Francis Hodgson Burnett. · reading · The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I remember I started reading it because I didn’t have anything else to read. I had been putting it off because it looked long but when I began, out of sheer boredom, I had become entranced. That was years ago. I couldn’t have told you much about it, only that I had liked it as a child, until now.

There is a scary used bookshop where my parents live and I had found an old copy of The Little Princess without a price. They had to get back to me and when they did I asked my mom to pick it up for me knowing it might become a Christmas present but willing to pay her back if it wasn’t.  While she was there she also picked up an old illustrated copy of The Secret Garden.  When I opened them up on Christmas I was pleased but when (out of boredom again) I began the The Secret Garden I was shocked. Let me explain first by telling you that I’m crazy for Tasha Tudor. She astounds me. The way she lived, the children’s books she’s written all of it. So imagine my delight when purely by chance I realize that this copy was illustrated by Tasha Tudor! I was thrilled! What a happy accident (or wonderful side blessing).

The Secret Garden is the most magical book I’ve ever read. It’s not fairies and spells but something better. Magic bursting forth from a wand can be awesome and is certainly fun but magic slowly unfurling itself in the blossom of a flower or the bud of a leaf is so much more powerful so much more real. The way that Frances Burnett links the awakening of this garden with the awakening of two children is so sweet.

I think there is something magic to our souls when we read something precious to us, even more perhaps if it is meant for children. Winter is so slow, take time to read an old favorite of yours or read this one it is so wonderful. The only drawback to this book is that I read it at the beginning of winter and am really itching to plant some rose bushes!

      The Thin white hands shook a little and Colin’s flush grew deeper as he set the rose in the mould and held it while old Ben made firm the earth. It was filled in and pressed down and made steady. Mary was leaning forward on her hands and knees. Soot had flown down and marched forward to see what was being done. Nut and Shell chattered about it from a cherry-tree.
    “It’s planted!” said Colin at last. “And the sun is only slipping over the edge. Help me up, Dickon.  I want to be standing when it goes. That’s part of the Magic.”

     And Dickon helped him, and the Magic-or whatever it was-so gave him strength that when the sun did slip over the edge and end the strange lovely afternoon for them there he actually stood on his two feet-laughing.

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