The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(Children's Classics)

80%

34 Critic Reviews

...has proved to be the most lasting element of Burnett's literary legacy. Perhaps that shouldn't surprise us, given how ahead of its time it was.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a magical novel for adults and children alike

'I've stolen a garden,' she said very fast. 'It isn't mine. It isn't anybody's. Nobody wants it, nobody cares for it, nobody ever goes into it. Perhaps everything is dead in it already; I don't know.'

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle's gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed - and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

***With a heartwarming introduction by Sophie Dahl***
*** A behind-the-scenes jounrey, including an author profile, a guide to who's who, activities and more...***
*** a much-loved classic***

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was born in Manchester. She had a very poor upbringing and used to escape from the horror of her surroundings by writing stories. In 1865 her family emigrated to the USA where she married and became the successful author of many children's books including Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess.

 

About Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote for children and adults, publishing both plays and novels. She was born in Manchester, England, on November 24, 1849. Her father, who owned a furniture store, died when she was only four years old. Her mother struggled to keep the family business running while trying to raise five children. Finally, because of the failing Manchester economy, the family sold the store and immigrated to the United States. In 1865 they settled just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. Hoping to offset her family's continuing financial troubles, Burnett began to submit her stories to women's magazines. She was immediately successful. In the late 1860s her stories were published in nearly every popular American magazine. Burnett helped to support her family with income from the sale of her stories, even saving enough to finance a trip back to England, where she stayed for over a year. In 1879, Burnett published her first stories for children; two of her most popular are A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. In contrast to an extremely successful career, Burnett's personal life held many challenges. Her son Lionel was diagnosed with tuberculosis at age 15, from which he never recovered. His death inspired several stories about dead or dying children. Burnett lived her later years on Long Island, New York. She died in 1924.
 
Published March 20, 2012 by HarperPerennial Classics. 308 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Travel, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Parenting & Relationships, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Religion & Spirituality, Action & Adventure, History, Nature & Wildlife, Romance, Cooking. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Secret Garden
All: 34 | Positive: 30 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Below average
on May 20 2010

In this bad version of a bad idea, the richly developed classic novel has been squeezed into the picture-book format...the children’s figures seem pasted into the space, and the scenes lack warmth.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Anna Clark on Aug 05 2011

...has proved to be the most lasting element of Burnett's literary legacy. Perhaps that shouldn't surprise us, given how ahead of its time it was.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Magdalene Paniotte on Nov 20 2012

The story has a wonderful fairy tale quality that leaves an impressionable reader satisfied with the hopeful ending, while at the same time imparting the idea that good health and a positive outlook on life are more important than any wealth ever amassed.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Kelly Atwood on Dec 06 2011

It inside the garden that Mary learns about friendship, kindness and the true meaning of happiness. This book is a true classic that should be in every girl’s library.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Michele Landsberg on Nov 01 1991

Burnett's novel ends in a prolonged burst of ecstatic, semipantheistic Christian piety, served up with gobs of authorial moralizing. No matter: No one really remembers these preachy passages. It's the intoxication of nature and the adventure of changing oneself that grip the reader's imagination.

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Kidz World

Good
Reviewed by KidzWorld on Dec 27 2006

The Secret Garden was written in 1911 but is still a kid-favorite because of its gripping story, colorful characters and positive message. It uses some pretty sophisticated language (and some interesting Yorkshire slang), which may be a bit tricky for some - but don't let that scare you off!

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The Horn Book

Good
Reviewed by ANDREA FOX on Aug 22 2012

The Secret Garden was a new and wonderful place when I entered it as a mother, just as it was when I was ten years old. Colin and Mary have lived with me for as long as I can recall, and I’m thrilled that I could see so much of my current life reflected in their adventures.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by OBL-LPGD on Jun 10 2014

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys suspense, and mystery because in this book every chapter leaves you with questions.

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Yahoo! Voices

Above average
Reviewed by M. Reynard on Apr 17 2011

I do like this book and while it has a few flaws, overall it makes for nice reading. It definitely makes me want to seek out the movie and watch it again.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Avil Beckford on Sep 22 2009

Though The Secret Garden is a children's book, everyone will benefit from reading it. Living a meaningful life brings joy, and people learn to live rather than merely exist.

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Fantasy Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Floresiensis on Jun 10 2014

Since publication The Secret Garden has become a favourite children’s classic, and influenced numerous modern writers.

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That's What She Read

Excellent
Reviewed by Michelle on Feb 15 2012

It is one of those novels that loses nothing over time. In fact, as our lives become more complicated and stressful as we get older, The Secret Garden becomes more than a children’s novel but rather a cue to take a step back and remember the uncomplicated truths which make childhood so special.

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Brothers Judd

Good
on Aug 19 2001

It's a marvelous book about the curative powers of love and nature and the will. It's also a delight to read aloud or listen to...

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Things Mean a Lot

Good
Reviewed by Ana S. on Sep 03 2009

I’ve been daydreaming about having my own garden ever since I finished this book. Surely that says something, no?

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Literate Housewife

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer on Mar 06 2012

I left the novel feeling as though I missed out on some of the magic because I am 40 and have children of my own who are nearing Mary and Colin’s age. Still, I very much enjoyed it and appreciated the voice of the narrator and that it is written in such a way that children and adults alike will find the story of these children delightful.

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Rebecca Reads

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Reid on Aug 16 2012

...reading The Secret Garden will provide children with a delightful tale of secrecy, success, and positive childhood friendship.

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http://goodbooksandgoodwine.com

Good
Reviewed by April on Jul 13 2012

Friends, I am filled with the joy of listening to and reading a very special book. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which form of story I encountered first in my life, but I am very glad it still captures readers today and I am also glad that it is just as good if not better than I remembered.

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Under My Apple Tree

Good
Reviewed by Leslie on May 31 2012

After finally reading the book, I realize why it is so beloved by so many people. While the book has many themes, motifs and symbols, at it’s core is a beautiful story about children and their natural love of nature and its healing powers.

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Lit and Life

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa on Jan 10 2014

I found The Secret Garden charming and sweet and strongly encourage you to read it to your young daughters. Although you may want to skim over some of the fairly longish garden descriptions (I'll admit it, I did). And you may grow a bit frustrated trying to read the Yorkshire dialect.

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Chaotic Compendiums

Good
Reviewed by Caitlin Martin on Dec 19 2013

The Secret Garden is a book full of light and life and will take you outside of yourself and outside of any doldrums you may have.

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Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Galligar Chance on May 31 2012

...found so many charming nuances in the telling of these two children who were desperate for attention and love. My final analysis - I loved it.

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Boston Bibliophile

Excellent
Reviewed by Marie Cloutier on May 29 2012

This book was just wonderful from start to finish. Burnett's narration is compassionate and knowing, loving and clear-eyed at the same time.

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Estella's Revenge

Above average
Reviewed by Andi on Jul 09 2012

But overall, I liked more than I disliked about this book. I'm sure I would've enjoyed it as a kid and the lessons -- especially those encapsulated by the ending -- would've gone a long way with me.

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Good
on Jun 10 2014

I think you will love this book. Slowly, slowly Mary is transformed by the wholesome life that she lives at Misselthwaite Manor. It's a very emotional story, beautifully told, and comes to a happy, triumphant end.

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Blogging for a Good Book

Good
Reviewed by Jan on Dec 31 2012

For those who have read The Secret Garden before, perhaps years ago as a child, I highly recommend a second look through the eyes of an adult. For those who have never tried it, it is a deeply hopeful story about redemption through the natural world and redemption through love.

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Angela's Anxious Life

Above average
on Apr 24 2012

I have been meaning to re-read this book for a LONG LONG time. My mother read this to me at night when I was a kid and I remember just loving it. It was so magical to me then.

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Wordsmithonia

Good
Reviewed by Ryan on May 31 2012

Now while I really enjoyed and could even say I loved this story, I'm not going to be very good at getting across the way it made me feel. This was a affirmation for me of the magic of childhood and what it means to be accepted by those around you and how important "home" is to your identity.

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Books 4 Your Kids

Above average
Reviewed by Tanya on Feb 20 2012

Burnett's story, from the cheeky little robin who befriends Mary and leads her to the secret garden in the first place, to Dickon with his moor pony, crow, fox and pockets full of squirrels to the garden itself is rich with enchanting animal characters and natural settings that are described in the most visual way.

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Nyx Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by CelineNyx on Apr 23 2013

...I loved The Secret Garden. I suddenly felt the need to garden...The Yorkshire setting and dialect were just perfect. I think Ms Hodgson Burnett has a great sense of what children are really like, and the way the children in the novel think completely resonates with my memories of early childhood.

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One Librarian's Book Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by Melissa on Apr 22 2011

A beautiful story of growing up and the magic of nature. Seriously, I felt so nostalgic listening to this, remembering adoring this story when I was younger. I can't wait until I have kids I can introduce to this story for the first time.

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Fiction Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Citra Florenca on Sep 03 2013

If I had to describe The Secret Garden in one word, it would be "cute". I can't say that it's so amazing, but I did find it to be enjoyable, and somehow deep down it it touched my heart.

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The Oaken Bookcase

Above average
Reviewed by ANGELYA on Apr 18 2013

This is a beautifully written book and although it might be a little slow in pace for the middle-grade readers of today, I hope they find as much joy in it as I did as a child.

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Angieville

Good
Reviewed by Angiegirl on Oct 12 2012

The exquisite depiction of the need these three children and the garden had for each other is masterfully done.

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Mrs. Jensen's Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Ariel on Oct 26 2011

This book is one of my favorite books of all time and the only reason I can't say I hate mystery books altogether.

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Reader Rating for The Secret Garden
89%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1533 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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