Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 23 May 2020

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett  

Frances Hodgson Burnett was a great author in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She published her first stories as a teenager to help support her family. In 1885 she published Little Lord Fauntleroy which made her extremely popular. 

When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle after her parents’ deaths in India, everybody says she is the most ‘disagreeable-looking child’ ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale and spoilt. The phrase, “Mary Mary, Quite Contrary” comes to mind and it applies in Miss Lennox’s case all too well.

However, I realised quickly that Mary is also horribly lonely. She spends her days walking around the huge manor and is unable to pass time.

Then one day, by chance, she hears about a garden in the grounds of the manor that has been kept locked away and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine. The detail used to describe the garden really brought it to life in my eyes. I could almost smell the roses.

This book was interesting to read, as it links to fantasy novels. The writer uses several poetry techniques such as rhymes to entertain the reader. One example is an extract below.

“Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and marigolds, all in a row…”    

There is so much that we can take away from this brilliant book. Although it may be old, it makes us believe in the magic of nature and teaches us to express gratitude towards this beautiful thing known as life. It is important for one to put aside negative thoughts and allow positivity to bloom, just like the flowers from the garden, which could make a huge difference in one’s life. Life is all about living and embracing the beauty around us.

This classic book is a must read for each and every one, no matter what the age is. Although it is a children’s book, there is no denying that it is an excellent read for adults too.

Frances Hodgson Burnett includes a mixture of fantasy, adventure and mystery in her books, which both catch the reader's attention and make the stories fascinating to read. This book was overall, quite poetic and engaging.

It is available as a Vintage Classic and I look forward to buying the Puffins Clothbound Edition.


Yushra Fatima

May 2020