The Secret Garden (Everyman's Library)

( 1642 )

Overview

Frances Hodgson Burnett's celebration of the kingdom of earth takes place in a secret garden, where the orphaned Mary Lennox and the invalid boy, Colin, are magically restored to health and well-being by Nature's mysterious living force. The original illustrations, by Charles Robinson, are perfect visual companions to the rich and illuminating text.

Ten-year-old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and ...

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The Secret Garden (Classic Starts Series)

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Overview

Frances Hodgson Burnett's celebration of the kingdom of earth takes place in a secret garden, where the orphaned Mary Lennox and the invalid boy, Colin, are magically restored to health and well-being by Nature's mysterious living force. The original illustrations, by Charles Robinson, are perfect visual companions to the rich and illuminating text.

Ten-year-old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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. Mrs. Burnett is one of the few thus gifted.”—The New York Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Ten year old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden. This story has never lost its charm; delicate color work and pencil drawings provide nostalgic representations of another time.1993 orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up Burnett's classic story of a disagreeable and self-centered little girl and her equally disagreeable invalid cousin is as real and wise and enthralling now as it was when it was first written over 75 years ago. The strength of her characterizations pulls readers into the story, and the depth inherent in the seemingly simple plot continues to make this sometimes forgotten story as vital to the maturation of young readers as Tom Sawyer and Little Women. Hague's illustrations enhance the story beautifully, capturing as they do, both the old-fashioned and timeless quality of the tale. The charm, clarity, and muted tones of Hague's paintings add dimension to each part of the tale. A reissue of an old classic to be treasured by a new generation of children and their parents! Constance A. Mellon, Department of Library & Information Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.
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)
From Barnes & Noble
Since 1911, the The Secret Garden has charmed readers of successive generations. Now in this wonderfully illustrated volume, another generation can delight in the story of Mary Lennox--an unattractive, unloved little girl, sent to live at Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors after her parents' death. There, along with her invalid cousin Colin, she is drawn into a magical world of the secret garden--where Mary and Colin are transformed by the beauty they find there. Ages 8-14.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679423096
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1993
  • Series: Everyman's Library Children's Classics
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 719,908
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was born and grew up in Manchester, but her father died when she was three and in 1865 she emigrated with her mother to Knoxville, Tennessee, where her uncle had already opened a grocery store. Five years later her mother died and – like many other women of her time – she began writing short stories for popular magazines to support her family. Her first novel, That Lass o' Lowrie's (1877), brought her instant fame on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1873 she had married Swan Burnett, a physician, and it was for the two sons of the marriage that she wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy, which was first serialized in the children's monthly magazine St. Nicholas. When published in book form in October 1886, it went immediately on to the bestseller lists alongside Tolstoy's War and Peace and Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines. Mrs. Burnett wrote many other novels, for both children and adults, as well as plays and short stories, but she is best remembered for The Secret Garden (1911) and A Little Princess (1905).

Her marriage to Dr. Burnett ended in divorce in 1898 and two years later she remarried – but, again, the marriage ended, this time in separation. She became an American citizen in 1905, though she travelled frequently to Europe. She died at her home on Long Island a few weeks before her seventy-fifth birthday.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER I
There Is No One Left

When 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. Lennox. 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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1642 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(930)

4 Star

(327)

3 Star

(187)

2 Star

(76)

1 Star

(122)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1648 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A great start!

    I am 9 years old, about the same age as Mary the main character in the book. When I first got the book I thought I would not be interested in it. However, I kept on reading and it got really good. The story is very well told, it is easy to follow, the vocabulary is not very hard. You just have to be patient and towards the middle the story gets very interesting. Also at the end of the book there are questions about the story that makes you wonder how you would feel in Mary's situation. My mom felt that this book would be a good introduction to reading good literature, and I agree. I felt it was very educational and appropriate for my reading level. I would recommend it to any girl or boy that is ready for some serious reading.

    71 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    LOve the book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I loved this book sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much i am speechless!!! it is an really good book!! It is acually VERY old. It is about a girl who find a secret garden.

    LUVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( dragon tales)

    36 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Truly a Story that will touch one's heart deeply

    The first time I read this book must have been when I was in fourth grade, and I loved it so much and read it many times after that. I had to do a book report and that was when my dad recommended this book to me. I was reluctant to read this book at first, however, I was quickly captured in the magic of this book. It truly opened a door to a new world of a journey in a land of Classic books. I cried while reading this book.. because I'm also very emotional. It's about an arrogant, selfish, and lonely girl who discovers a secret world behind a door. Gradually through the stories she learns to smile, laugh, and be a child. She makes friends for the first time and becomes more bright and glowing then ever! If you don't read this book... you will regret it... Read it and enjoy!!! :)

    31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful book for adults and children

    This book is a great book for anyone from children to adults. A reminder of what childhood can be when we give children what they need.

    30 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic

    This is a true classic. A girl named Mary Lennox was a selfish, unattractive and disagreeable child. When both her mother and her father dies, she is sent to live in her uncle's mansion. One day she discovers a key that would open a garden that has not been entered in 10 years. She goes into the garden every day and each day she's in there she becomes a little less selfish, a little more attractive , and a little more lovable. This is a must read book

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Awesome to bored

    The book was awesome... a lot of description for those of u whose like that type of books like me. Is not a great plot i just a story of 3 differents kids. The lats chapters were a little boring...it felt like there was no more to say and they just kepr writing.. in gral great book.

    18 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a complete and total surprise!

    as a person that likes the classics with action and books of warfare, i thought my friend was crazy when he recommended this book to me. to be honest, i was very doubtful of the book when i bought it. much to my astonishment, this book is full of moral meaning in life itself; a girl who hasn't been loved at all in her life is sent to live with her uncle. she never loved anyone since she hadn't had anyone love her, and as such, was a very miserly person with no care in the world for a soul around her. as she lives with her uncle in a huge house, she often hears cries coming from the part in the house she is to refrain from going to. one night she ventures in to find her cousin whom she had never even known about; he was much the same as she was, a very horrid person. the girl meets Dickon, a very loving and caring person. his love and care rubs off on her, and in turn, it rubs off on her cousin Colin. all in all, it is a great moral in life at how one person can turn an entire family around with very little influence.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Relive your youth

    I remember reading this book as a kid but it seemed heavy and difficult back then. After re-reading it I see all that I missed during my first reading. It is a wonderful book full of suspense, sadness, happiness and hope. I really think it should be something that middle school or high school kids read as they are more adult to understand some of the concepts in it. Otherwise I suggest parents read it with your children so you can explain the vernacular and time period. I love the descriptions of the garden and characters. It is correct to be a classic. Read it and get transported to your youth, playing outside and enjoying nature.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Happy New Year! Start it off by reading good books.

    I posted on December 27, 2011 as "A PASSIONATE STORY". I forgot to recomend this book, so it's a wonderful book and you will enjoy reading it.

    12 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Best book ever!!!!!!!

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

    11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    Great

    I had to read it for school and i loved it

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    Terrible

    Not the book, but the loads and loads of typos. I downloaded the free version of the ebook to my nook. What a waste. I got so sick of trying to figure out what the book was trying to say, and bought the inexpensive version. I understand that free will not mean fancy, but if they are not even going to bother to at least proofread the typos out of the book, then why bother, it just makes them (Google books) look stupid.

    However, the book itself, the story, it is a very interesting tale. I am at a part of the book (no, I won't spoil anything) where Mary is discovering the world around her.

    A classic, and definitely worth a read.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    The secret garden

    This book tells a story of what can happen when a child sets there mind to somethinh they belive in or what they think is right

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    A PASSIONATE STORY

    The Secret Garden is an emotional story. It involves drama, love, sadness, and ends in happy way. Though it is a great book it would be challenging for young readers minds.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Anomymous

    I had to read for summer reading and it was so boring i really did not like it

    8 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful & Magical

    The story is simply told, with a kind of soft flourish that brings everything into vivid life.

    It's full of the kind of simple magic that fuels some of the best kinds of stories - at once believable, and simultaneously not just magic. The three main children each comes from a different life, a different way of looking at the world - and all three find the common ground as children only can.

    This is the kind of book that should be read in schools.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Great book

    In class i am reading this book it is great

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    Gardening

    I loved this story, and couldn't wait to hear what Mary was up to next.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    "I shall get well! and I shall live for ever and ever!"

    If you Love the movie you will enjoy the book even more. I remember watching the movie when i was little and just hateing how boring it was, but i just wasnt old enough to appreceate the story. This is not just a childrens stroy now that im older i understand the deeper meanings and it wasnt boring to me at all. its a very good story and if you read it as a kid. You need to go back and read it agian.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Book

    I love it that book so much

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1648 Customer Reviews

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