The Secret Garden

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Press:David R Godine Pub David R Godine; 1st Us Edition edition (1987)
Publication Date:1994-9
Author Name:Burnett, Frances Hodgson


In what is certainly the most beautiful full color edition of this acknowledged childrens' classic we come to know (and eventually love) Mary Lennox, the spoiled and sullen orphan sent to the dour moors of Yorkshire to be magically transformed by the powers of nature, young Dicken, and the discovery of a secret, walled garden. 
This is a book (and this is the edition) that should be in the library of every child.

From Publishers Weekly

Soothing and mellifluous, native Briton Bailey's voice proves an excellent instrument for polishing up a new edition of Burnett's story. 
Bratty and spoiled Mary Lennox is orphaned when her parents fall victim to a cholera outbreak in India.
As a result, Mary becomes the ward of an uncle in England she has never met.
As she hesitantly tries to carve a new life for herself at imposing and secluded Misselthwaite Manor, Mary befriends a high-spirited boy named Dickon and investigates a secret garden on the Manor grounds.
She also discovers a sickly young cousin, Colin, who has been shut away in a hidden Manor room.
Together Mary and Dickon help Colin blossom, and in the process Mary finds her identity and melts the heart of her emotionally distant uncle.
Bailey makes fluid transitions between the voices and accents of various characters, from terse Mrs.
Medlock and surly groundskeeper Ben to chipper housemaid Martha.
And most enjoyably, she gives Mary a believably childlike voice.
A brief biography of the author is included in an introduction.
Ages 6-12.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Originally published in 1911, the story of Mary Lennox's transformation from impudent orphan to compassionate friend in the forbidden garden of Misselthwaite Manor has been recorded for a new generation to enjoy. 
Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic is done justice by the vocal talents of Josephine Bailey.
From the start, the narrator's lilting English accent will capture students' attention, but it is her vocal characterizations that will hold it.
Abundant dialogue is enhanced with the authentic-sounding broad Yorkshire of the brusque Mrs.
Medlock, the talkative Martha, and the crotchety old Ben, contrasted with Mary's precise and proper English.
Bailey effortlessly captures the innocence of the young and the world-weariness of the old, while moving seamlessly between the two.
There are no sound effects, and they are not needed.
The overall aural quality is excellent.
While the length of the production may initially scare off some listeners, those who persevere will be rewarded with a rich literary experience.
Leigh Ann Rumsey, Penn Yan Academy, NYCopyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

In this bad version of a bad idea, the richly developed classic novel has been squeezed into the picture-book format. 
Resembling the bald summary of an opera plot, the story in its reduced state is all but a clich: An orphaned girl finds a neglected garden and a neglected cousin and restores them both with the aid of the housemaid's young brother.
Collier's full-color paintings take advantage of the opportunities for flora and fauna as the garden responds to cultivation and to the turning seasons, but the children's figures seem pasted into the space, and the scenes lack warmth.
(Picture book.
4-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This adaptation has its own special appeal. 
Although considerably shorter than the original, it remains faithful to the plot.
Allen's oversize chalk drawings are handsome.
Children sometimes pass over Burnett's story because by the time they are able to read it, they are no longer interested in the subject.
For them, this adaptation will work well." --Booklist

From the Publisher

What secrets lie behind the doors at  Misselthwaite Manor?  Recently arrived at her uncle's estate,  orphaned Mary Lennox is  spoiled, sickly, and  certain she won't enjoy living there. 
Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier.
Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty--unaware that she is changing too.But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night.
High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young.
His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him.
If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite manor? Recently arrived at her uncle's estate, orphaned mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won't enjoy living there. 
Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier.
Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty--unaware that she is changing too.But Missalthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night.
High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young.
His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him.
If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic wil work wonders on him.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

“It is only the exceptional author who can write a book about children with sufficient skill, charm, simplicity, and significance to make it acceptable to both young and old. 
Burnett is one of the few thus gifted.”—The New York Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) grew up in England, but she began writing what was to become The Secret Garden in 1909, when she was creating a garden for a new home in Long Island, New York.Burnett was already established as a novelist for adults when she turned to writing for children.Little Lord Fauntleroy, written for her two young boys; the play A Little Princess, which became the basis for the novel of the same name; and The Secret Garden are the works for which she is most warmly remembered.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER IThere Is No One LeftWhen Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. 
It was true, too.
She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression.
Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another.
Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people.
She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible.
So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also.
She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived.
The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one.
So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was not her Ayah.“Why did you come?” she said to the strange woman.
“I will not let you stay.
Send my Ayah to me.”The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.There was something mysterious in the air that morning.
Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces.
But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come.
She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda.
She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the time growing more and more angry and muttering to herself the things she would say and the names she would call Saidie when she returned.“Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs!” she said, because to call a native a pig is the worst insult of all.She was grinding her teeth and saying this over and over again when she heard her mother come out on the veranda with some one.
She was with a fair young man and they stood talking together in low strange voices.
Mary knew the fair young man who looked like a boy.
She had heard that he was a very young officer who had just come from England.
The child stared at him, but she stared most at her mother.
She always did this when she had a chance to see her, because the Mem Sahib—Mary used to call her that oftener than anything else—was such a tall, slim, pretty person and wore such lovely clothes.
Her hair was like curly silk and she had a delicate little nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes.
All her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said they were “full of lace.” They looked fuller of lace than ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all.
They were large and scared and lifted imploringly to the fair boy officer’s face.“Is it so very bad? Oh, is it?” Mary heard her say.“Awfully,” the young man answered in a trembling voice.
“Awfully, Mrs.
You ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago.”The Mem Sahib wrung her hands.“Oh, I know I ought!” she cried.
“I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party.
What a fool I was!”At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants’ quarters that she clutched the young man’s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot.
The wailing grew wilder and wilder.“What is it? What is it?” Mrs.
Lennox gasped.“Some one has died,” answered the boy officer.
“You did not say it had broken out among your servants.”“I did not know!” the Mem Sahib cried.
“Come with me! Come with me!” and she turned and ran into the house.After that appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary.
The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies.
The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts.
Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away in terror.
There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by every one.
Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things happened of which she knew nothing.
Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours.
She only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds.
Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty, though a partly finished meal was on the table and chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for some reason.
The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled.
It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was.
Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet.
The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing more for a long time.Many things happened during the hours in which she slept so heavily, but she was not disturbed by the wails and the sound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow.When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall.
The house was perfectly still.
She had never known it to be so silent before.
She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over.
She wondered also who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead.
There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would know some new stories.
Mary had been rather tired of the old ones.
She did not cry because her nurse had died.
She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for any one.
The noise and hurrying about and wailing over the cholera had frightened her, and she had been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive.
Every one was too panic-stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of.
When people had the cholera it seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves.
But if every one had got well again, surely some one would remember and come to look for her.But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemed to grow more and more silent.
She heard something rustling on the matting and when she looked down she saw a little snake gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels.
She was not frightened, because he was a harmless little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurry to get out of the room.
He slipped under the door as she watched him.“How queer and quiet it is,” she said.
“It sounds as if there was no one in the bungalow but me and the snake.”Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound, and then on the veranda.
They were men’s footsteps, and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices.
No one went to meet or speak to them and they seemed to open doors and look into rooms.“What desolation!” she heard one voice say.
“That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too.
I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.”Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few minutes later.
She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was frowning because she was beginning to be hungry and feel disgracefully neglected.
The first man who came in was a large officer she had once seen talking to her father.
He looked tired and troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled that he almost jumped back.“Barney!” he cried out.
“There is a child here! A child alone! In a place like this! Mercy on us, who is she!”“I am Mary Lennox,” the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly.
She thought the man was very rude to call her father’s bungalow “A place like this!” “I fell asleep when every one had the cholera and I have only just wakened up.
Why does nobody come?”“It is the child no one ever saw!” exclaimed the man, turning to his companions.
“She has actually been forgotten!”“Why was I forgotten?” Mary said, stamping her foot.
“Why does nobody come?”The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly.
Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.“Poor little kid!” he said.
“There is nobody left to come.”It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother left; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib.
That was why the place was so quiet.
It was true that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

This beautifully produced children's classic is narrated by the talented Josephine Bailey, whose voice is musical and elegant. 
This story of two lonely children finding happiness through their mutual delight in tending a neglected garden includes much dialogue, and Bailey transitions seamlessly from one character's voice to another.
She easily distinguishes petulant Mary from fretful cousin Colin and captures the nuances of their wide-ranging, passionate emotions.
Bailey's rendition of Colin's tantrum and the cousins' reconciliation is breathtaking.
Her good-hearted Dicken, with his broad Yorkshire accent, and gruff Ben Weatherstaff are equally excellent.
There are numerous audiobook productions of this story, but Bailey's is surely one of the best.
Her sensitive reading makes every minute of this unabridged version fly.
© AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Comment List (Total:16)

  •     When I was younger I loved this movie. I had a double sided DVD of this and A Little Princess. I'm glad to say that the book is much more magical than the film.
  •     "According to the early morning farm report, cotton-pickers are already in big demand this spring throughout the Sun-belt, especially in the Mississippi Delta region," said Colonel Korn. "Of course, you're referring to the large, complex agricultural harvesting machinery made of iron and steel that plucks cotton-balls from the tall, dried-out looking, stick-like plants, undoubtedly devoid of chloraphyl, which have been grown in vast field acreages; extracts and separates out the seeds; then bales the cotton, weighs it, determines moisture content, and transports it to nearby climate-controlled sheds, for temporary storage until further transportation onto commercial railroad cars is made, I presume," replied R. Royce. "Yes, exactly!" said Korn. "Furthermore, I predict a futures bonanza for that particular commodity in the coming months." Dancing around the room, Royce spontaneously burst into song and merriment, singing parts of a lively tune he must have heard on the radio a long time ago that had been stuck in the farthest recesses of his brain, escaping only now: "When I was a little biddy baby my mama used to rock me in my cradle, In them old cotton fields down home. We used to live in a run-down shack, just about a mile from the Frisco track, In them old cotton fields down home. When those cotton balls turn rotten, you can't pick very much cotton, In them old cotton fields down home." "A folk legend is born. I wish I had a banjo. Do you know the words to 'Sixteen Tons' by Ernie Ford? You must be feeling down-right sentimental, even nostalgic," Korn chimed in, smirking and carrying-on a little despite himself and his normally reserved demeanor." "I may not be able to sing like Johnny Cash, but three months on special assignment to an undisclosed, isolated, uninhabited, and remote tropical island, reportedly located somewhere in the South China Sea tends to make you appreciate home," Royce said. "We should count our blessings that our next stop isn't a quaint and tidy little garden spot located within the Arctic Circle somewhere north of Korea," said Korn. "All God's children get weary when they roam. Don't it make you want to go home, Lord? Don't it make you want to go home?" sang Royce, a "Joe South and the Believers" tune. "But, now you're talking Politics!" he said, as a matter of fact. They continued to maintain camouflaged and black-out conditions, with strict radio silence. Royce monitored some satellite imagery instruments. Korn checked the cameras strategically placed on the surrounding perimeter. They were prepared to react quickly and move at a moment's notice. "Quiet! Don't look now, but we may have a visitor," said Korn, observing a live-camera feed. As the intruder approached, he recognized a friendly, familiar reconnaissance scout. Evidently, Special Forces had sent them a message from "the Pueblo" to be hand-delivered in person. Their immediate future would hang in the balance. "Code-name 'Amelia Erhardt' at your service," stated Major Thomas frankly, an Army Ranger and pilot, her flashing eyes beaming like a lighthouse beacon, her golden-blonde hair neatly cut into the style of a French Poodle, as she calmly and softly stepped into the grass hut, which had long served as their hidden lair, through an open door-way. "Greetings, Meghan! What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? Good news first. " specified Royce. "Looking for Livingston, naturally. What are you guys doing here? The good news: you were voted least likely to go out in a blaze of glory back at HQ." she said. "Just kidding. I really came to see you." At this juncture of the dialogue, Korn cheerfully contributed a few heart-felt chorus lines from 'Ring of Fire' to the conversation. "Hallelujah, amen!" he concluded, with a meek smile. He innocently offered up a sigh of relief. "You two really know how to defuse a situation and reduce the tension in the room," said Royce. "What's the bad news?" "You've been scheduled to observe an air-assault and demolitions exercise up close and personal. But, if you'd rather do Karaoke, we can talk about 'Time Love and Tenderness,' said Meghan. Or, you can tell me all about 'When a Man Loves a Woman.'" "Mission top-secret, destination unknown," replied Royce. The Secret Garden, a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, was first published in 1911. The delightfully charming story about three young children, Colin, Dickon, and Mary possesses all of the endearing qualities to become a timeless classic of English literature. The children have banded together and become friends in an idyllic, pastoral setting. Due to the severe limitations imposed upon them by a sometimes rather harsh human existence, they attempt to rise above their circumstances in life. Despite having sustained grievous injuries, they soon learn that they must persevere if they are to overcome adversity. They must make a gallant effort to negotiate the obstacles and pit-falls which they encounter along the path toward achieving their goals. Often, they succeed only through sheer determination and pure will-power. Because of the process of evolution, which obviously must be at work somehow in their universe--or perhaps because of other, even more powerful forces, there is an almost sublime interaction among the characters in their rite of passage. The trio reminds me of the plight of the Tin-Man, the Straw-Man, and Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." Indeed, their growth and personal development seems to involve a great many ordeals of mind over matter. Hence, the story actually appears to portray the triumph of the indomitable human spirit. Moreover, the theme of a "Garden of Eden" or "Paradise," running throughout the story as a "common thread" reveals the magic and majesty that is commonly known as "Mother Nature." So, above all, the story is a celebration of Life, which simultaneously expresses deep reverence for the Divine Creator, who is the Author of all Beings. Ultimately, you can't help but exclaim what you must have heard repeated over the years, time and time again: "They grow up so fast, don't they?"
  •     I remember when I first saw this book. I was burned out from all the required high school reading of all the typical Shakespearean BS. I started reading this book and I couldn't put it down. I think it's such a sweet classical read. Then I found out Shirley Temple had done a live musical adaptation and I had to check that out as well. I would like to read it to my nieces one day when they are old enough. I love old books like this that give you different perspective of what life was like for people during the industrial era. Only I guess this is more from Sara's perspective but it's very inclusive of other character's POV and does a good job putting them all together to make this one fairy tale-ish yet poignant picture of industrial life.
  •     Love this collection!
  •     The Secret Garden is a classic. Great story ultimately about redemption. Burnett writes beautifully.
  •     This book was very suspenseful, had a cheerful ending, and was well written. It kept you guessing until the end.
  •     Heartwarming story!
  •     We loved all of it except when people died. I didn't like all of the pictures because they were all in grey and looked weird.
  •     I just finished listening to A Little Princess on Audible, and it was a fantastic story, far better than The Secret Garden, in my opinion.
  •     People are naturally inclined to hand out the "instant classic" award to the books they like, but there are only a precious few books that can hold on to such a title for over a hundred years, (this was published in book form in 1911), and still stay fresh, engaging and appealing. This book is the source and template for so many children's lit conventions that it is hard to imagine a library without multiple copies.You can sample the book as a Kindle freebie or in some other downloadable form, since it's out of copyright and readily available. Then, and better yet, after you read it and discover its pleasures, look for a nice edition to give to each young reader you know. There are easy to read books that are shallow, and there are harder to read books with considerable depth, but this one manages to be accessible to a fairly young reader and yet still loaded with fine writing, style, character, mystery, romance, adventure and inspiration. An excellent choice.And while you're at it, take a look at Burnett's "Little Lord Fauntleroy". He's gotten a bad rap, (probably as a result of those Fauntleroy suits and haircuts that were the rage in the twenties), but he's actually smart , level headed, and shrewdly decent in unexpected ways. So go and get your Burnett on.
  •     Stunning edition of a wonderful classic. I was a little turned off by the price initially, but it's well worth it for the quality.
  •     Funny, interesting , andamazing in many ways.I was moved on the tragedy and noglastia that this ebook gave me. Bye Bye Cinderella, Hello the little princess.
  •     I was disappointed in the re-telling of this story. I have read and re-read "The Secret Garden", and so much of what makes this story endearing, was taken out. Like the Yorkshire accent of Martha, and Mary learning how to talk like her. It really seemed half the book was missing. Still, for a young child to read, the language is simple. I was just disappointed that it was not the original.
  •     As noted in the product description, this is a shortened version of the classic story, written for new readers. There is nothing wrong with it, except that a lot of the magic of the original is in the details, which are rather left out here. A somewhat regretted purchase, because the classic version proved to be almost as easy to read, for a child who loves the discovery of reading, and much more interesting. Larger print is nice. There are no pictures in the paperback copy.
  •     This was my favorite book when I was younger. A teacher, gave it to me as a gift. I was not big on reading when I was very small and my parents never thought I would actually get big into reading. This was one of the books that inspired me to read more. It's a perfect book for little girls who are just beginning to read and find joy in it. Whether you're reading it to them or they are reading on their own it is a great book and very inspirational. Remember all little girls are princesses.
  •     I love thebook. It has a beautiful cover. It gave me such wonderful feeling looking at book. Very bright very nice.

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