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Welcome to the first week of Book Jumper Summer Reading Series! This is my way of inspiring parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer!
Our summer reading program will be a combination of some really neat things. All of our protagonists are girls or women and most of our showcased authors are women as well. I will be offering up a combination of themed weeks, great novels, booklist giveaways, and blog post recaps so be sure and stop by to discover more wonderful ways have A Bookjumper Summer while Exploring Our World and Beyond!
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”
We here at Jump Into a Book are jumping into a new area that we have yet to explore: we are reviewing The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Obviously, we know everything there is to know about our beloved classic children’s book. However, we realized that while we have written a whole novel jumping into The Secret Garden, we have yet to actually review it. So here we go!
From the Desk of Hannah Rials
Mary Lennox is an unpleasant, ugly, selfish child who is disliked by everyone who has come into contact with her. Her lifestyle in India has made her a spoiled child ready to order everyone around and have her way absolutely. When her absentee mother and father and the rest of her Indian household are all killed by an outbreak of cholera, she is sent to live with her hunchbacked, mysterious uncle in the moors at Misselthwaite Manor. Her uncle’s English household is appalled at her lack of manners and her inability to care for herself. They cannot see past her yellow, ugly manner. She has no appetite; she at first despises the moor and the English people who serve her and do not understand her way of living.
However, the more time she spends at the Manor, the more she listens to her maid Martha’s stories, the more she transforms. Her discovery of her uncle’s secret garden, locked away with a buried key, shows her the beauty of life. She becomes kind and gentle, aided by her belief in magic and her interactions with Martha’s brother Dickon, the charmer of all animals.
Misselthwaite is just an odd place. There is magic and there is mystery. When Mary begins to hear mysterious crying in the middle of the night, and after never quite receiving a straight answer from anyone in the household, she, and her complete lack of respect for authority, decided to explore the manor and discover the other secret of Misselthwaite–Master Craven’s son, Colin Craven, the diagnosed invalid who is most certainly going to die. Plagued by chronic hypochondria, Colin is an absolutely insufferable child who commands that everyone obey his every command since he is eventually going to die, whether from a crooked back, an outbreak of some disease, or his own thought. Once Mary and he discover each other, the rest of the household realize that the two cousins are kindred souls. She is the only one stubborn and selfish enough to let his own selfishness bounce off of her. Only she can calm him when he bursts into one of his fits or tell him when he is being ridiculous. Soon, Mary begins to trust her young cousin with her most precious secret: the secret garden.
With the help of Mary, Dickon, Ben Weatherstaff, and all of the creatures of the garden, Colin begins to come alive during his time in the garden. His epiphany gives him determination to live so that, when his father returns, he can show him that he is not an invalid. He is in fact, a young, healthy boy who is going to be an athlete and a scientific discoverer…a scientist who believes in the power of magic most certainly. In the secret garden, he learns to walk, run, plant, exercise, and love life.
The secret garden is a magical place where dead things come alive–plants, animals, an even small, unpleasant children.
I must admit, even though I helped with the creation of A Year In the Secret Garden, I had never actually read a full copy of The Secret Garden, only the abridged version from Great Illustrated Classic when I was a very little girl. I must say, reading it as an adult, I LOVED it! This is a beautiful story with wonderful ideas that all children should be taught. Now that I’ve started gardening in my own garden, I was able to appreciate the amazing magic of the secret garden. If this book somehow managed to slip through your reading repertoire as a child, as it did in mine, go back and read it. I think this would be a marvelous story to read aloud with your kids too. You just can’t ignore Mary Lennox and Colin Craven. They will not allow it!
Interesting Facts about Frances Hodgson Burnett:
- After her father died when she was young, her mother moved their family from Manchester England to Knoxville, Tennesse, a short drive from JIAB’s home base.
- Frances began writing stories when she was a young child, however, her mother forced her to burn her stories before they moved to the United States.
- Frances’ adult home in England was named Great Maytham Hall.
- She too had a passion for gardening like her young characters in The Secret Garden.
- Spiritualism and Christian Science became a major aspect of her life after her oldest son died. She worked these ideas in the novel through Colin’s power of positive thinking.
- Throughout her writing career, Frances wrote 124 novels.
A Look At author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Home in England
Here’s an excerpt from a great article on the topic written by Into The Book:
Mrs. Burnett apparently got the idea for the book while staying at the home between 1898 and 1907. She spent hours wandering through the gardens and observing its inhabitants. The little red robin that shows Mary Lennox the way to the hidden garden door actually appeared in real-life to Frances who found a hidden door of her own, giving her the idea for the story! (I’d like to meet this clever robin!) Read the rest of this interesting story HERE.
What was YOUR favorite part of the classic The Secret Garden? Have you read A Year In the Secret Garden yet? If so, what has been your favorite activity thus far? Please share in the comment box below!
Enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. AND, it’s on sale for a limited time! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” Grab this book on Amazon http://amzn.to/1DTVnuX