'''People never like me and I never like people,' Mary thought.'
When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoilt and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely. Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the Manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine...
BACKSTORY: Take our quiz, learn about the plucky author and find out about the real secret garden.
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The Secret Garden should be on every child's bookshelf - The Times
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is my 'current' favourite children's book. I reread it to my six-year-old daughter last summer and both of us loved it - although she did require me to have a go at the full Yorkshire accent for Dickon, which proved a little bit tricky. It has magic, darkness, whimsy and truth and the fact that it was first published in 1909 yet still managed to enthral my 21stcentury daughter is a testament to its greatness -
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a wonderful story that I could think myself into, given that the heroine is the sort of awkward little girl that I thought I was. I loved the idea of a secret place where children could be on their own -
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics! - National Association for the Teaching of English
Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester in 1849. After living in poverty, she emigrated to the US in 1865. She wrote over forty books; the best-known today are The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy. She died in 1924.