July 10, 2015

Fiction Friday: Chapter 5

And just like that, we are back to my favorite day of the week: Friday! That means it is time for another installment of Fiction Friday. 

I was busy this week with so many other things, that I only read one book this week, but it was probably my favorite book of the summer... so far.

This week I read...

The Night Gardener
by Jonathan Auxier

Wow! Let me just say... wow! I seriously loved this book!

The Night Gardener follows the story of two Irish orphans, Molly and Kip, who travel to the sourwoods to work as servants in a creepy old English manor that has a very big secret. Not only is the eerie manor built around a dark and sinister looking tree, but something stranger is happening to the family inside. They are changing and Molly is starting to change too. The children soon realize they are dealing with something much more menacing than simply an old tree, for when the Night Gardener comes, he threatens their very survival. Molly and Kip must find the courage and strength to walk away from their desires and save the Windsor family from the tree, the gardener, and themselves.

Eloquently written, The Night Gardener is a captivating page tuner. I was impressed from page one.  You are pulled into Molly and Kip’s world with just the right amount of mystery, intrigue, and creepiness. Jonathan Auxier is clearly a master storyteller and he has just become one of my top five favorite authors!

The description and character development within the story was flawless. The characters, just like the story, are complex. You see it is not simply a spooky ghost story, but a haunting tale about human wants and desires that will resonate with readers of all ages. Woven within this tale, Auxier demonstrates the power of a good story.  One of my favorite quotes in the novel, comes from Molly, a storyteller in her own right. She tells her brother Kip, “We’ll never know. And maybe that’s the best. It’s a bad tale that has all the answers.” Well said Molly.  And this novel surely does not give you all the answers, but it does give you a lot to ponder. The story and characters will stick with the readers long after the pages have been read and the book has been closed. I know they have for me.

I would recommend this book to upper elementary students and beyond. Like the Harry Potter series, this book is not just for children. :)

Book Information:

  • 350 pages
  • Fantasy/Fable
  • 690 lexile
  • Guided Reading Level - X
  • Grade Level Equivalent - 4.9 

The lexile and grade level equivalent information I found online seems low to me. I found the prose and vocabulary to be beyond the average 4th grader. This book will appeal to higher readers who crave the description/detail and value the writer's craft.


I would feel remised if I did not direct you to Jonathan Auxier’s website: The Scop. There is tons of great information there including the fact that Disney has purchased the right to The Night Gardner and information about his new book Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (coming out January 2016). You know I’ll be preordering! And lastly, he has a playlist of all the music he listened to while writing The Night Gardener to help him create the mood of his story. If you listen, all the songs fit so perfectly. Very cool! I can’t wait to share this musical tie in with my students during writing this upcoming year. Go check it out!

Has anyone else read The Night Gardener?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If not, do you think it is a book you might read to your class or just read for personal enjoyment?  I'm a big Neil Gaiman fan (loved, loved. loved The Graveyard Book) and I think Jonathan Auxier is right up there with him as a writer and storyteller. Now, I just need to read his first book Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes. All I know is... I'll be ordering his books in hardback from now on. :)

Don't forget to click through the many great links on our Fiction Friday linky to find other great books to share with your students or just read for fun! You can link up or comment anytime (day or night) to  join the fun! Come join in the fun as we celebrate Children's Lit!

Happy Reading!!


  1. Oh! I can't wait to add these to my classroom reading list.

  2. Wonderfully written, beautifully paced, and populated by a cast of richly interesting characters, The Night Gardener kept me totally glued to the page.

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Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!