Cati's Reviews > The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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's review
Feb 05, 2008

really liked it
Read in January, 2008

English 425 Submitter’s name _Cati Howard
Book Bank Book Bank subject: _my favorite book___

Reference information:
Title The Secret Garden
Author Frances Hodgson Burnett
Publisher J.B. Linppincott Company Year 1911
# of pages 256 Genre drama
Reading level 4.5 Interest level 9-12 years old
Potential hot lava:
None to speak of except that there are references to death throughout the story. Children who have issues dealing with mortality should be monitored when reading this.

General response/reaction:
I loved this book as a teenager, so I know that I would pick it up of my own decision. I enjoyed the story, and when I was younger, felt like I could really connect with the characters (especially Mary Lennox). The plot was interesting enough to keep me hooked, but not so intense that it was over-powering.

Subjects, Themes, and Big Ideas:
-the undying will of the human spirit (where there’s a will there’s a way…)
-maturity/tolerance for others

Mary Lennox- an orphan sent to live with her distant uncle in Misselthwaite Manor. She is headstrong, stubborn, and at times unruly. Underneath her hard exterior she really has a good heart, and the reader sees that as her character develops.

Colin Craven- Mary’s sickly cousin who has been hidden away from all sunlight deep within the manor. Mary finds him, and soon persuades him to come out to the garden with her.

Dickon- a moor boy who befriends Mary one day while she played in the garden. He has an affinity for working with animals and the earth. Colin briefly views him as a threat for Mary’s attention, but soon realizes there is nothing to be jealous of.

Plot summary
Mary Lennox is a little girl living in India with her father and mother. One day, a bought of cholera rips through the bungalow where Mary, a spoiled child, lives with her family and servants. Everyone dies but her, and she is discovered in the eerie bungalow by men scavenging for survivors. She is sent to England to live with her uncle in Misslethwaite Manor. There, she is left to entertain herself and soon stumbles across a locked garden while chasing a robin through the gardens. The same robin leads Mary to the key to the garden as well. Mary soon begins work on the garden, and is soon befriended by a moor boy named Dickon. Dickon lifts Mary’s spirits and helps her to bring the garden to life. Later, Mary finds her long lost cousin hidden deep in the corridors of the manor. He is sickly, but soon Mary convinces him to come out into the garden and play.

Strengths (including reviews and awards): The book was made into an award winning movie in 1993. The book itself received no awards that I could detect.

Drawbacks or other cautions:
This book is a classic. Its themes are classic, and don’t age with time. Kids today can relate to the themes and characters. The only drawback I can foresee is that children who have issues with mortality and death might have issues reading about Mary’s family and Colin Craven’s illness.

Teaching ideas:
-this book can be used as a tool when teaching about manners, gardening, etc.
-paired with the movie, the book could be used to distinguish the differences between film and literature.

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message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally The brand new group - Bright Young Things - is nominating books to read in January & The Secret Garden is among them. Its the perfect place to discuss your favourite books and authors from the early 20th Century, why not take a look...

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