A tree, not unlike some of the ancient giants of a Pacific Northwest forest, is an unfriendly presence in Jonathan Auxier’s children’s horror novel, The Night Gardener. A novel perfect for scaring yourself silly in these dark, damp days of autumn. You may never look at a tree in your garden in the same way ever again.
From the very beginning, the reader is oddly disturbed by this tree that entwines an old, broken down mansion. Molly and Kip, who are orphaned and desperately poor, have come to work in this house as servants and they immediately sense some evil afoot when their master, mistress, and their two children grow pale and thin, with eyes and hair blackening. Seeking to find an answer, Molly goes into a forbidden room to find the tree’s knothole —the heart of the tree that produces whatever one desires whether it be money, jewels, or candy. The price is simply a piece of the person’s soul. Muddy footprints, dead leaves in the house, and a presence at night marks the night gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from the brows of those having nightmares and uses it to water the tree.
Nightmares may very well be a consequence for young readers of the mystery novel, The Disappearance of Emily H by Barrie Summy. The main character, Raine, has a magical ability to see sparkles, which when caught are memories that people have around them. Raine has moved yet again to a fifth new school so she knows how to cope as a new girl but it is the house that she and her mother have moved into that seems to dazzle her unconscious mind. It is the very house that Emily Huvar had lived in only two months ago, before she mysteriously disappeared and is now presumed dead. It is Raine’s ability to see sparkles that link the disappearance to a mean girl’s bullying — but how does she prove it to the authorities without sounding weird?
Check out some other scary fiction, recommended by our youth services librarians:
With all this in hand, some delicious nightmares await you this October!
~posted by Diane C.