Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden

infobox Book |
name = Tom's Midnight Garden
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Classic UK edition cover by Susan Einzig, thought to be original 1st edition
author = Philippa Pearce
illustrator = Susan Einzig
cover_artist = Susan Einzig
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Children's, Adventure Novel
publisher = Oxford University Press
release_date = 31 December 1958
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 232 pp (first edition, hardback)
isbn = ISBN 0-19-271128-8 (first edition, hardback)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Tom's Midnight Garden" is a children's novel by Philippa Pearce. It is considered a masterpiece of English children's literature, and won the Carnegie Medal in 1958, the year of its publication. It has been adapted for radio, television, the cinema, and the stage.

Plot summary

When Tom Long's brother Peter gets measles, Tom is sent to stay with his uncle Alan and aunt Gwen in a flat with no garden and an elderly and reclusive landlady, Mrs Bartholomew. Because he may be infectious he is not allowed out to play, and feels lonely. Without exercise he is less sleepy at night and when he hears the communal grandfather clock strangely strike 13, he investigates and finds the small back yard is now a large sunlit garden. Here he meets another lonely child called Hatty, who is the only one who can see him. They have adventures which he gradually realises are taking place in the 19th century. And each night when Tom visits, Hatty is a different age, chronologically out of sequence.

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

The historical part of the book is set in the grounds of a mansion, which in many details resembles the real house in which Philippa Pearce grew up: the Mill House in Great Shelford, near Cambridge, England. At the time she was writing the book, the author was again living in Great Shelford, just across the road from the Mill House. [cite news|first=Nicholas|last=Tucker|publisher=The Independent|title=Philippa Pearce (obituary)|date=23 December 2006|accessdate=2006-12-27 |url=]

The book is regarded as classic, but it also has overtones that permeate other areas of her work. We remain in doubt for a while as to who exactly is the ghost; there are questions over the nature of time and reality; and we end up believing that the midnight garden is in fact a projection from the mind of an old lady. These time/space questions occur in other of her books, especially those dealing with ghosts. The final reconciliation between Tom, still a child, and the elderly Hatty is, many have argued, one of the most moving moments in children's fiction. [cite news|first=Nicholas|last=Tucker|publisher=The Independent|title=Philippa Pearce (obituary)|date=23 December 2006|accessdate=2006-12-27 |url=]

The theories of time of which the novel makes use derive in part from J. W. Dunne's influential 1927 work "An Experiment with Time", which also inspired others, including J. B. Priestley.

Awards and nominations

The Novel won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1958. In 2007 it was selected by judges of the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's literature as one of the ten most important children's novels of the past 70 years.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

It was dramatized by the BBC three times, in 1968, 1974, and 1988 (which aired in 1989). It was released as a full-length movie starring Anthony Way in 1999, and adapted for the stage by David Wood in 2001.

Release details

*1958, UK, Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-271128-8), Pub date: 31 December 1958, hardback (First edition)
*1992, UK, HarperCollins (ISBN 0-397-30477-3), Pub date: 1 February 1992, hardback
*2001, Adapted for the stage by David Wood, Samuel French (ISBN 0-573-05127-5)


2007 (ISBN 978-0-14-131999-5)

External links

* " [ IMDB link for movie] "

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