“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Edition: Barnes and Noble
When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.
The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?
What I Thought:
I read this book out loud to my four year old daughter (it was her first chapter book!) and we just loved it.
I’d only ever seen the movie, and so reading it for the first time was very interesting. There were quite a few differences in plot between the book and movie! And I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but I believe I preferred the movie. (Please don’t take away my book nerd card!)
Evelyn loved the mystery surrounding the garden. It was magical and secretive and beautiful.
The Yorkshire dialect was basically impossible to read out loud. Especially since Evelyn makes me follow my finger along the words I’m reading, and calls me out on it if I say something different than what’s written. I tried to translate as I was reading but it was just a little more effort than I was wanting to put in.
Burnett is a little heavy on the India-bashing throughout the novel. Almost every chapter there was a comparison between India and the moors of England, with this always ending in the moors winning out. Apparently India is hot, and muggy, and makes your brain slow, and makes you yellow, and the people aren’t as great, and everything is just sort of miserable. But on the other hand, the moors are fresh and green and the flowers are much superior, and they invigorate your dullard friends.
Despite the challenges we had in reading it aloud we still enjoyed it immensely. Mary’s character transformation from sour, spoiled little brat to helpful, jovial little girl was a wonderful journey to follow. And mythical Dickon, with his travelling menagerie was a joy to discover. I appreciated that in the book Colin isn’t jealous of Dickon like he is in the movie.
Of course the most dramatic transformation would have to belong to Colin. From sniveling hypochondriac to regal rajah, watching the garden work its magic on the neglected little boy was delightful.
Edition Review: I read the Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions Series edition of The Secret Garden.
First of all, the cover is totally gorgeous.
The gilt pages are such a nice touch, and held up pretty well through our first read. There was a bit of wear on them where my thumb rested as I was reading, but it wasn’t terrible. And I always love me a good ribbon book mark.
My daughter loved the pictures in it, although I would have preferred if they had been a little brighter, as they were hard to make out sometimes.
But for the price (a measly ten dollars!!) they can’t be beat. I love it.
Here’s a picture of The Secret Garden in a Secret Garden in Utah from my Instagram account @booksinthewild!
“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”