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Literature / The Night Garden

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The Night Garden is a middle school novel by Polly Horvath.

The year is 1945, and Franny Whitekraft lives with her adoptive parents Sina (short for Thomasina) and Old Tom on a farm in Vancouver. Because of the war effort, Franny's school's roof is sinking. So, the school has decided to have Spring vacation instead of Summer vacation that year. At the beginning of this vacation, one of the neighbours, known as Crying Alice, asks Old Tom and Sina to look after her kids, Winifred, Wilford, and Zebediah, while Alice goes to the army base her husband, known as Fixing Bob, works at to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid.


Crying Alice's children seem to adjust well to working on the farm. Wilfred in particular becomes quite helpful to Old Tom. However, the other kids notice Zebediah seems to be getting letters from their dad that he's not willing to share with them. Soon, they find themselves caught up in events that nearly endanger the whole farm.

The book was published on September 12th, 2017.

The Night Garden contains examples of:

  • The '40s: The book is set in 1945.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Night Garden has the power to grant the wish of anyone who goes into it at night. However, the person only gets one, and the wish cannot be undone, even by another wish.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The four main kids the story focuses on are made up of two girls (Franny and Winifred) and two boys (Wilfred and Zebediah).
  • Happily Adopted: Franny was supposed to go to another family, but the worker at the orphanage left her with Sina and Old Tom. When nothing further happened they kept her. She's quite happy there regardless.
    • Zebediah is also adopted by Crying Alice's family, and is quite happy with them.
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  • The Hermit: One lives on the edge of the farm's property. Zebediah visits him frequently during his time on the farm and gets the codes to activate The Argot from him for his dad.
  • In-Series Nickname: Alice is know as Crying Alice because of her tendency to start crying at the drop of a hat. Her husband, Bob, is called Fixing Bob because of his job fixing and maintaining an army plane that he later steals. He tries to dub himself Flying Bob after having flown it.
    • Tom is known as Old Tom, and his wife, Thomasina, is known as Sina.
  • Lethal Chef: Gladys tends to burn every meal she makes. She insists it's because she doesn't have any music to listen to while cooking.
  • Local Hangout: Brookman's, a general store on the edge of a town, is this for all the local farmers. It's where Sina goes to sell all the milk and eggs produced on the farm, and where her and other local women go to gossip and listen to the radio.
  • Location Title
  • Token Minority: Of the children in the book, Zebediah is black.


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