The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener
Written by Jonathan Auxier

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

Primary Source Pairing:
Molly and Kip have few options and when faced with living on the streets or living in crumbling house that is built around a massive tree, they choose the house. In this haunting story, the reader discovers just how scary this massive tree is as the story unfolds. Author Jonathan Auxier has woven a truly magnificent story that has all the elements of fear and mystery children need to keep reading at night, but with the light on.

In the Author’s Note, Auxier cites many books that served as inspiration to him while writing The Night Gardener including Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent by Washington Irving, which includes the stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” and the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Pair these covers of the books with the cover of The Night Gardener to have students draw comparisons between them. This is also an opportunity to talk about author inspiration and how we all can be inspired by other books and works of literature when we write.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What do you notice about the book covers?
  • What is similar about these book covers when comparing them to The Night Gardener? What is different?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett

Book Cover Collage images: (photo collage made by JMarek)
Something Wicked This Way Comes:
Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent:
Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
Rip Van Winkle:
The Secret Garden: