Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: The Night Gardener

What’s your Newbery prediction? THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier is an eerie dark fantasy sure to make the short-list.

In the vein of horror classics by authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving, two Irish orphans are drawn to a spooky house in the woods surrounded by an even creepier tree. As readers become immersed in the story, they’re struck with a foreboding feeling that only an extraordinary author such as Auxier can conceive. The author’s vivid descriptions, fast-paced writing style, and compelling themes make this an unforgettable tale.

Divided into three sections named arrivals, pursuits, and departures, readers are taken on an exciting journey with a satisfying conclusion that keeps the door open for another adventure.

Teacher librarians will find this book perfect for discussions about the role of truth, lies, wishes, and the nature of storytelling. It’s also a great way to introduce youth to gothic tales from the 19th century.

Like Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Coraline, dark fantasy for the middle grades seems to be increasingly popular.

Many youth start their passion for horror fiction with works by R. L. Stine. Use THE NIGHT GARDENER to provide a transition to more sophisticated themes and storylines.

To learn more about this popular new author, check out his website at

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