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on 30 November 2002
I read this book many times as a child and loved it every time. This adaptation for audio cassette is excellent. The narrator captures the mood wonderfully. The story concerns a strange, thoughtful, loving little girl whose father sends her to boarding school after she has spent her first few years in India. She remains a "little princess" in spite of extreme hardship and heartache. Even though this is a fairy story in many ways, the characters are superbly drawn. It is very moving but not sentimental. My 7 year old son has very much enjoyed listening to this story.
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2010
Oh yes, you may laugh at the title of this review, or snigger or deride
but The Secret Garden is an amazing book. It is a model of construction and language, character (both of children and adults), behaviour, suspense and humour. Of course, it is about a time which, although just 100 years ago, is as far from us today as the Grecian Wars. But the author gives us a picture of a time without computers and mobile phones when a garden was a place to be simply enjoyed not forgotten in a rush for something ever more popular and a time when being active was a way of life. As you may gather I enjoy this book every time I read it and although it was meant for children of that time, it reverberates for modern day adults too.
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on 24 September 2001
"A little Princess" by "Frances Hodgson Burnett" Unusually this book reverses the rags-to-riches theme. Sara Crewe is sent by her father from India to live in England as a Parlour border at Miss Minchin's select Seminary for Young ladies. Sara lives in luxury,even for a parlour border as her rich young father is prepared to spend a great deal of money on her she has a pony and a carriage,and a French maid. She also had a wardrobe far to grand for a child her age. Even though she had a great number of expensive toys
Sara spent most of her time making up stories in her head and then telling them to the other girls. The favourite of the stories made up
in her head was that she was a princess. When asked if she would keep this view even if she didn't have all the luxuries of a princess
and was reduced to poverty. She insists that whatever situation you are in you can still be a princess as long as you belief it inside. Ironically she was forced to put this to the test when on her eleventh birthday her father dies of jungle fever and becomes bankrupt and instead of being the show student at Miss Minchin's school she is forced to work as a servant and live in the attic. But Sara knows that she will always remain a princess inside. When I read this book I was absolutely captivated with the idea that whatever situation you are in you can also be a princess inside. Along with the message that you can always be a princess it also has the strong messages of hope and friendship.
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on 5 July 2007
We bought this lovely story for my daughter, after being fed up with the constant diet of Captain Underpants et al, that she always seemed to bring home from school. The idea was that I would read some classic literature to her each day before she went to bed. The first chapters brought forth constant grumbles and complaints (they are rather boring), but once the story got going, my daughter and I were hooked. She absolutely loved it and listened in rapt attention to every word. I don't know why the story is so magical, but somehow, it certainly is.

Unusually, the central character changes from one character to another, quite an interesting concept that actually works seamlessly, without the reader actually realising that the focus has changed.

As the garden works it's charm on the children, they slowly change from their normal selfish demeanor to care for one another and share in each other's joy.

A really lovely story. After we had finished, my daughter wanted more of the same. Captain Underpants was thankfully, relegated.
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on 6 May 2012
I actually chose to read this for the first time as an adult, having only ever come across the story in a 1993 film. The book, like most Barnes and Noble leather-bound classics is a nice addition to any collection. I would say that if you were intending to buy the same story brand new then spend a little more for this copy, it is lovely and these are the sort of books that will be nice to pass on to other generations. I like the story very much, it is well written and worth a read whether an adult or child.
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on 13 November 2009
It's so wonderful to see a new edition of this timeless book. An avid reader when small, I devoured this book time and time again so my copy definitely needs replacing. I really hope that this new look will mean that millions more little girls will grow up with Sara Crewe like I did!
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on 28 August 2008
This must surely be one of the sweetest, loveliest books a girl could read in childhood. It's been a long time but reading it again all these years down the line (aged 21), it still holds such charm, wonder and profound messages about class, poverty and happiness that I know it'll be returning to my shelf to read again and pass on to my own children.

It tells the story of Sara Crewe, a rich little girl brought up in India by her beloved father, who moves to England to go to boarding school at the gloomy seminary belonging to the formidable Miss Minchin. She is the star pupil, dressed in finery and always happy to share her good fortune and vivid imagination with her classmates. But when a tragic twist of fate strips her of everything, Sara ends up a poor orphan working as a drudge in the seminary where once she was idolised by her fellow pupils. Miss Minchin uses this as a fine opportunity to take a sort of revenge on this strange little girl, who she has never understood but has always indulged thanks to her wealth. But no matter how hard her life becomes, she remains generous and polite to those around her, rich and poor alike, pretending that she is a princess in order to keep her morals and spirits strong. Finally, just as even her fiery spirit is at breaking point, an English gentleman who has been living in India moves into the house next door and magical things start to happen as their interest in each other grows. Of course everything will come right in the end, but I won't give away any more because it deserves to be read and enjoyed...

This is a beautiful, moving, and inspiring novel, whether you're 6 or 60! It is well written, with highly individual and well-rounded characters, and a wealth of description which makes it very atmospheric and allows even a child to see Sara's London in vivid detail. There are images in the book which I could still remember clearly and recognise years after I read it as a little girl, and even now I was holding my breath and waiting for everything to fall into place! In today's selfish modern society it also provides a reminder of how a little generosity and kindness goes a long way, and is a perfect fairy tale for littler princesses too. I'd also recommend 'The Secret Garden' for a slightly less girlie but equally sweet, timeless and beautiful story.
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on 10 June 2009
This has to be my favourite book in the world. I just love it. I've read it at least six times in the past few months, and yet I never grow bored.

It's a lovely story. A young, rich, kind and intelligent girl, called Sara, is sent away to a boarding school. She has a vivid imagination and is always making up stories.
When Sara's father dies, she is left with no relations in the world, and ends up in poverty - she has to work at the school for no pay and little food.
However, she is determinded that no matter how hunger, cold or tired she is, she won't give in.
With the help of her firends and her "pretending" stories, she overcomes the hardships and proves that anyone can be a princess inside.
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on 22 February 2008
I loved this book when I was a child and have looked around for a while at various different illustrated editions. This one is absolutely lovely and a real bargain at this price. It is the first version i have seen where the illustrations live up to the images in my head. Gorgeous full page illustrations and also lots of small ones on most pages. A beautiful book.
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on 8 May 2009
This was my favourite book as a child, and I stil love to re-read it. The book is just magical, and left me wishing I had a big old manor in the moors to explore (despite the rainy brownie trips to the moors!) If you have children this is a must, but even for adults -give it read and be a kid for a while :)
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