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4.7 out of 5 stars
A Little Princess (Sterling Unabridged Classics)
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167 of 170 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 1999
This book was a favorite of mine in my childhood, and, when I returned as an adult to re-read it to my own daughter, I discovered it all over again.
This is a story about a different kind of princess than one might imagine; a princess that is an orphan - lonely, cold, hungry and abused. Sara Crewe begins life as the beloved, pampered daughter of a rich man. When he dies a pauper, she is thrown on the non-existent mercy of her small-minded, mercenary boarding school mistress. Stripped of all her belongings but for one set of clothes and a doll, Sara becomes a servant of the household. Hated by the schoolmistress for her independent spirit, Sara becomes a pariah in the household, with only a few secretly loyal friends. But through her inner integrity and strength of will, Sara Crewe maintains the deportment, inner nobility and generous spirit of a "real" princess.
It is a fabulous story of the triumph of human will, and good over evil.
This story is a real classic, and needs no re-writing to be as enjoyable and readable today as it ever was. Ask my 8-year-old daughter, who has already re-read it twice. Accept no substitutes, re-writes, abridgements or copies! This is a work of art, and should not be tampered with.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
This book has familiar fairy tale figures, such as a wicked stepmother-like Miss Minchin, a fairy godfather, and an orphan protagonist who is a princess in disguise. It's the story of a little girl who endures some setbacks but reaches a happy ending not only for herself, but for those around her whom she helps even when she's pretty downtrodden.
The writing is charming and Sara comes through as a person who is determined to maintain her values, through good times and bad. She has a definite personality and that is a good role model for any child. She stays true to her beliefs in being kind, mannerly, charitable and above all, herself.
The magic in this book is unsurpassed in children's literature. When Sara comes home, wet and cold and neglected, to find that a magician has transformed her world, you can't help but be enchanted. I will admit to reading it again now and then as an adult. The charm is still there.
Just a fun factoid; A Little Princess was originally a shorter story titled Sara Crewe, in a volume of children's novelettes by Burnett.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2003
A Little Princess, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett was an inspiring story teaching a valuable lesson. Sara Crewe had everything she ever wanted when she went off to boarding school in London. Her fashionable dresses, high quality jewelery, and numerous accessories made her one of the elite. Sara's life was almost perfect, until her eleventh birthday, when a devastating tragedy occurred changing her life forever. Sara received news very abruptly that her father had died, leaving her "penniless". Sara's teacher, Ms. Minchin despised her because she had become poor, and treated her cruely. Now Sara must face her troubles and prove to everyone that she can be strong and perservere through her difficult times.
This book's moral states that everyone can be a princess when they put their minds to it. Being a princess is not about the fame and fortune, but about how you act in the situation into which you have been placed. You can be kind, or you can be mean; you can be content, or you can be greedy; you can be upset, or you can be optimistic. The book really relates to people who are going thruogh tough times in their lives and need reasurance and confidence.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2006
I have four words to say... I loved this book! It was an amazing book. It taught me many, many valuable lessons.

A young little girl named Sara Crewe, daughter of Captain Crewe, is an only child who was always treated like royalty. Her father was a very wealthy man and the two lived in India. Sara's father had to go to war so she was sent to Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies. There, Sara was also treated like royalty. Sad to say, Sara's father had died and at that moment, Miss Minchin turned Sara from riches to rags. Sara has always been a wise, smart, independent- spirited girl who would stand tall and believe in what's right. Whenever something went wrong Sara always turned the negatives into something positive. Sara made many friends, one of them being a rat. Another friend is a man that moved near Miss Minchin's Seminary, and made Sara's life a little bit better.

Sara found out why this man had moved here from India. The reason was he was in search of a certain young girl.

I do not want to give the ending away but I strongly believe anyone who reads this novel, will enjoy it as much as I did.

I feel this book was interesting, sad, emotional, fun, spritual, exciting and shocking all at the same time. That is why this is such a great book to read.

Check this book out and you too will love it!!!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2003
When I was six years old, I somehow became convinced that I was a princess. As a result, I now have a copy of this book inscribed "Christmas 1976...From the Queen".
I hadn't read it before, but it instantly became one of my favorites. I was reading it in bed when I got to the scene where Sara finds out her father is dead; I had to stop reading and cry myself to sleep.
There are other scenes, though, that didn't make me cry then, but they sure do now. "Guy Clarence" giving his sixpence to Sara, so convinced that he's setting her up for life. Sara giving away the currant buns to the real beggar child, and the shopkeeper's reaction: "Left just one for herself. And she could have eaten the whole six. I saw it in her eyes." And the very last scene: "Her name is Anne. She has no other."
Another scene that doesn't make me cry, but is still very moving, is when Ram Dass drops into Sara's attic to retrieve the monkey. That conversation plays on so many levels. First of all, he's respectful because she's white and female: kind of creepy from today's perspective, but OTOH, it's been a long time, at that point, since anyone has shown her any real respect. But, because they are both servants, he can be forthright with her, not just say "Yes, Missee Sahib" as he might have when she was wealthy. And moreover, it's refreshing for her to talk with him about India, which she apparently misses a lot. She was never miserable there, at any rate!
And this scene is crucial, because after he leaves, she is face to face with the realization that her life is not going to get any better (as it stood, without Burnett's plot machinations). She mulls this, then decides, "Whatever comes cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside." Much more inspiring than that sappy "All girls are princesses" junk from the movie.
Also, I realize now that Ermengarde really is dumb! Early on, Sara didn't need to be told that Becky was hungry, and having so much to spare, she freely shared food with her; nutritious stuff as well as delicacies. But Ermengarde has to be hit over the head with the concept before she timidly asks, "Sara...Are *you* ever hungry?" DUH! Miss Michin breaking up the feast was brutal beyond redemption, but Ermengarde was also remiss. She could have been smuggling food to Sara all along!
My only regret is that my copy does not have the Tasha Tudor illustrations. I have seen them, and they are very fine, but I'm not giving up my copy at this stage!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2000
I read this book in third grade, after seeing the motion picture and loving it. That was five years ago - and this incredible story is still fresh in my mind.
Sara Crewe's father sent her to a boarding school in London to keep her from the ill conditions of their home in India. All her life, Sara had been pampered and indulged in her every wish - but she is far from being spoiled and selfish. She obediently attends Miss Minchin's School for Girls and tries to ignore her longing for her father, who returns to business in India. Surrounded by admirers, expensive toys and clothes, Sara is just like the princess she makes believe she is. But then, her father dies of fever in India, penniless. Poor Sara is made a servant and is treated terribly. It is only her imagination that keeps her going - striving to remain a princess inside, her gentle and sweet manner is what finally brings her her reward.
A Little Princess is another wonderful story (one of my favorites of all time) by Francis Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Tasha Tudor.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2005
Sara is used to being catered to, but her being the one catering someone else is a little different. How can a perfect little princess go from riches to rags? Sara Crewe lived a perfect, wealthy life with a perfect dad. While at a boarding school for girls, she found out that her dad died penniless. That was when her life changed. Her evil head mistress made Sara wear rags and work in the kitchen. I would recommend this book to everyone, because it tells what very rich and very poor people's lives are like, and character traits of a real friend.

This story really shows how rich and poor people's lives are like. Let me start with Sara being very rich. As told in this story and many other stories, rich people never do anything themselves. There's always a maid or someone catering to them. This story also tells that Sara has very, very expensive clothes and the other girls envy her, of course. Also, Sara's father wished for her to learn French. Many rich people often know more that one language, even at the age of seven.

Now, this story also told me how Sara's life was like when she was very, very poor. You probably already have a picture in your head of how a poor person would look like and live, but this story is very detailed. At one point in the story, it said that a family started crying when they saw Sara on the streets and gave the poor girl some bread and water. Miss Minchin was so evil, that when she found out that Sara was penniless, she took advantage of her and made her live in a cold attic with very, very thin rags. She made her work very, very hard all day, or else she wouldn't give Sara any food or shelter.

This story also tells about Sara and her friend Anne. Anne was another very poor girl who Miss Minchin took advantage of. This story shows how real friends should act. When Sara first saw Anne, she was nice to her. Even though Sara was rich and Anne wasn't. Sara also helped get Anne food, a lot. In return, when Sara was poor, Anne got her food too. And even when Sara was poor, she still acted and treated Sara just the same. That is how real friends are supposed to act.

As you can see, this story tells about rich and poor people's lives. And it shows character traits of real friends and how they are supposed to act. This book was an awesome book and was very detailed. I recommend this book to everybody!

H. Plumlee
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2000
"A Little Princess" is perhaps the only book I have read which determedly sticks to its title. Motherless Sara Crewe is sent from India to school at Miss Minchin's in Victorian England. Her father was tremendously rich, and Sara is treated accordingly - as a little princess. Her classmates nickname her Princess Sara, some in affection and some in scorn, but in this space of about four years, Sara befriends a poor, overworked little scullery maid about the same age as herself, Ermengarde, a rather fat, awkward little girl without many friends, and a very small girl called Lottie who has lost her mother. Then her father dies and his wealth disappears, and Sara must learn to cope with being demoted from show-pupil to scullery drudge. but Sara carries with her a loving heart and a quick imagination, and through this continues to hold herself as a princess would. Her princess status is eventually reinstated, with the discovery of her late father's best friend, who has been holding Captain Crewe's fortune for him and just looking for Sara.
The book is of course a truly wonderful classic, highlighting severe social concerns around the Victorian era, but the only problem I have ever had with it is Sara's sheer perfection. Modern children may feel at times as if they are being preached at. It is however, a book that both children and adults can read again and again to share Sara's fortune, her joys and her love.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2007
When I was in third grade, I longed for a story that I could actually enjoy and remember nearly everything that goes on. You see, I couldn't find ANYTHING interesting until I found Secret Garden, Black Beauty, and A Little Princess, all of which I literally COULDN'T PUT DOWN. Now in fifth grade, I continue to read these books again and again and again and again and again and again and again and... you get the picture. $[...] is a great price for a book like this. If you have not yet read this, I strongly reccomend you read it. You will be blown away at this.

Hope you enjoy the story!

-[EoN] FrenchFryMayo
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2012
A Little Princess is a classic story of a rich little girl who is put under the care of a bitter, selfish schoolhouse matron. At first, the girl is treated as a star pupil; but when her father dies a ruined man, she is cruelly forced to become a servant of the schoolhouse--but her sweet, vibrant nature keeps her alive during these hard times. I have seen quite a few movie adaptations, but the book is much better than the movies. This is a good book for people of all ages to read.
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