Munro's Kids's Reviews > The Night Garden

The Night Garden by Polly Horvath
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really liked it
bookshelves: kirsten, type-middle-grade, emilee

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 Night Garden fell much more into the first category than the second, I am happy to report. Set in Sooke during WWII, the setting is very close to home, which I always appreciate. The characters are admittedly silly and outrageous. Lemony Snicket is not a bad comparison. However, unlike many authors who employ quirky well past the realm of realism, I find Horvath's writing to be FUNNY (NB: I also think Snicket is hilarious. Just not all the impostors).

I chuckled my way through The Night Garden's dialogue and the main character's commentary. It wasn't at all realistic, but it was sharp, funny, and an astutely insightful exaggeration of personalities. The touch of the metaphysical also worked fine for me - I liked the Night Garden and the danger it represented, and the trouble it got people into. And while I liked that Horvath shied away from any pat or perfect endings, I would have liked a little more closure on some of the relationships that were developed during the novel (friends were made, and then they departed with very little fuss in either case, and that left me a little adrift). And while I enjoyed the story, I didn't fully notice any point or message to it. Not a terrible thing to have a non-messagy book. But I think my inability to find a main theme points to a certain lack of heart at the core which would have taken it from very enjoyable in my books to a fully excellent read.

Good for smarty-pants kids as young as 9 and up to age 13. Lots of fancy words and sophisticated observations. Very good for adults who like kid's books.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 10, 2017 – Shelved
September 10, 2017 – Shelved as: kirsten
September 10, 2017 – Shelved as: type-middle-grade
November 4, 2017 – Shelved as: emilee

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