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The Night Garden

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  87 reviews
It is World War II, and Franny and her parents, Sina and Old Tom, enjoy a quiet life on a farm on Vancouver Island. Franny writes, Sina sculpts, and Old Tom tends to their many gardens--including the ancient, mysterious night garden. Their peaceful life is interrupted when their neighbor, Crying Alice, begs Sina to watch her children while she goes to visit her husband at ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  361 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
This was the first Polly Horvath novel that I have read but it most certainly will not be my last!

What an incredible, funny, quirky, and enjoyable read. The story was unique, mysterious, and entertaining. From the beginning, I didn't know where it was going to go or what was coming next. The mystery and intrigue lasted throughout and ended with me reading the last quarter at a rapid speed due to the excitement of the adventure. Additionally, this novel was laugh-out-loud funny. I don't even mean
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
This is a strange and funny tale with quirky characters. Going into it I had expected a Gothic Middle-School mystery with a hint of paranormal but got something quite different. Let's put it this way, if Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden and Lemony Snicket were mixed together out would pop The Night Garden as their bookish concoction.

Franny (ie. Anne) is our wayward orphan who speaks her mind and is left with Sina and Old Tom (Marilla and Matthew). We have the eerie Night Garden (a dark,
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not awful, but not as enjoyable as some of Horvath's previous books. The implausible dialogue is amusing for a while, but soon the arch, precocious narrator's oh-so-clever conversation becomes wearing. There are some sympathetic characters, but the Madden family, who provide the main action are made so excessively irritating that I was unable to summon the slightest concern for their plight. Eventually a series of stupid decisions by various characters snowballs into an absurd climax. More appea ...more
Munro's Kids
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I LOVE some Poly Horvath books. Everything on a Waffle qualifies as one of my favourite children's books. Ever. Trolls was such a strange blend of whimsy fun and darkness that it also left a strong impression with me. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny delighted me to no end - oh, those crazy stupid bunnies with their all-important detective hats!

Others I have been a little bored by, or have failed (gulp) to finish. I'm not sure I could even give you the titles as they made such little impression upon me.

The Ni
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one starts with the wild wackiness I expect from Horvath but after the first chapter the story mellows into a nutty but truly sweet tale of family, home and our responsibility to each other. "We all drink from the same pond," says Sina. Observations on writing and creativity flow through the story and while the young narrator Franny often sounds far older than her years, I was still charmed by her voice and story. Touches of magical realism through the rumored wishes provided by the Night G ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
FIRST OF ALL u guys! i read a book! i haven't read a book in WEEKS. second of all this book was an absolute delight from start to finish - Polly Horvath straddles the line SO well between borderline crackfic and mystical historical fiction.
Every single character is distinct and crisp and a delight, and there are plenty of answers to questions but also questions posed that aren't answered and some that aren't meant to be answered.
I loved the meandering thoughts on creativity and where it comes fr
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I can't settle myself to read, Polly

Horvath provides a delightful escape. Always .
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set in a rural area in 1945 our orphan Fanny together with her guardians must learn to cope with caring for a neighbour's children as their mother goes to stop her husband from doing something terrible. We follow their adventures and the mysterious Night Garden which they are forbidden to enter.

To be fair, I really think I am not the target audience for this Tale. I enjoy children's fiction, but it has to be very well written and extremely engaging. The story seemed like it was trying to be a m
Sarah Ellyse
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll try not to be too "gushy", but I can't say enough good things about this book. At first I thought it was going to be similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events, with a foster child and burning houses, but it wasn't at all. I admire how Polly Horvath wrote from the perspective of a pre-teen without filling the dialogue with petty drama. The narrator does have her quiet world turned upside down, and she does have to deal with change and jealousy, and that awkward "in-between childhood and adul ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Alex  Baugh
It’s early spring 1945. In the small coastal town of Soote, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the kids have been given their summer vacation in the spring while the roof of their school is being fixed. Which is OK by twelve-year-old Franny Whitekraft, who’s very content to hang out at home with her adoptive parents Sina (short for Thomasina), a sculptress, and Old Tom, who loves nothing more than to tend to his many gardens on their 270 acre farm, East Soote Farm.

So far, the WWII hasn't re
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, fantasy, historical

First of thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!! I enjoyed mostly all of the characters! Sina, Old Tom, Franny, Winifred, Wilfred, Miss Macy, they were all awesome! Another thing I enjoyed was how the parent figures were present in this novel so that way you got that family aspect in there! The plot was interesting as it was during World War II in Victoria, British Columbia. The book was funny and quirky, it was honestly very light-h
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
sooooooooo good! I would recommend it. 😊

(don't know what l'm going to get at my public library on Saturday so please suggest in the comments what u think I should read😆)

Heidi Burkhart
I am very fond of many of Horvath’s books, but this wasn’t one of them. It started out being promising, but fairly soon was just all over the place with too many characters and too much action. Phew!
Kaylie Quispe
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It was overall a great book but at sometimes I was confused because this book was written in the ww1 and ww11 era. So the characters in the book talked a little weird and said some things that didn't necessarily make sense to me.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Middle school book-this is the type of book I loved to read at that age! Funny, odd characters and some magical realism in a setting that made you want to camp outdoors and climb trees, I liked the sense of humor and the quirkiness of it all.
Jennifer Rayment
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A delightful tale for a more mature 9-10 year old (not for content -just for the more sophisticated language) Lots of quirky characters, snappy dialogue and the familiar Canadian setting are the highlights of the tale for me. I felt the characters a little too wise for their years, but hey not necessarily a bad thing. It drags a wee bit and I really wanted to actually know more about the night garden itself, but all in a ll a lovely read.

Favourite Quotes

"It does go to show that so much of your
Linda Zelig
I don't care that I picked up this book in the Children's Section of my library. It was enthralling and captivating and mysterious. Every chapter ended with an unexpected or surprise bit of information. What a sneaky means to keep you turning the pages! I loved it!
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-shop-reads
A fun and fast read for those who enjoy mystery, unusual characters, and a touch of the supernatural. Perfect for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Serafina and the Black Cloak, and Greenglass House.
The Dusty Jacket
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Despite the war overseas, life was fairly predictable and peaceful in the spring of 1945 for the family at East Sooke Farm. Twelve-year-old Franny Whitekraft had her writing; her mother, Thomasina (Sina for short), had her sculpting; and her father, Old Tom, had his gardens—his many, many gardens. There was the English garden, herb garden, Japanese garden, Italian garden, kitchen garden, statuary garden…but perhaps the most mysterious and closely-guarded garden of all was the night garden. That ...more
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

"See the sun sinking over the edge of the sea? This day is done. This day will never come again. Everything has changed. Remind yourself of that every morning and every night, and then you won't come to expect anything but what is. It's expecting anything but what is that makes people unhappy."

What a surprising and fantastic read this is! In Polly Horvath's terrifically magical The Night Garden, the Newbery Honor and National Book Award winning author takes readers on a beautiful, often funn
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
I love Polly Horvath's stories. Quirky, endearing characters with hilarious asides and observations throughout, and a pace that is built around enjoying the reveal of each of her characters' motivations and unique eccentricities, like this summation of Mrs. Hornby, a local Englishwoman transplanted to the Vancouver Island setting:

"She had the square body, square jaw, short hair, and sensible clothes of women of her ilk and looked as if there would be no nonsense about her. She's the person you'd
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
She's a wonderful writer--this book could have been five stars and a favourite, save for a fatal flaw, unfortunately, which is that the plot didn't really kick in until 2/3 through the book, and the genre didn't really kick in until 3/4 through the book.

Let's put it this way: in the opening pages (i.e. first half of the book) various characters encounter a mermaid, a UFO, a ghost, and a forbidden wish-granting garden ... or do they? And forgive me, but I want to know which fairly early on. This
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-school
Very disappointed with this supposed historical fiction story set in WWII, Victoria, Canada. The war barely intrudes, and while that may have been true for that area at the time, it certainly didn't serve this story well.

It's supposed to be a coming-of-age, I think, but 12 year old Franny is light years ahead in sophistication already, with a huge vocabulary and very mature insights. The quirky way she came to be Old Tom's and Sina's daughter doesn't figure in until the very end. The wacky Madde
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Night Garden by Polly Horvath is a charming middle grade novel set in 1945. This story is a little bit historical fiction and a little bit fantasy.
Set on Vancouver Island during the time when the world was at war with the Nazis and Japan. The narrator, Franny, tells us the story of the Maddens: Flying Bob, Crying Alice, Wilfred, Winnifred, and Zebediah. It's also in part the story of Thomasina and Old Tom and their beautiful home and abundant gardens. When the Madden children come to live wi
The time is WWII Vancouver Island, on a farm near Victoria, where Franny lives with her accidentally adoptive parents Sina and Old Tom (it's a long story). It's not a farm like any other, having had a variety of owners who built a large Victorian house and many, many individual gardens. In between farming a bit, Old Tom has also added some gardens, which he tends along with all the others. The one he never goes in, however, is the Night Garden.

The story really starts when Crying Alice leaves he
Jen Kayna (Habitat for Happiness)
I would describe this book as a "silly strange story". It's one of those stories that purposely has over-the-top characters (like Crying Alice, a woman who cries all the time. Or like Gladys, who is hired as a cook but constantly burns the food yet never gets fired). The Night Garden is aimed at young readers and hints at the silly writing style in the synopsis, however one thing I was expecting more of was scenes with the night garden itself! The night garden is described as a ancient, forbidde ...more
Martha Meyer
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Franny, 12, and her parents, Sina and Old Tom, live a peaceful life on a farm on Vancouver Island during WW2. Their troubles revolve around the creative process (Sina is a sculptor and Franny writes.) and the seasonal work of the farm -- until Crying Alice, their neighbor, arrives with an unusual request. She wants Franny, Sina and Old Tom to watch over her 3 kids while she tries to prevent her husband, an air force base mechanic,  from doing something stupid. Supernatural events, crazy mysterie ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is another World War II setting, although this time in the town of Sooke in British Columbia, Canada. We see the story unfold through the narration of 12 year old Franny, an aspiring writer, who has an intelligent and witty voice. Franny lives with her adoptive parents Sina and Old Tom and up until 1945 they have been largely unaffected by the war, and indeed, apart from providing a plot device this is not at all a war story. The arrival of three siblings Winifred, Wilfred, and Zebediah cha ...more
Angela Kidd Shinozaki
I love Polly Horvath. Her writing style and distinct, quirky set of characters are always a stand out. But I have to admit this story fell a little short for me. And I think that’s because the promise in the title of a night garden is just barely fulfilled. Instead it centers more around a missing father and a stolen plane, which is captivating but not that interesting. It feels like the garden is just planted into the story as a grand deus ex machina, when it could and should have taken center ...more
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Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven ...more

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