Tom's Midnight Garden

“Tom’s Midnight Garden” was written exactly 50 years’ ago, by Philippa Pearce and won the Carnegie Medal. It is a magical story of a young boy, who goes to stay in a large old house, whose garden has been sold off, with the building turned into apartments. The plot turns around what happens when the grandfather clock downstairs strikes midnight 13 times, after which Tom finds he can go into the garden as it was in the nineteenth century and make the acquaintance of a lonely young girl who plays there, Hatty. Only she and the gardener are able to see him. The gardener believes he is an evil spirit. It is a beautifully written story, bathed in a deep sense of loss (something the author is very good at at in other books, too) about the people and the places, from the past, who have been swept away by time and who or which will never be known by those who come after them. Paradoxes of time travel are explored, as when Tom asks Hatty to place her ice skates in a particular hiding place in the house. He is then able to retrieve them, during the day, before his night time adventures, which include both him and Hatty wearing the same pair of skates, hers brand new and his very old! There is a really poignant twist at the end. I have read it to several children, all of whom were enthralled by it – as I was and am.

sichtbar sichtbar 46-50 4 Responses Nov 28, 2008

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Another classic book by Pearce, "The Minnow on the Say", which I would recommend to anyone, has the same sense of sadness and loss, as well and one particularly poignant scene. PP did lose her husband, after a very short marriage, and never remarried. I suspect that her bereavement played a part.

I read that story, too. It's that "I wish I could be a kid again" story. I got that sense of sadness and loss, too, and wondred why.

I really recommend it to both of you. I remember having Pooh read to me, when I was very young. I loved it and those brilliant illustrations by EH Shephard. It was many years later that I discovered the two little books of poems, "When we were very young" and "Now we are Six", by A A Milne, also written for Christopher Robin. They are really delightful.

Thanks for the suggestion, I haven't read this book but it sounds nice.