top of page

Tom's Midnight Garden: John C Adams Reviews

Book name: Tom’s Midnight Garden

Author: Philippa Pearce

Publisher: OUP

Format: Print, ebook, audiobook

Genre: Vintage children’s books

Publication Date: 1958

Star Rating: 5/5

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce is an enduringly popular children’s books and it also won the Carnegie Medal.

Every time I read it, I am struck by its intense sadness.

Most children’s books involve plenty of action and danger.

Just think of Will Stanton in Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ sequence, or any of the Swallows and Amazons series of books.

Or the ‘Just William’ books by Richmal Crompton. One way or another, kids are always getting into scrapes.

Tom’s Midnight Garden is very different. Tom is sent to stay with an aunt and uncle when his brother has measles.

They live in a flat and have no children, so Tom feels very isolated.

This isolation spurs the psychological upheaval that enables Tom to be able to travel back in time to when the block of flats was a single, large home with a big garden.

That’s now sold off and is partly built over so, whenever Tom is in the garden, he knows that he has travelled back in time.

Most people can’t see Tom. This leads to a ghost-like feel, and even some concern (voiced on the back cover of the book) that Tom might be a ghost. Personally, I don’t share that view.

However, Hatty (a young girl) can see Tom. They get to know each other and Tom learns plenty about the challenges of her own life as an orphan taken in by relatives who think her a nuisance.

There is an inescapable sadness to Tom’s Midnight Garden, spurred by the isolation experienced by both Tom and Hatty in different ways. Eventually, Tom must return home to his parents and Peter, his brother.

However, the twist that supplies the happy conclusion is both unexpected and entirely credible: the best kind of plot twist.

Thank you for reading my review.

Click on this link to buy this book from Amazon via affiliate marketing, for which I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting John C Adams Reviews blog in this way.

John C Adams Reviews Tom's Midnight Garden

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might like to subscribe to my blog.

Or you might like to take a look at the Children's category of my blog.

Please consider donating a small amount to John C Adams Reviews if you have enjoyed the reviews and articles you have seen today,

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button
bottom of page