, look into this one, or Wait Til Helen Comes, which is even spookier.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: My friend Jamie
I really like this book. It is the 2nd one I read by this author. I like Ashley, and Kristy's idea of how to make the old lady nice again. She was pretty mean.
This ghost story freaked me out REALLY BADLY as a child.
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!"
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book it was so interesting and I enjoyed reading it.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in the mood for some YA horror and saw this available on overdrive. It took maaaaybe an hour, hour & a half to finish and am a little ashamed to say it's my first time reading any of Hahn's work! I'm positive I would have loved her stuff growing up!
Ashley Cummings is happy to leave Baltimore and the sad memories it holds for her and her widowed mom. But there's something strange about their new place. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Ashley is sure she hears a child crying out in the darkness. When she and her friend, Kristi, find a doll in the garden, Ashley wants to keep it for herself. But an eerie encounter makes it clear that the doll's rightful owner wants it back . . . even though she died seventy years ago.

The Doll in the Ga
Anna Lawrence
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Reaction:
This book was enjoyable and continuously intriguing with a new cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. Students who love mystery, adventure, and suspense would LOVE this book! Even though it's a children's book, the plot line had me a little bit spooked, but that's part of the reason I continued to read it! I liked that there was a lot of thought put into the storyline because there was one point near the end that it all clicked together and that's when you know you are readin
Joey Garcia
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books especially like this make me so thrilled to read them! What would you do if you found a doll in your garden? Probably don't know right? Well I'll be telling you my opinions and thoughts on this particular book. Enjoy!


Mysterious books such as this one, where in first person, the main character tells the audience, their feelings and what's happening in their eyes, only what they see and nothing more. Let alone the fact that if this was from some one else's perspective, t
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily Theroux
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
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
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ashley and her mom move to Monkton Mills to start a new life following the death of her father. Ashley misses her father, and is worried about her mother. She hopes the move will help her mom become less sad, and that they can have a happy life again. They rent the upper floor of a house owned by Miss Cooper, a cranky, unfriendly old lady. Miss Cooper lets Ashley know from the beginning that she dislikes children, cats and just about everything else.

The first day at the house, Ashley sees a whit
Kassie Blue
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Halloween, horror lovers... 6 29 Sep 04, 2014 05:08PM  
  • Christina's Ghost
  • Stonewords: A Ghost Story
  • Behind the Attic Wall
  • Ghost of a Hanged Man
  • Midnight in the Dollhouse (Apple)
  • Ghost Cat
  • The Ghost Wore Gray (Nina Tanleven, #2)
  • Home Sweet Horror
  • The Hunt for the Seventh
  • Time Windows
  • The Hanging Hill (Haunted Mystery, #2)
  • Horror at the Haunted House
  • Devil's Footsteps
  • Something Upstairs
  • Ollie's Halloween
  • The Ghost Sitter
  • Among the Dolls
  • The Ghosts
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
More about Mary Downing Hahn...
“Time doesn't run backward, you know, and things that have been done can't be undone, no matter how hard you wish.” 8 likes
More quotes…