The Night Gardener
by Jonathan Auxier
Amulet Books, 2014. 350 pgs. Fantasy
On a "March-morning-that-felt-like-October" two red-headed Irish children, a girl named Molly and a boy named Kip, are making their way towards the Sourwoods with a "borrowed" horse and wagon. The children have been hired to work for the Windsor family who have just moved in to a wretched and frightening old house in the middle of the very wretched and frightening woods. The house and grounds are dominated by an enormous tree which seems to be cared for by a mysterious figure in black--the night gardener--who leaves muddy bootprints in the house and seems to be stealing something from the sleeping figures within. The Night Gardener is the story of two brave and resourceful children who have only Kip's crutch named Courage left from their parents, and who must figure out a way to save themselves and the Windsor family from the tree and its caretaker, who will give you anything you want, but will also take everything you have. Give this fine story to fifth or sixth graders who like atmospheric, literary ghost stories.