Ever since its first publication in 1911, The Secret Garden has become one of the best loved children's books of all time. Burnett's novel tells the story of sullen and self-absorbed Mary Lennox, who, after the death of her parents in India, is sent to live with her reclusive uncle in his large and lonely house on the Yorkshire moors. In the dreary countryside, Mary discovers a walled garden, neglected and in ruins; and in a distant room in her uncle's house she finds a cousin she never knew existed -- Colin, an invalid, ignored by his father and expecting to die. Mary and Dickon, a Yorkshire boy and Pan figure, befriend Colin and set about restoring the garden, which opens a world of magic, reconciling the children to the world of life and offering a "natural, splendid happiness." This extraordinary novel, which has influenced such writers as T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence, highlights the transforming effects of love, joy, and nature, and of mystical faith and positive thinking.
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)