John Rowe Townsend

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 182

Miss Pearce has … the storyteller's gift,… the novelist's power to create memorable people and the almost-architectural ability to complete a properly balanced and proportioned work. Tom's Midnight Garden (1958) is as near as any book I know to being perfect in its construction and writing, while satisfying also as...

(The entire section contains 182 words.)

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Miss Pearce has … the storyteller's gift,… the novelist's power to create memorable people and the almost-architectural ability to complete a properly balanced and proportioned work. Tom's Midnight Garden (1958) is as near as any book I know to being perfect in its construction and writing, while satisfying also as fantasy and as a story about people. Only Philippa Pearce could have written it. (p. 246)

The book has a profound, mysterious sense of time; it has the beauty of a theorem but it is not abstract; it is sensuously as well as intellectually satisfying. The garden is so real that you have the scent of it in your nostrils….

If I were asked to name a single masterpiece of English children's literature since the last war—and one masterpiece in thirty years is a fair ration—it would be this outstandingly beautiful and absorbing book. (p. 247)

John Rowe Townsend, "Not So Flimsy," in his Written for Children: An Outline of English-Language Children's Literature (copyright © 1965, 1974 by John Rowe Townsend; courtesy of J. B. Lippincott, Publishers; in Canada by Kestrel Books), revised edition, Lippincott, 1974, pp. 235-47.∗

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