Thumps in the night? Check!
Mysterious spirits? Check!
Forbidden rooms? Check!
The perfect ingredients for a DELIGHTFULLY CREEPY story!
Molly and Kip are surviving without their parents, traveling the countryside in search of work and safety. Molly is hired to work as a servant at the mysterious old Windsor house. As they travel to the house, they are warned several times about staying out of the "Sourwoods" and told to stay away from the house and the people in it. But, work is work, and they move forward.
Upon arrival, Molly and Kip meet a very welcoming daughter, Penny, a not-so-welcoming Mistress Windsor, and brother Alistair, who has a strange collection of candy with him at all times. As Molly works to improve the state of the house, she can't help but notice things that are out of the ordinary. She sees a portrait, reportedly from the previous summer, showing a glowing and healthy family. However, the people in front of her are pale and withdrawn. There is a mysterious green door in the hall, locked with a large iron bolt, to which the Mistress has supposedly lost the key. And there is a tree outside...a huge, hulking tree that has grown into the house and taken over the land around it. Finally, Molly starts waking up in the night to sounds...strange THUMPS in the night. In the morning, the house is covered with dead leaves. When she wakes one morning with a dead leaf in her hair, she and her brother decide to get to the bottom of things.
This book is nearly perfect, from the descriptions of the setting, to the characters. It's creepy, but not too creepy (unless you are afraid of the dark...maybe don't read it before bed?) I think it will be a perfect recommendation for kids who loved Doll Bones, Wait Till Helen Comes, and A Tale Dark and Grimm.
Definitely a perfect addition to any upper grade classroom library! Have you read The Night Gardener? I'd love to hear what you think!