Well, I remember that Miss Hill read this to us in 3rd grade. At least I think it was Miss Hill. She was far and away the best teacher I ever had in elementary school, so anything good that happened in those days had to have been at the instigation of Miss Hill. One rather strange boy in our class, who was there for only a year or two before going off to a private school became besotted with The Secret Garden
. So, anyway, I did know something about the book. I may even have seen parts of a BBC dramatization of it. But, what brought me to read this book was my having decided I should figure out who Little Lord Fauntleroy
was. It turns out the author of LLF
wrote The Secret Garden
. Who knew? Since I thought LLF was a well-told story, I figured I had nothing to lose in stuffing TSG
onto my kindle. It's in public domain after all.
Anyway, it's a great story. Perhaps a bit saccharine in parts, perhaps a bit implausible in parts, but a great story none-the-less. Basically, it involves two über-spoiled children (10 rather than Flavia DeLuce's and Penrod's 11 or Emma Graham's 12, but still at that age when you're still a child, but have become fundamentally competent) who find redemption in their relationship with each other and in their tending a secret garden, a garden that has been locked away and (mostly) neglected for 10 years. They are aided in this by an idiot-savant rustic (12, I believe), who knows everything to know about living and growing things and who charms animals (crows, squirrels, bunnies, and the like).
The one part that will be difficult for American readers is that an important part of the story revolves around the antics of a local robin, a robin who lives in the secret garden. Well, British robins are nothing at all like American robins, so one's got to do some mind bending to get around the robin part. Just pretend it's a spunky sparrow with a spot of read on his throat.