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The Doll in the Garden
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About the Author

Mary Downing Hahn, a former children's librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland. Visit her online at www.marydowninghahnbooks.com.

Reviews

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''

After the death of her father, Ashley and her mother move to a new town to start over. Ashley doesn't mind their small, second-floor apartment, but she takes an immediate dislike to grumpy Miss Cooper, the owner of the house. Fascinated by the tangled, overgrown rose garden in the back yard, Ashley and her new friend Kristi explore the neglected, forbidden area. When she and Kristi unearth an antique doll buried beneath one of the bushes, Ashley soon finds herself entangled in a ghostly past and its ties to the present. In evidence is Hahn's usual detail-oriented prose, which deftly sets the stage for intrigue; the author of Wait Till Helen Comes and other acclaimed books has created a captivating fantasy that explores friendship, grief and the interconnectedness of events in time. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)

p>"Thoughtful, entertaining fare for the middle grades." --Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

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