Title: The Gargoyle in My Yard | Author: Philippa Dowding | Publication Date: April 1, 2009 | Publisher: Napoleon | Pages: 121 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: What do you do when a 400-year-old gargoyle moves into your backyard? Especially when no one else but you knows he’s ALIVE? Twelve-year-old Katherine Newberry can tell you all about life with a gargoyle. He’s naughty. He gets people into trouble. He howls at the moon, breaks statues and tramples flowers to bits, all the while making it look like you did it! He likes to throw apple cores and stick his tongue out at people when they aren’t looking. How do you get rid of a gargoyle? Do they help the gargoyle leave for good? If you’re like Katherine and her parents, after getting to know him, you might really want him to stay.
My Quick Thoughts: The Gargoyle in My Yard is a short, clever read exploring the themes of friendship, loneliness, and compassion, as well as taking a dip into the issue of environmental change. When a 400 year-old gargoyle, Gargoth, comes to life and decides to make 12 year-old Katherine’s back yard his new home, both their lives will never be the same. The book is peppered with humourous moments such as when Gargoth protects Milly the cat from a dog, but also with poignant moments such as when he builds snow sculptures for Katherine’s family on Christmas Day and they all celebrate together. Even if this was a short, easy book to read (i.e., I read it in one sitting), I became emotionally attached to Gargoth as his back story is slowly revealed. The interplay between Katherine, who is impatient but compassionate, and Gargoth, who is both obstinate and endearing, was well done. Their relationship really grows throughout the story. Interestingly, this book also gave me much food for thought with regards to environmental issues. You can imagine the stark contrast for the gargoyle when comparing the world 400 years ago to today’s smoggy, noisy, busy, polluted cities.
I recommend this quirky well-written book to tweens who are looking for a quick fun read and who are fans of magical realism (i.e., Have you ever imagined that gargoyle in your back yard coming to life?). Ages 8 to 12.
** FOR THE RECORD: My 10 year-old daughter read all three of the books in the series and she gives them a big thumbs up! She LOVED them!! 5 STARS! **
* This book was provided to me by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *
Other Reviews of The Gargoyle in My Yard