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.