The Secret Garden Book Review

The Secret Garden Book Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 5 Star Rating)

Death, disability and gardening - We take a look at this classic kidz book to find out if it will wind up in your compost bin.

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Ages: 9+
Rating: 5

Death, disability, friendship, secrets and gardening! It's an odd combo but - really -what more could you ask for in a book? Kidzworld takes a look at the classic kids' book, The Secret Garden. See if it's coming up roses or winds up in the compost bin!

Gardening in the Time of Cholera

Mary Lennox is a miserable little girl - and who could blame her? She's constantly sick, her 'rents have died of Cholera (not that they were very nice anyway), she's been uprooted from her home in India and now she's living with her weird-o uncle in the middle of Yorkshire, England. She hears crying in the halls, meets a boy who can talk to animals and finds a secret door that she becomes obsessed with trying to open.

In a Dead Lady's Garden in the Shade

Mary's life takes an unexpected twist when she hears about a secret garden (okay, so it's not all that unexpected in a book titled The Secret Garden) that used to belong to her Uncle's wife - who died during childbirth. With a little investigation and a lot of luck, Mary finds the garden and sets about restoring it to its former glory. Around the same time, she discovers that the unexplained noises she's been hearing are actually the cries of her cousin, who is so sick that he can't walk - and is kept hidden away by his father!

The Healing Garden

While Mary's friendship blossoms with her cousin Colin, the animal-whisperer Dickon and her uncle's gardener, so does her secret garden. Mary and Colin learn that they're stronger, kinder people than they ever imagined and that the only limits they have are the ones they set for themselves. Most of all they learn that happiness doesn't just happen to you - you have to decide to be happy. Who needs Dr. Phil when you've got petunias?!

The Bottom Line

The Secret Garden was written in 1911 but is still a kid-favorite because of its gripping story, colorful characters and positive message. It uses some pretty sophisticated language (and some interesting Yorkshire slang), which may be a bit tricky for some - but don't let that scare you off! The only limits you have are the ones you set for yourself!

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