The Secret Garden

Last week, a surprise arrived in the mail. You see, way back in 2013, I entered a contest run by a couple of awesome kid lit bloggers and won. The prize was to have been a box full of the best books of the year. Unfortunately, the box never came. I received an email at one point, apologizing for its tardiness, but I still never received my prize. It was a bit disappointing, and honestly, it reminded me of why I don't run contests or sell things over eBay or Etsy. I hate mailing packages. I forgot all about it.

Surprise! Last week, I received two gift cards to Schuler Books, an independent store in Michigan, with a note of apology. How exciting is that? Especially given that the day the cards arrived, it was freezing cold and snowy and I was feeling very bookish. I placed my first order right away.

This is one of the books I ordered.

I love The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I first read it in fifth grade, while attending the school my daughters attend now. I remember, Mary Anne Spier was reading it in one of The Baby-Sitters Club books. We watched a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie version in Library, too. (That one has a weird tacked-on ending, but it also has the kid from The Neverending Story.) I finally read it after reading A Little Princess, also by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My dad bought me a little Apple Classics paperback ($2.50!) at the mall.

I loved this book. I loaned it to my mother, then read it again when she finished it. I mean, look at that cover! That is a well-worn, well-loved book!

While I still have my childhood copy, as well as the beautiful Annotated Secret Garden, it's hard to resist a pretty, illustrated hardcover.

Let's open my new copy, shall we?

Oh, look - end papers. Let us take a moment to drool over the beautiful end papers.

Of course, looking at the title page, you can see why I just had to have this particular copy.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Lauren Child.
A Puffin Deluxe Hardcover Classic. Puffin, 2013.
Lauren Child! It's illustrated by Lauren Child! I love Lauren Child. Charlie and Lola? Clarice Bean? My favorite copy of Pippi Longstocking?

Last week, it was cold and snowy. Today, it is in the 60s. It felt like spring all weekend. While I am still more of a fall and winter girl, I admit there is a little part of me that looks forward to (early) spring. Easter eggs and daffodils and green all around. I think I'll re-read The Secret Garden!

Penguin and Puffin do such an amazing job on their classics, right? My only quibble would be that the book is bound so tightly that it's difficult to hold open.

Minor quibble. I'll live.

I'll have another Lauren Child book on the blog tomorrow.

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  1. Oh, that is lovely. Thank you for sharing! I also had the Apple Classic version as a child - I think I still do, hidden in a box somewhere, waiting for my kids to get a wee bit older.

    1. I think mine might be missing a page or two. I was hard on my paperbacks as a kid! I would carry them around everywhere: in my back pocket (or coat pocket), in my messy backpack, and I was renowned for my incredibly messy desk at school. Books did not remain "pretty" for long!

  2. That book is gorgeous. I'm so happy you finally "won" your prize!

    1. I'm very pleased with this book. I had only seen thec cover, so when it came to the illustrations, I had my fingers crossed! I also grabbed the next Oz book I needed, and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. I'm trying to be good and save the GC for gift purchases, but the new Ishiguro is calling my name. And the new Alice Hoffman kid's book!

  3. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! this is BETTER than that box of books! oh man oh man - i gotta have one of these too! i gotta! this is gorgeous! i'm freaking out!

    and ok, can i tell you something? you're going to freak out. i've kind of only skimmed The Secret Garden - I just never loved it as much as A Little Princess, I thought of it kind of like it was the bastard stepchild or something (i'm sure that lingo was not going thru my 4th grade brain ha ha ha) anyway - i feel like i must have been CRAZY or something! i'm going to ask for this for an Easter present! or get it for Julia as an Easter present!

    this is amazing and Lauren Child is amazing and you're amazing and books are amazing. wow, a box of books omigolly, can you imagine???? but being able to pick out what you want is probably going to be more awesome in the long run. You chose so well, my friend!

    1. I've done that before, too - loved a book so much, then tried to start another book by the same author or with a similar theme, only to feel let down because it isn't the same. Storywise, The Secret Garden is very different from A Little Princess. Mary Lennox is a brat, and her cousin Colin is even worse. But they're sad, spoiled but unloved children, and the story is about their growth and, dare I say, blossoming. And I love Dickon and Martha and Ben Weatherstaff. You do need to give it another try!

      The big box should have arrived before last Christmas, and I was totally going to give some of it as presents. I remember it would have included a Hildafolk book and Flora & Ulysses. It's okay, though. I always have plenty of books on my to-buy list!


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