Book of the week    




Elise Hurst: The Night Garden              


Elise Hurst captures the spirited imagination of children with her gorgeous book, The Night Garden. Inspired by her own experiences of sneaking out of bed when she was young, Hurst wanted to capture the electric feeling of looking out the window at the mysterious darkness of her childhood garden. Her illustrations beautifully capture this mystical world with watercolour and striking pen strokes to convey the dark. 

“Slowly the moon rose over the garden,

shining odd-ways and side-ways and

finally out-ways through Sally’s window.”

        The Night Garden         

Woken by the moon, Sally ventures into the night garden, followed by her delightfully cautious cat, Strange. In the garden, things are wilder than they seem. Sally is a wonderfully fearless character, curious and daring on her adventure through the garden. Hurst captures Sally’s delight simply and perfectly, with her speech and body expressions. As Sally’s wonderment grows, so does the size of the accompanying text.

A favourite section of ours from The Night Garden showcases Elise Hurst’s skill at capturing the dreamlike moment with only a handful of words:

                “All around the queer night

                wind blew cold-ways,

                up-ways and sly-ways…”


Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year (2008), The Night Garden is a wonderful bedtime story that will have everyone dreaming of the impossible. We recommend perusing Elise Hurst’s website where you will find the original illustrations that kick-started the story and a fun Strange the cat activity where you can print him out and create your own story.