By Author / Illustrator
Emma Carroll, Kaja Kajfez
Barrington Stoke Ltd
Paperback / softback
In the first of a series of unsettling coincidences, Fran uncovers a bone in the garden of Long Barrow House on the same afternoon that Leo breaks his leg. Leo is left wheelchair bound for the rest of the summer and Fran is roped in to keep him company, forced to listen to his foolish theories about the looming threat of war in Europe.
Suddenly the garden she has loved all her life seems to hold threatening shadows of the future, and Fran starts to fear what she and Leo might find next ...
Queen of Historical Fiction, Emma Carroll, makes her Barrington Stoke debut with a powerful, evocative, and spine-tingling story of childhood on the brink of war.
Who doesn't love a good ghost story?! But as teachers, we often struggle to find content appropriate enough and content not too scary for our younger readers. The Ghost Garden is a perfect mix of a little spooky and a lovely narrative about friendship and becoming more confident.
The Ghost Garden tells the story of a pre-World War One wealthy family. Working for the family are a young girl Fran and her father. One day, Fran is working in the garden when she accidentally digs up a leg bone. Coincidentally or not, Leo (one of the wealthy members of the family) breaks his leg.
Fran becomes more and more uneasy, especially as the spooky coincidences continue to happen. Fran begins to make a link between the spooky events happening in the garden, but is soon forced to spend time with a now wheelchair-bound Leo. Together the two begin to form a bond and investigate the events further, discovering the blue prints for the land. It is here that Leo realises the events are linked to the imminent threat of war in Europe. Investigating an old burial ground, Fran and Leo are approached by a ghost army which instigates the announcement of The Great War.
Eerily spooky with an embedded plot line of friendship, this story is a great one to share with your class. There are many links to Edwardian and poor/rich divide that could easily be expanded to discuss with your class. As a shorter story (78 pages) on large font, reluctant readers will find this an interesting and slightly spooky story to read and enjoy. The characters are rich and relatable and you will find yourself eagerly awaiting the outcome for the pair in their investigations.
96 pages / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+