Schmitzelson Class Reviews of The Night Gardener

The Night Gardner, by Jonathan Auxier

Published by Harry N Abrams, 2014

At this year’s Canadian Children’s Book Awards, The Night Gardener won the top prize: the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (a $30,000 prize!!).

The Schmitzelson class has been reading this newly awarded book, and they’re going to give you their reviews in the comment section below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts grade sixes!

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15 thoughts on “Schmitzelson Class Reviews of The Night Gardener

  1. A book review by Anikka
    The Night Gardener is about two siblings Molly and Kip who are all alone in England and go to work at an old house in the woods. The house and the family who live there are full of mysteries. Even fuller of mysteries, is the perplexing shadowy figure that is roaming the house and garden at night. As Molly and Kip slowly unravel the secrets of the house and family they begin to develop their own secrets. Will they finally overcome these secrets, solve the mysteries, and possibly save their very own lives?

    In the Night Gardener I really liked how there were little clues that related to the big mysteries in the book and also big realizations that make your jaw drop. I enjoyed the detail in everything that happened because of how it all related or was important later on in the story. I also enjoyed the relationship between Kip and Molly and how they were close but you wondered if there was something between them. Lastly, I enjoyed the growing relationship between Molly and everyone else in the family and between Kip and Alistair.

    I think the Night Gardener would be a good book for everyone 10 years or older. I think that younger kids would have trouble with the detail and vocabulary in the book and remembering all that has happened in the book. I think this would even be a good book for people who are many years older.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Night Gardener Book Review By Chloe

    The Night Gardener is a novel written by Jonathan Auxier. It is about two young Irish children, Molly and Kip, and they are going to be servants at the Windsor manor in England. When they get to the manor, something, or someone, is waiting for them. As you continue reading, you join Molly, Kip, Galileo, Miss Penny, Alistair, Constance, and Master Winsor and they go on an amazing journey of Courage. In a way, this story sucks you into it’s vortex, and makes you want to read further, but in another way, it wants you to put the book down in fright.

    This is a very good book, and it has so many descriptive words in it, like the first sentence, it makes me imagine a clear, chilly day with no leaves on the black trees in early March. Jonathan uses so much, , that I can always paint a picture in my mind. I’d say the moral of this story would be that if you have a gut feeling, then go with it. Because sometimes the things you regret are not the things that you did do, they are the things you didn’t do.

    Overall, I’d give this book a five star rating. I’d recommend this book to anyone 10 and over. Just because it has some parts in it that I would not want to read to an 8 year old. If you are wanting something exciting to read on a day that doesn’t have a lot going on, you could pull out The Night Gardener.

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  3. Book Review–The Night Gardener
    By Selena

    The Night Gardener is a one of those powerful and well-written haunting ghost stories written by Jonathan Auxier. The book is about two Irish orphans– fourteen-year-old Molly and her ten-year-old brother Kip and a horse name Galileo, make their way through the “Sour woods” where no one who goes in ever comes out alive. To a creepy crumbling English mansion where they were hired as servants, the isolated home is spin-chilling and dark. A huge, sinister-looking tree grows next to the house and a few of its branches have actually grown through the walls to the inside. The family which owns the house seems sad, anxious and strangely unhealthy. Master Bertrand, mistress Constance and their two children Penny and Alistair Windsor grow pale and thin, their eyes and hair blacken. Molly noticed muddy footprints and dead leaf in the house every single day morning, it isn’t long before both Molly and Kip discover the mysterious night gardener, who enters the house unbidden every night. When entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree, a tree that can grant you your heart’s desire if you would like. And all it wants in return is just a piece of your soul. Molly, Kip, the Windsor and the storyteller Hester attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse. But are they too late?
    The Night Gardener is a book with beautiful, lyrical language, wonderful imagery; it gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension. Molly’s fantastical tales illustrate important life lessons even as they entertain. As the characters face the unhealthy pull of the trees enchant, they grow and change, revealing unexpected personality traits. Storytelling as a force to survive with life’s challenges is subtly expressed and adds complexity to the fast-paced story. The one thing that’s truly unique about this book is the front cover, it has the sinister big tree. The night gardener that’s holding a water can out lined in silver is standing in the tree’s shadow. In the background you can see the dead leafs, and the branches of the tree,” The Night Gardener“is written in silver on the top of the cover. Looking at the front cover, I can already tell that this book will be a frightening ghost story, and the title matches with the book cover.
    The Night Gardener is the winner of the 2015 Silver Birch Award. It was also a winner for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award. This much-anticipated follow up to Jonathan Auxier exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. The Night Gardener is a Victorian style mystery ghost tale, I recommend it to everyone that’s
    11 years old to 100 years old. The story uses Young Adult literature but is scary enough for adults or seniors. If you are 10 years old or younger please be aware that you will have nightmares. I truly enjoyed this book and I hope you will also enjoy reading it.

    Check out more new books at Reading With Wallace

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Night Gardener Book Review by Andrew

    The Night Gardener is a book written by Canadian author, Jonathan Auxier. The Night Gardener is a ghost story and used cliffhangers at the end of chapters to create an intense read. The book cover, with its dark and eerie colours, represents the myth of the story, the Night Gardener. The black trimmed pages, which I thought was kind of over the top but know what the author was attempting to do, was an interesting approach to show the dark setting.

    This story takes place in Victorian-era England, with an orphaned Irish teen named Emily with her limp younger brother Kip, who find themselves a job at a odd house for an oddly pale Windsor family. The mother of the family, Constance, warns them about working at the house, but Emily persists. The family consists of two children, Penny and Alistair, and their father, Bertrand. After working at the house for mere days things get strange. Alistair has a seemingly unlimited supply of candy. Constance has a ring which she claims she has had since her marriage, however, it is always the perfect size. Emily sees a tall and slim man, wearing a top hat, lurking around the house at night. Emily is motivated to find the answers to these unusual events. What she discovers is an eerie and terrifying curse on the house and the family.

    Overall, this book is one of my personal favourites. It deserved to win this year’s Canadian Children’s Literature Award. If you are the person who needs to read, or a person who likes horror films, then this is the perfect book for you. I would recommend this book to anyone over 10 years of age because it just wants you to read more and more. Of note, I would not recommend reading late at night.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Night Gardener Book Review By Jorja

    The Night Gardener is a spine-chilling novel that follows two young Irish children fighting for their very lives. Fourteen-year-old Molly and eleven year old Kip have come by horse to work as servants (with no pay) at The Windsor Manor, a creepy English home right outside the sourwoods. The roots of the creepy tree growing outside the house stab through the walls of the house, making the house even more disturbing. Little do they know, the Windsor’s are also not what they seem. Not long after they arrive, everyone quickly changed. The pale faces of Molly, Kip, the two Windsor children, along with Mistress Windsor and Master Windsor can only lead to one explanation. With clues, they start to crack the code. But will they make it out alive?

    Throughout the book, there were many parts that had no suspense whatsoever, yet the author had a captivating way of hooking you with rich similes, which is something I really enjoyed. When I was reading on a lazy day when you felt like doing nothing, somehow Jonathan Auxier set a suspenseful tone at the end of every chapter. This meant that anytime I finished a chapter, I would always be intrigued to read on, which is also another great literary device. On the other hand, sometimes I didn’t feel intrigued at the end of the chapters. At the end of most chapters, I had found that the author had a way of almost stretching out the ending, instead of bringing the chapter to a close too quickly. Yet, some chapters had just finished too bland and boring. Because of this, I would have sometimes stopped because it almost felt like they were trying to finish the book when they were really just finishing a chapter. Another thing I thought Jonathan Auxier could have worked on was using more alliteration and many other literary devices. If he would have done this, I would have been much more intrigued to read further. Staying on topic, another tip for the author (my opinion) would have for him to not just add suspense into the end of chapters, but the end of the story. In my opinion, the middle brought suspension and excitement, we were all looking forward to seeing the ending, and it had ended fairly quickly. If I were in the author’s shoes, I would have used more descriptive language to leave the reader feeling suspenseful at the end. For example, “He charged for the edge of the cliff, sending himself- and the night Gardener- into the river below”. A way the author could have made this more suspenseful could have been “ his heart, racing with fear, he yanked the night gardeners pitch black coat, diving into the rocky river, taking the man with him.”

    For my age recommendations, I decided to do a test. I had asked my 9-year-old brother to read one page from this book and asked him his age opinion. I thought that this would be great way to see rather than just using my own opinion. My Brother had trouble with a few of the words, I had found that the main words that he couldn’t understand were the old folks words, which you can’t really blame him for. I know even for me, it took quite a bit of time to get used to the old style language used throughout the book. Instead of focusing on the complicated old words, I had focused on the fluency of his words. My brother is a very strong reader and excels in writing and reading. Back to fluency, his words got jumbled at a few points. Once he was done, I had asked him to recall a part in the page. Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t. Because of this, I would put an age rating of ages 11 and up. Again this is mainly because of the confusing words and the use of old language, which most kids under this age wouldn’t understand.

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  6. Book Review
    The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

    By: Nadia

    In this book there are two siblings, Kip and Molly. They were traveling to a house in the sourwoods for work. They had to go alone because their parents were somewhere in the ocean in the middle of nowhere. Other travelers that they came across said this house was a terrible place and they should go back to where they came from right away. They kept going anyway. When the two siblings got there they almost weren’t accepted. Molly convinced the Mistress to let them stay. It seemed like a normal place, except for one thing, a tree. This tree had grown into the house and was somehow a part of it. If that tree was removed the whole house would collapse. On the first night, Kip saw a man in the fog. He immediately told Molly, yet she didn’t believe him. A few more days into their work at the Windsors, the Mistress’s daughter Penny told Molly about the night man and how he walked through the halls at night. Molly still didn’t believe in him, until she did. One night she heard him. She saw him doing something to the tree. It looked like he was watering the tree, but not with water. She then knew he was real.

    This book is unlike any other. It is a horror story, a mystery and at some points you could call it a legend. The part when the night man is collecting liquid to water the tree and Kip and Molly are watching him is all those things at once. This book is so descriptive that it paints a picture in your head when you read it. If you are really into it, it’s like watching a movie, only you are watching the movie in your head. This is one of my favorite mystery/horror books that I have read in a long time.

    I would recommend this book to people around the age of ten to thirteen. I am saying this because they would stay the most engaged in it. Anyone much older would get bored reading it and anybody younger wouldn’t understand what was happening half the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Book Review by Denya
    The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

    The Night Gardener is a haunting story about two young Irish siblings named Molly and Kip who get an unpaid job as servants at the remote Windsor Manor. On their journey to the house they meet an old lady who warns them about the house and that no one that has ever entered the Sourwoods has come out alive. When they arrive they noticed that the house was built around a large, black tree with its mysterious roots sticking out of the ground around them and its branches extend through the walls into the house. The Windsor family all have pale skin and seem weary. The siblings start to feel unsafe due to the terrifying nightmares and the muddy footprints Molly has found every morning in the house. Soon they realize that an evil creature known as the “Night Man” has been taking care of the horrifying tree and has also bound the Windsor Family to the house. Will Molly and Kip be able to escape the Night Mans curse and save the Windsor Family?

    Jonathan Auxier writes in a very unique way. When he writes it’s almost like you are being sucked into the book since he adds so much detail. I liked how at the end of every chapter Jonathan Auxier wrote a cliff hanger which made you think about what will happen next. I enjoyed reading the similes that were included in the text. I think that when a writer adds figurative language to the writing it makes the read more interesting. Jonathan Auxier taught many lessons throughout the book. However, I think that the main lesson was: sometimes trusting the people around you can help solve big problems or mysteries.

    I recommend this book for children ages 10 and older. I think that children under 10 may have some trouble understanding the real meaning of the story that is being told. I also think that they may have trouble with the vocabulary since the author chose to use challenging words. I know that the students that read the Night Gardener in our class are between ages 10 to 12. This is why I chose ages 10 and older.

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  8. Thanks for your reviews, grade sixes!

    I got the time to read The Night Gardener over the holiday break, and I really enjoyed it. I read most of it in a secluded cabin in the mountains in front of a roaring fire, which for me added to the spookiness of the story. I went into it thinking maybe some of you were exaggerating how scary it was, but once I got to the end-ish of the novel, it took a very morbid and dark turn that I am not use to seeing in children’s literature, so I should have heeded your warnings.

    I love that the novel took place in Victorian England. Mostly for purely selfish reasons: I love everything to do with the Victorians. I thought the author did an excellent job of capturing a gothic tone, and was able to write in an “Victorian” way that wasn’t too elevated, which I think would make it harder for younger readers to understand. Though I agree with the comments that most of you made of this novel probably being too mature and hard to read for children under 10.

    I think Kip was probably my favorite character because of how much he grew during the course of the novel. He started as a naïve, fragile young boy who by the end of the novel had proven his emotional maturity. He more than proved to his sister that he could handle hard truths.

    I also really enjoyed the Night Gardener himself, simply due to his scare factor. Sleeping is when we are arguably in our most vulnerable states, and imagining a figure like the Night Gardener looming over me while I slept is enough to cause some sleepless nights!! He was a great, spooky ghost-like villain.

    Thanks again, grade sixes. It was fun reading with you!


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