After losing her parents and being shipped from India to the Yorkshire Moors, Mary Lennox is terribly lonely. Living in her uncle's gloomy mansion, she has nobody to play with. But one day, she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that her uncle won't allow anyone to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed - and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly, she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined...
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden's portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived. (Ages 9 to 12)