Anne Hawn Smith's Reviews > A Little Princess

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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Feb 05, 11

bookshelves: classics, juvenile-fiction, comfort-read
Read from February 01 to 05, 2011, read count: 2

This is a wonderful story of a little girl, Sara Crew, who is the apple of her widowed father's eye. She has lived in India all her life, but she is forced to go to an exclusive boarding school, Miss Minchen's Seminary in London to be properly educated. She becomes the prize pupil when Miss Minchen discovers how incredibly wealthy her father is. Sara and her father are unusually close because her mother died when she was very young and he treats her as a little princess. Fortunately, she has been also taught to behave like a princess and to be patient, kind, good natured and polite.

Sara needs all of those attributes when it is found that her father has invested all of his money in diamond mines in South Africa and they have failed. Not only that, but he has died from a brain fever brought on by the devastating news. Miss Minchen finds out the new status of her pupil and promptly makes a drudge of her. This is really where the story begins. Sara has been well brought up and has a wonderfully vivid imagination and these things help her to endure her wretched life. She has always been kind to the little scullery maid and now finds her a friend and helper.

One of the nicest things about this book is the way it encourages reading and imaginative play as well as good manners and real integrity. Sara has to find ways to deal with her reduced circumstances without becoming bitter or giving up. If you have seen the Shirley Temple movie or one of the other versions, you may be surprised at just how much Hollywood has changed this delightful book.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie One thing I didn't care for was the equation of rainy weather with depression. This might be understandable in a child who was raised in India, or perhaps not. After all, in many parts of India, the arrival of the monsoon rains is a festival, eagerly anticipated.

If you liked this book, you might like E Nesbit's The Railway Children.

Anne Hawn Smith I like Elizabeth Nesbit's books and plan to use "Five Children and It" for our next homeschool assignment. I hadn't thought about the symbolism of rain and depression, but I admit that it depresses me, especially since I've lived in Florida over 20 years.

message 3: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie As a person who's painfully and disablingly sensitive to sunlight, and who spent several years in a tropical Wet/Dry environment, I've spent a long time trying to get forecasters not to tell me how I'm going to feel about the weather.

Sunny days are not only painful and disabling--they also leach most of the color out of the world--at least to me. And I'm not unique in that. I find it depressing to be in constant pain, and to be unable to breathe well. I'm funny that way.

On the other hand, I LOVE overcast days, especially when it's raining. It's not sunlight that makes this planet habitable--it's water--wealth falling from the sky. If you want long sunny days the moon would be ideal. Of course, it's sterile and airless...

Those of us who can see perfectly well in the dark (I can see cats on overcast, moonless nights well enough to recognize individuals--I used to really disappoint cats by greeting them when they thought they'd be unseen) don't appreciate being told our mood will be improved by losing vision--and by the loss of air quality and temperature moderation that a lack of clouds causes.

Anne Hawn Smith You have a very unique perspective and it is obvious that you have adapted to your world. It is wonderful that you can appreciate the unique aspects of a cloudy and rainy day and a cloudless night. It is so much more sensible that to rail against your unique body chemistry. I have read about people who are unusually sensitive to light and have to live in a darkened environment, but never met anyone. Obviously, you cope very well and are to be admired.

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