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Tom's Midnight Garden

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  23,705 ratings  ·  883 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 December 31st 1958)
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Moverley Smith It is for anybody who appreciates good prose. I used it as a guide for 'The Sea Daffodil'. Pearce averages 2000 words per chapter and has many…moreIt is for anybody who appreciates good prose. I used it as a guide for 'The Sea Daffodil'. Pearce averages 2000 words per chapter and has many chapters of exactly the same number of words. She has 27 chapters - yes, as you would expect, 54K words - and absolutely every chapter has just 34 paragraphs. It was like learning to write fugues, looking at her art and craft - and I am sure that this smoothness and continuity of tone contributes - on the experiential, reading level - to the quality enrapture.(less)
Bob Johnson Yes it did for me. The first third felt a little creepy and slow, but it builds to a very poignant and lovely ending that is staying with me.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  23,705 ratings  ·  883 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Sammis
Nov 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Rosanna Threakall
4.5 STARS.

A truly magical story, entertaining for kids and adults alike. The beauty of this book is how you can allow your imagination to run away with you, just as Tom does. I will for sure pass this story (probably this exact book because THAT COVER THOUGH and it has cute illustrations) onto my kids as I think it's a great classic kids story.

I know this story well, I had the audio book on tape (yes tape, I am 21, kids) when I was a little girl but it was an abridged radio-play dramatization
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone.
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
Did I just cry through the entire (admittedly short) last chapter of a children's book? Seriously????

OK, let's get the preliminaries out of the way first. This is very much a period piece - and, for better or worse, and I can't imagine my (now grown) kids having got through this ... or, for that matter, sitting through the first few chapters of the book, even if someone was reading it to them. For kids who grew up with (or, even more so, traveled with) video games (and video game consoles) and
Joaquin Mejia
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been trying to read children's fiction books like this because I think that it is not the time for me to read "heavy" books that are harder to read. I just think that I need to refrain from reading those kinds of books for a while because their darker themes are not really something I want to read about when I am stressed out from school.

So I decided to read this book. I think that it is a very delightful book. It is a good book to read when the days are getting wearisome. It is what
Beth Bonini
This children's classic - one of the most beloved Carnegie Medal winners of all time - will probably be my last read of 2017. I read it, finally, because Penelope Lively praised it so highly in her recent gardening memoir Life in the Garden. Lively considers it to be far superior to The Secret Garden, that other wonderful children's classic set in a garden. I don't know that I agree with her, but I will acknowledge that I fell in love with Burnett's novel as a child - and I think that can really ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Beautifully-Written, Beautifully-Told Children's Fiction
Sent to stay with his Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen when his brother has the measles, Tom Long is bitterly disappointed and unhappy at the prospect of a dismal holiday spent at their flat, which takes up one floor of an old Victorian house. Lying awake late at night, he is puzzled when he hears the grandfather clock in the lobby striking thirteen, and going downstairs to investigate, he slips out of the house and into a mysterious garden that was not there during the daytime. As it transpires, Tom ...more
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another one of those titles that remember from school days but cannot remember reading - Along with the rats of NIMH and the secret garden there were a list of books we had to read at school which I think at the time I dreaded or hated in equal measures but now look back with fondness and curiosity.

Well I had the chance to get a copy (okay this copy) for free and leapt at the chance to read it (again I think).

And I must admit the memories all came flooding back - yet the book reads
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Eric Leonard
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Oh my God! I have no words for this book! This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, I swear! The final scene is the most heartwarming scene in a book I've ever read. Yes, it is a book for children, but you should all read it. It is amazing!
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh! How do I express my gladness to have experienced this book? I cant believe its from 1958. It could be a 1970s child, who feels his summer was forfeited by spending it with his apartment-dwelling Aunt. He loves his familys yard and his Aunt only has trashcans on cement. With his brother ill, away he goes. His Aunt is keen to take him out but his Uncle is my least favourite type; debating whatever you utter. I love that Tom issues metaphysical challenges to him!

I hadnt heard of Philippa Pearce
Ellie L
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nature, friendship
Pearce left me with mixed feelings throughout my reading of her book. It is without a doubt that her rich language has created a magical, vivid world- one that all children would want to be a part of. It is this language that makes it all the more heartbreaking when Tom has to leave this world, live in the present and move on with his life.
Another positive to the text is the philosophical questions that Pearce evokes. The audience is left questioning the concept of time, looking more deeply
*** Review available by request for those on my Friend list ***
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book as a child. This book is responsible for my book addiction.
Luisa Knight
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, own-read, favorites
Nothing stands still, except in our memory.

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I expected an easy, children novel (which it was), but it was also so much more than that. The wonderful characters and haunting story will stay with me long after I finished reading this book.

It was a perfect novel to end 2019's reading.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 🤩
It was simply wonderful.
Book 3/4 for the #stayhomereadingrush finished 📚

this was such a cute read! it made me so happy. i have a feeling that I once read this as a child but I honestly dont know how and when, but this story feels so familiar.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Long is a young boy who is sent to stay with his Aunt and Uncle for a Summer when his brother becomes ill. There isn't much for Tom to do, but one night when the big old Grandfather clock in the hall strikes Thirteen, Tom goes to investigate. He opens a door to shine some moonlight on the clock........and finds a wonderful garden where there should only be rubbish bins and concrete.

Written in 1958, this was a childhood favourite of mine. I never owned a copy, but I borrowed it from the
Kaethe Douglas
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 ...more
So beautiful, especially the last half!
If you used to spend your childhood playing outdoors, or if you're into gardens, or if you simply love a sweet story with a touch of fantasy, you should seriously consider reading this book.
I think it's even better to read this as an adult, because you will get all the finer nuances and details that a child might not realise.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fanciful...timey-wimey...too gentle and charming to be called sci-fi, but you get the idea.
In this book, written in the 50s, young Tom Long must go stay with his uncle and aunt to be quarantined in case he caught the measles from his brother.
While there, late at night, he hears the grandfather clock chime thirteen times. He discovers that at this mysterious signal, he is able to walk out the door into a beautiful garden that's not there during the day.
To begin with, he just enjoys playing and
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, c20, children-s
I think it's really good. It's rather an exciting book which wants you to move on from the blurb, to the 1st page. Tom gets taken from his home because Peter, his brother, has the measles. He stays at his Uncle's.
He hates being sent away to his Uncle and Aunt's, but he does have a wonderful surprise... He than makes a great plan, before writing letters home with love...
His mysterious findings are still not found out or figured. As still a mystery, Tom gets frustrated... Weird... he can (he
I first came across this book, not in the library, but on an old PBS radio show called The Spider's Web. We did not get very good reception - the narrator's voice (Frances Shrand was her name) sometimes disappeared mid chapter but once we caught the title I hurried to the library to find it. My book had this very cover:

Technically, this should be categorized as time slip rather than time travel...
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, charming book that, like the garden in the title, may hold just as much for the reader older in years as for the young.
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Philippa Pearce OBE was an English author of children's books. Her most famous work is the time slip fantasy novel Tom's Midnight Garden, which won the 1958 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, as the year's outstanding children's book by a British subject. Pearce was four further times a commended runner-up for the Medal.

Pearce wrote over 30 books, including A Dog So Small (1962),

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