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The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story
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The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story

4.4 287
by Mary Downing Hahn
 

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When Ashley discovers a turn-of-the-century doll it is just the first of several puzzling events that lead her through the hedge and into a twilight past where she meets Louise, an ailing child whose beloved doll has mysteriously disappeared.

Overview

When Ashley discovers a turn-of-the-century doll it is just the first of several puzzling events that lead her through the hedge and into a twilight past where she meets Louise, an ailing child whose beloved doll has mysteriously disappeared.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thoughtful, entertaining fare for the middle grades." —Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hahn's captivating fantasy tells of two friends who unearth a mysterious doll in a tangled, neglected rose garden. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- A young girl helps her cantankerous elderly landlord to resolve a childhood act that caused the woman lifelong guilt. Ashley follows a white cat back in time and meets Louisa, a girl who is dying and who longs for her beloved doll--a doll that Ashley and her friend Kristi have found buried in Miss Cooper's garden. In the end Ashley, Kristi, and Miss Cooper visit Louisa; the woman is able to make am mends with her childhood friend, and Ashley begins to accept her father's death. Hahn's portrayal of crotchety Miss Cooper is expertly drawn, giving vivid insight into why she acts and lives as she does. Ashley, her widowed mother, and Kristi are also fully realized characters. When Hahn sticks to her story, it moves along at a steady, scary clip. However, when she lapses into lengthy descriptions of flowers, birds, and landscape, she slows the pace of the story rather than creates the intended atmosphere. Ashley's first-person narrative often gets bogged down in a flowery adult voice, particularly in the descriptions: ``As still as the cherub behind me, I watched the leaves sway in the breeze. Sunlight and shadow mottled the ground, and the weeds whispered to themselves, lulling me like distant voices of children at play.'' Still, it's an imaginative ghost story, fairly predictable, but with a completely satisfying ending. --Trev Jones, ``School Library Journal''

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618873159
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/18/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
24,454
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Cat Hater

The day we moved into Monkton Mills,, I made an enemy of our new landlady. My mother and I were renting the top floor of what had once been a big single-family house, and the owner, Miss Cooper, was sitting on the front porch when we arrived in our rented truck. She watched us walk up the sidewalk toward the house, and the first thing she said was "What's in there?"

She was speaking to me, but she was looking at the plastic cat carrier I was toting.

"It's my cat Oscar," I said, trying hard not to stare at her. Miss Cooper was the oldest human being Id ever seen. Her face was furrowed with wrinkles, and her nose jutted out like a hawk's beak, sharp and cruel. The hand grasping her cane was knotted with veins, and her collarbones stuck out above the loose neckline of her flowered dress.

The real estate agent who'd helped us find a place we could afford had warned Mom and me that Miss Cooper wasn't very friendly and didn't particularly like children. So., hoping to soften the old woman's heart', I smiled politely at her. "Would you like to see him?"

"Certainly not!" Miss Cooper levered herself up from her rocking chair, and the old dog sleeping beside her got up too and growled. He was black and not very big, but he had a sharp, pointed nose and a mean look around the eyes.

"I detest cats," Miss Cooper went on. "You take that creature upstairs right now and don't ever let me see it in the yard. If it kills one bird, I'll send it straight to the pound!"

"Grrrr," said the dog who obviously hated cats as much as his mistress did.

I looked at Mom. She was shifting her heavytypewriter case from one hand to the other, her face worried. "I'm Jan Cummings:' She stuck out her free hand and smiled, but Miss Cooper merely stared at her.

"'And this is Ashley," Mom continued, her smile fading. "I'm sorry you weren't here the day Mrs. Walker showed me the apartment. "

"Ashley." Miss Cooper turned back to me and sniffed. "What kind of name is that? It doesn't sound proper for a girl" She poked her face closer to mine. "How old are you?"

"Almost eleven," I said, backing off a little. Up close, she was kind of scary.

"Almost? That means ten, if you ask me." Miss Cooper frowned, adding even more creases to her forehead, and the dog moved a little closer, sniffing at Oscar's carrier. "Well, I'm eighty-eight, and I know what girls your age are like," she went on. "Don't think you can get away with anything just because I'm old. There's nothing wrong with my eyes or my ears, missy"

"Don't worry about Ashley," Mom said. Putting her arm around my shoulders, she drew me close. "She won't give you any trouble."

Miss Cooper turned her attention to Mom. "Where's Mr. Cummings?" she asked.

Mom's face reddened. "It's just Ashley and me," she said calmly.

"Divorced?" Miss Cooper leaned toward us, taking in every detail: Mom's tall, thin figure, her long brown hair, her faded jeans, her old tee shirt, and me, a smaller version of Mom right down to my freckles and worn-out running shoes. Then she sniffed and turned away. "Come on, Max)" she snapped at the dog who was growling at the pet carrier.

Two steps later, she looked back. "I don't want a lot of noise up there," she said. "I'll complain to the real estate company if my sleep is disturbed."

We stood where we were and watched the old woman shuffle inside and slam the door behind her. In the sudden silence, Mom and I looked at each other.

"Well" Mom said,, so much for a friendly welcome." With a sigh, she followed the sidewalk around the comer to a steep flight of stairs at the back of the house. They were more like a fire escape than anything else, and I was glad we didn't have much more furniture; the movers had brought the heavy things earlier. But getting the little that was left up to our apartment wasn't going to be easy.

Mom paused on the porch at the top of the steps. "Isn't the lawn lovely?" she asked.

I stared down at the neatly mown expanse of grass that swept away from the house. In its center was a circular bed of bright flowers. Bird feeders hung from several trees, and a pair of catbirds splashed in a stone bath.

In sharp contrast, an overgrown mass of shrubbery and towering weeds cast a shadow across the end of the yard. It must have been a rose garden once, but, from the took of it, the bushes had grown wild for years. Honeysuckle, wild flowers, and weeds struggled together to reach the sun.

Tall hedges bordered both sides of the lawn, but from the porch I could see across them. Next door was a big white house similar to Miss Cooper's, trimmed with fancy woodwork and graced with porches front and back, well-tended despite the bicycles in the driveway. On the other side was an empty lot, grown high with Queen Anne's lace and black-eyed Susans.

"Can I let Oscar out of his carrier now ?" I asked Mom. He was meowing and sticking his paw through the bars like a prisoner in a jail movie.

"Put him in your room and close the door, Ash," Mom said. "We don't want him to run outside while we're carrying things in."

My room was at the back of the house, and from my windows I could see the yard, the garden, and the empty field next door. Way beyond were the mountains, hazy blue against the sky.

The Doll in the Garden. Copyright © by Mary Hahn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Thoughtful, entertaining fare for the middle grades." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

Meet the Author

MARY DOWNING HAHN, a former children’s librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Wait Till Helen Comes, which is being adapted for film. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her cat, Oscar. Visit her online at www.marydowninghahnbooks.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Doll in the Garden 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 286 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The doll in the garden is a spooky, mysterious type of book. It tells about how a little girl found a doll in a garden and there's a whole story behind it. I would recommend this book to people who are 9 and up. It is a very good book for someone who likes ghost stories. I bet you would like it if you read it. The cover of the book is very creepy and gives a ghostly impression. I like books by Mary Downing Hahn and I think you would to. This book keeps you wondering what happened and makes you want to read it more and more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like horror and suspense than you MUST get this book. This book is very thrilling to read because you never know what will happen next. I really recomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book from Hahn. Reading other books of hers, I find this on more intriguing than the others are from her. Even if you are the type of person who does not like to read, this book will get you to where you cannot stop. You go on an interesting journey with the characters, and you keep asking, what kind of trouble will the characters get into? In the book, you will meet `10 year old Ashley and her mother who move from Baltimore to a new town, hoping it would be a nice place to settle down after the death of Ashley's father. There you will meet Miss. Cooper, their property owner, and their neighbor, Kristi. She is only a few years younger than Ashley is, and they become friends. Only they do not know how much trouble they will be getting into by disobeying Miss. Cooper's rules of staying out of her garden.I find this book captivating. This is the type of book I see myself reading it repeatedly. I started to read Hahn's books three years ago, and have never stopped. I would recommend these books to all ages. I would especially recommend you read, "The Doll in the Garden A Ghost Story." I caught myself reading this book until I had to stop. If you like to read ghost or paranormal books, this is for you. It keeps you guessing throughout the whole book. You can never guess what kind of trouble they are going to cause one moment after another.I very much enjoyed reading this story. I would mainly recommend it to readers over the age of eight, but anyone can read it. Overall, this is one of my favorite books by Mary Downing Hahn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is excellent for a young reader. This book was captivating, I just wanted to read more and more. I read this book in Middle school and I am 26 years old now and I still love this book! This book belongs on my book shelf. It is wonderful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was one of my fave books it was very suspensful and thrilling! you never knew what would happen to the girl in the past! i think it was one of the best books mary downing hahn wrote!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book last year, and I want to buy it it was that good! I definately reccomend this story to anyone who can read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book talks about a girl and her friend finding a doll in an old ladys garden! But theirs something about that doll and the old lady...........read to find out what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was taken back to my own childhood reading this aloud to my daughter, 9...reliving the joy and thirst I felt when I read as child. At first, I had to coerce my daughter to sit still so that I could read this book to her, (she's impatient and does not like to read), then she wouldn't let me put it down. Parched, three hours later we finished and she hungers for more, anxious to read more on her own. She asked if we could 'lose' the library book, so she could keep it (reimburse the library for it). I enjoyed this book as much as she did. We're buying one! This is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love ghost stories so I decided to read this one,it was great!I recemend this book to anyone who loves ghost stories!Sorry about the spelling!
Dizzietese More than 1 year ago
I was never one for reading and while I was in school they made us read books for the A.R. Reading program. This was about six or seven years ago. I started failing my reading class because I couldn't finish reading the books on the A.R. list. My teacher introduced me to this author and after that I got where I was passing the class and always reading. To this day, I always have a book in my purse or in my hands. This author is wonderful and I thank her works for turning me on to the wonderful world of reading and I thank my teacher for showing me the kind of books I like to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books you will ever read! I could not put it down it was soooo good!READ IT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book for a book report i loved this book and i would hate to live up stairs from mrs.cooper i felt bad for Ashley.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have read all 3 ghost storys & loved all.i have also started to read december stillness.my point is as soon as u read wait till helen comes or doll in the garden u will want to read the rest of mary downing hahn's books.they are all great sofar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tell me why or why not ...... use headlines as (-ELi)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWESOME BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite book from mary dawning hahn. Im those kind of people who only like mystery books. If ur like me get this book right now. In some part around chapter 13 i started to cry. I read this book in the time period of maybe 3 hours. I couldnt put this book down!!!!! Im 11 years old and i recommend this book for everyone. This book had a few spelling errors but this is the best book i have ever read
Becky Fox More than 1 year ago
i did like this book but i did expect more from it. it was an ok book
animalchick More than 1 year ago
This book has a great storyline but it is hard to read because of a;; the grammar and spelling mistakes. You spend most of your time pointing them out. Over all it ws a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first time I read this book was when I was a little girl. I am 26 now and still love it!! It's a fun story with mystery.
Liam46 More than 1 year ago
The book I read was The Doll in the Garden, written by Mary Downing Hahn. This is the summary of the book. It starts with a girl named Ashley Cummings and her mother. They move into a house in the country. Ashley woke up every night at midnight because she heard what she thought was a girl crying. She later met a girl whose name was Kristi. They became friends. Ashley told Kristi about the crying girl. Kristi had heard the crying also. They were both scared of what they kept hearing, but they didn't talk about it much at all. Ashley and Kristi later found a doll in the garden of the house, under a thorn bush, while they were playing outside. It was old and worn out doll. Ashley and Kristi showed the doll to all the neighbors and the next door neighbor, Mrs. Cooper said that it was her doll from years ago and asked if she could have it back. The girls gave the doll to Mrs. Cooper. Later on Ashley would meet a mysterious girl named Luisa. Luisa was a young, nice little girl who lived in a house in the middle of a nearby field. She was younger by three or so years than Ashley. She liked dolls. She had two dolls and told Ashley about her third doll and how she had lent it to a friend and never got it back. Ashley realized that the description of the doll was the one she had found in the garden. She went to Mrs. Cooper to ask if she could have it back, but Mrs. Cooper wanted what was hers, and didn't want to give it up. They talked her into letting go of the doll because a friend they had just met named Luisa was looking for that very same doll. Mrs. Cooper, who was surprised by what the girls told her, then told the girls that she had borrowed the doll from a little girl named Luisa over 70 years ago, but the girl had died of an illness at the age of nine. There were things I liked and disliked about the book. The reading was nice and clear and I could understand the vocabulary. The book kept my interest and the plot was great. I liked how it started and I really liked the ending. I didn't like some of the characters that were brought into the book. Some of them made no sense to me. They should have put a few more details in the book, where it got a bit confusing. The authors style of writing is in the first person. It follows Ashley around. There is no narrator. The book is literary style. The story is clear and it's easy to understand the point of the book. The book is straight forward and very believable. I would recommend this book to everyone because it has a good plot and mostly very good characters. There are other similar novels from this author, like Wait till Helen Comes and The Old Willis Place. I have read them all and The Old Willis Place is definitely my favorite of the three of them. She is a great writer and I just enjoy reading the books she writes. I would also recommend the book To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a great classic book. The Outsiders is another great classic book as well. In conclusion, I feel a connection between myself and the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book and let me tell ypu somtin it is the best its so interesting and every time something else happen it make me want to read more when i first read it i couldnt stop readiing it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an incredably great book! I was a little timid to read it because of the whole ghost factor! but honestly it isn't as scary as you would think! I loved it beacuse you could relate to it,it has great conflict, and the author really knows how to keep you in the book and give you great visualls in your mind! IT is a really inturging book full of excitement! I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is the best book that i have ever read. I have liked many books in my life but this is my by far my most favorite book. I read it when I was younger and back tehn I was not a very good reader and I hated to read but I could barely put this book down once I started reading. I like it so much I had to read Wait till hellen comes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was a little girl I used to love to read. Reading was a way to live the nicer life I always wanted. This book is written so elaborately that it allows children of all reading levels to develop a great imagination. All I can say is that the book takes you to another world. I highly recommend this read to children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book because it was exciting. It was one of those books that really catches your attention. If you like scary stories and books with great endings you should read this awesome book. I have read this book three times and each time it gets better. I think almost anyone who reads it including boys will like it.