The Cornflower Book Group read a well-known children's book last year in December/January, and at this dark time of year (at least in the northern hemisphere) when many of us are inclined to settle down round the fire and pick up something familiar to read, I thought another children's classic might not go amiss, so I've chosen the Carnegie Medal-winning Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, first published in 1958.
"Lying awake at night, Tom hears the old grandfather clock downstairs strike . . . eleven . . . twelve . . . thirteen . . . Thirteen! When Tom gets up to investigate, he discovers a magical garden. A garden that everyone told him doesn't exist. A garden that only he can enter . . ."
If you have already read the book I hope you will welcome a re-read, and for anyone coming to it for the first time, its should be a most pleasant discovery. Philippa Pearce's books are marked by their "extreme sensitivity and consummate writing skill", and this is her best known, the critic John Rowe Townsend commenting: "I have no reservations about it. If I were asked to name a single masterpiece of English children's literature since [the Second World War] . . . it would be this outstandingly beautiful and absorbing book."
That's good enough for me and - I hope - for you, too, so please seek out a copy and read it ready for discussion from Saturday, 25th. January.
The book should be easily obtainable in paperback, there is a Kindle edition, and an audiobook, libraries should have it, US Amazon stocks it, and there may already be a copy on your children's bookshelves! I always mention The Book Depository in these posts because they offer free worldwide delivery, so in case of any local difficulty getting hold of it, they may be a solution.
If you haven't read along with the group before you are more than welcome to join us. It's open to everyone and is all very informal and good-natured - there are no rules, no commitments, you simply read the book and leave a comment on it in the discussion post, and you can be as brief or as expansive as you wish, picking up others' points in subsequent comments if you want to answer them in the 'thread' format. I apologise for being a bit later than usual with this selection, but it's a short enough work for us to read and digest by the due date, so despite the busy-ness of this time of year, I hope you'll feel moved to pick up Tom's Midnight Garden, perhaps in the post-Christmas lull, and above all, I hope you'll enjoy it.