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The Doll in the Garden    by Mary Downing Hahn order for
Doll in the Garden
by Mary Downing Hahn
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2007 (1989)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Ashley Cummings and her mother leave Baltimore and their unhappy memories after her dad dies of cancer. They move into an apartment over a crabby old woman who threatens to toss them out almost before they finish moving in. She doesn't like children or cats.

In spite of Miss Cooper, Ashley likes their new apartment. The back yard has two gardens. One with clipped hedges, mowed grass and a well-kept, weedless flower bed. Ashley prefers the second garden which is further from the house. It's wild and unkempt as if no one has touched it in years, with honeysuckle, wild flowers, overgrown bushes, and towering weeds, all struggling together to reach the sun. It will be the perfect place for a hideout.

On her first day, Ashley glimpses a white cat. Knowing how Miss Cooper feels about her own cat who is never allowed out of the apartment, Ashley decides to rescue the cat before Miss Cooper calls the pound to pick it up. She also meets Kristi, a girl her own age, who lives next door. They become instant friends as they commiserate over Miss Cooper who doesn't like Kristi any more than she does Ashley. She accuses Kristi of spying on her.

Kristi tells Ashley the wild tangled garden she loves so much is haunted. Ashley is sure she is joking until she awakens in the night to hear a baby crying outside her window. As in all ghost stories, the adults never believe in the haunting. Ashley and Kristi explore the wild garden even though they've been forbidden to go there. They find a doll buried there and explore a friendship that ended many years before.

Hahn is an award winning author who is known for her ghost stories. The Doll in the Garden, one of the earlier ones, is still able to entertain and fascinate young readers.

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