Last week, the Charles Dickens Book Club held its first meeting to discuss “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Philippa Pearce. We began by discussing our overall impressions of the book and then thought about the author’s intentions when writing the book and whether or not she had been successful. Our discussion was mature and thoughtful – read on to hear about some the children’s key observations.
Although lots of the group had found the book quite difficult at first and thought it was less thrilling than some of their favourite modern novels, they were pleased that they had stuck with it – as the ending was agreed to be fantastic! We decided that sometimes it’s worth sticking with more “difficult” books as they can end up leaving a longer lasting impression than “easy” reads.
Some of the group were put off by Philippa’s use of description but others felt that they really came to care about the characters of Tom and Hattie. We discussed how Philippa spends a long time on the build up to the high point of the story, with the resolution which concluded quite quickly with the clever twist – perhaps this is something that Year Six could try to copy in their writing!
We also agreed that the novel was a good way to learn about the past – we were able to draw comparisons between the Victorian era, the 1950s and the present day. We also realised that it was possible to compare Tom’s Midnight Garden with Street Child which we read last term – they showed the two extremities of the Victorian period!
The Charles Dickens Book Club will return next half term when we will be comparing Betsey Byars’ “The Eighteenth Emergency” and “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler” by Gene Kemp.