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The Shadow in the Garden (The Spirithaven Adventures Book 1) Kindle Edition

53 customer reviews

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Length: 49 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

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"...a simple, easy to read book for younger readers, yet it is written in a fabulous way that will capture the reader's heart no matter their age. Braden McElroy does a fantastic job at creating a story full of emotion and complexity. Luna is a wonderfully created character who will work her way into the heart of the reader instantly."  ~Readers Favorite 5-Star Review   

  
"...Through Luna, young readers are guided through the process of dealing with their emotions after the loss of a loved one. Themes of facing fear, doubt and loneliness are apt messages for kids and well-executed within the story. The reading level, length and subject matter make this an ideal read for parents to read alongside their grieving children. A simple, yet powerful, story that will comfort children dealing with grief."  ~Kirkus Reviews
 
 
* 2013 BookRooster Reviewers' Pick
 
 
* 2013 BookGorilla Starred Title
 
 
"THE SHADOW IN THE GARDEN is a delightful, imaginative story, as charming as it is touching. Much of the credit goes to Luna, a great character who speaks to readers from all generations."  ~Teresa Miller, host of Writing Out Loud



"Braden McElroy has a wonderful gift of storytelling. His writing style reminds me a bit of C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald all wrapped up in one - but still with a flair of his own uniqueness, which creates a captivating and enchanting tale."  ~Theresa Dunlap, Just One More Paragraph blog review


"Uplifting and amazingly unique...will captivate readers through descriptive imagery and dialogue." ~Christian Book Reviews

About the Author

When Braden McElroy is not writing fantasy for children, he is usually preoccupied with the adult equivalent - developing financial forecasts for his employer in Houston, Texas. Proof resides somewhere in his attic that he earned degrees in agribusiness and Russian language and literature from Oklahoma State University, as well as an MBA from Yale University. In his spare time, he continues to help manage family cotton farming operations near his hometown in Oklahoma. Otherwise, his personal identity has been reduced to "Lisa's husband" and "Mara and Rowan's dad". Also, he is responsible for sifting the kitty litter.

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More About the Author

When Braden McElroy is not writing fantasy for children, he is usually preoccupied with the adult equivalent - developing financial forecasts for his employer in Houston, Texas. Proof resides somewhere in his attic that he earned degrees in agribusiness and Russian language and literature from Oklahoma State University, as well as an MBA from Yale University. In his spare time, he continues to help manage family cotton farming operations near his hometown in Oklahoma. Otherwise, his personal identity has been reduced to "Lisa's husband" and "Mara and Rowan's dad". Also, he is responsible for sifting the kitty litter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on March 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. Although it is written for a young reader, I found it helped me also to deal with my feelings of loss. It helped me put some of my feeling into a different perspective. It takes the reader through the different stages of grief after the loss of a loved one in a very imaginative and well written way. You get the chance to explore your own feelings as you read the different chapters and hopefully deal with the feelings also. A young reader would have no trouble understanding what was happening and how to apply it to their own feelings...to understand why they are feeling the way that they are. I would recommend it to any young reader (and maybe a few adults also) who has recently experienced the loss of a loved one.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By McJohn on January 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
You could do a lot worse than to give her or him a copy of this story.

Adults are supposed to have all the answers, and Christian adults are supposed to have all the answers about the eternally scary phenomenon of death. What we often can't tell kids is that we're just as mystified and scared of death as they are... and faith is no guarantee that everything will come out OK. The challenge of being able to act as a guide to a grieving child, when we ourselves are confused (and probably also grieving), isn't made any easier when we fall back on familiar platitudes; children spot shallow reassurances as a fakeout, and then tend to withdraw into their own silent spaces, trying to work out the turmoil for themselves. Well... so much for spiritual guidance! And you're supposed to be the grownup!

The problem is really that we just don't know how to talk about grief in child-accessible ways. We can promise invisible glory or talk about sadness or assure them that we know they're feeling bad or doubting that eternal-life thing, but that's not exactly the same as getting down on one knee, looking the kid right in the eye, and admitting that you really don't know too much more about it either, but you've been through that loss and it stinks and it's frightening and inexplicable and just not fair.

That child's-eye perspective is very much in evidence in this book. In the guise of a quest narrative, the story takes its young shero on a journey through the stages of grief, casting each in imagery that will be familiar, reassuring, and recognizable to children. There's no judgment, although there's plenty of suspense, and as Luna journeys in the bright, mystical land beyond the gate, she does the tough work of adjusting to loss.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Watson on January 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A story everyone will thoroughly enjoy. It is clever and inventive, like no story I've read before, dealing with such a difficult issue. I love the way you don't completely see a situation revealing itself, but then it makes perfect sense when it does. (For instance, understand what is the Matter.) I feel the illustrations are very easy to follow, and the analogies can resonate with anyone. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, and I was surprised, in a good way. To be honest, as I began reading I was curious what level the book was speaking to, but as I read on, I realized it is a story that will reach many different levels, in different ways, based on where they are. It does a great job of illustrating the waves of emotions one goes through, and turning them into something you can wrap your hands around, and therefore somehow feel more at ease with. I think we all desire some sort of control in our lives, and you feel much more in control of something you understand. This story allows you to feel that with emotions. I love the use of allegory to try and explain loss, on such a personal level. I think this will speak to grownups just as clearly as it could help a child understand grief. This is even illustrated in the story when you see Luna watch her mother try to be above the raw emotions, and Luna reaches out to her at the same level she is at. Very powerful. Anyone, at any level, has dealt with love and loss.

As a mother of two, this story truly pulled at my heart. I loved the line, "and Luna realized the importance of having a friend when you were lost and everything was uphill." I thought it was such a simply stated, but important point. It brought tears to my eyes, and the ending was obviously even more powerful, bringing about my own colorful emotions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K P Ambroziak on June 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When done well, children's literature is on a par with some of the finest. I was intrigued by Braden McElroy's story and thought it would be a fun read. I was surprised to find it was so much more...

From the opening I was taken in with its elegant prose. Simple and clean, McElroy's style is sophisticated and yet flows with appealing ease. The story itself is touching, creative and, at times, humorous. As I read it I wondered what age it was written for, as it felt perfectly appropriate for an adult. It seems that great works of children's literature often do translate into good reads for adults.

McElroy's visual language and keen plot devices lead his reader head first into the descriptive world of Spirithaven. What appeals to me most about this story is its philosophical content. I love that it explores certain emotional experiences unavoidable to all of us, even children. "The Shadow in the Garden" dissects and examines psychological elements in a way that the early philosophers did. It made me think of Plato's "Symposium," a fictitious dialogue on love set in an atmosphere of reality. McElroy emulates Plato here in that he creates a fantastical setting in which his characters explore the very real feeling of grief. It's a beautiful way for anyone to view the journey of death, no matter your religion, belief, or faith.

Lastly, I'll mention the dolls. They have to be some of the most entertaining characters to grace the pages of a children's book. I couldn't stop laughing at their schoolyard behavior. "Toy Story" eat your heart out!
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