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The Secret Garden (Norton Critical Editions)
 
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The Secret Garden (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

Frances Hodgson Burnett , Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,014 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 23, 2006 0393926354 978-0393926354 8 - 12 years 3 - 7

Frances Hodgson Burnett was the highest paid and most widely read woman writer of her time, publishing more than fifty novels and thirteen plays.

Born in England and transplanted to New York toward the end of the Civil War, Burnett made her home in both countries, and today both countries claim her as their own. The Secret Garden, her best-known work, became an instant modern classic and world-wide bestseller upon its publication in 1911. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is based on the first edition and is accompanied by explanatory annotations.

"Backgrounds and Contexts" and "Letters" illuminate important aspects of Burnett’s life and work and include her own writings on gardens and their spiritual healing. Four illustrations point to Burnett’s prominence in popular culture.

"Criticism" includes fourteen contemporary reviews and nine recent critical views of The Secret Garden, including Jerry Phillips’s sociopolitical interpretation and Phyllis Bixler’s comparative analysis of the Broadway musical adaptation of the novel.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Soothing and mellifluous, native Briton Bailey's voice proves an excellent instrument for polishing up a new edition of Burnett's story. Bratty and spoiled Mary Lennox is orphaned when her parents fall victim to a cholera outbreak in India. As a result, Mary becomes the ward of an uncle in England she has never met. As she hesitantly tries to carve a new life for herself at imposing and secluded Misselthwaite Manor, Mary befriends a high-spirited boy named Dickon and investigates a secret garden on the Manor grounds. She also discovers a sickly young cousin, Colin, who has been shut away in a hidden Manor room. Together Mary and Dickon help Colin blossom, and in the process Mary finds her identity and melts the heart of her emotionally distant uncle. Bailey makes fluid transitions between the voices and accents of various characters, from terse Mrs. Medlock and surly groundskeeper Ben to chipper housemaid Martha. And most enjoyably, she gives Mary a believably childlike voice. A brief biography of the author is included in an introduction. Ages 6-12.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 970 (What's this?)
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393926354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393926354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,014 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
168 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books April 16, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this a couple times when I was a young teenager and now I just read it again 10 years later. It is still one of my favorite books. I love the theme that children need activities and hobbies and exercise to stay healthy, physically and mentally. I wish I had my own secret garden inside a stone wall :)
I think this is a wonderful book for any young child to read. The characters are good and the story is so beautiful.
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233 of 247 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Children's Classic October 12, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
For those of you who haven't read this, you should.

It's the story of Mary Lennox, who grew up in India, extremely spoiled by the servants, whose only job was to keep her quiet and out of the way of her parents. After her parents die she's sent to live with her uncle in England, a crotchety old man mourning the loss of his wife, who also wants nothing to do with her. Lonely, spoiled Mary explores the manor and the garden, finding all sorts of hidden secrets as well as her own happiness.

A must-read for children and adults. It's the kind of story that just makes you feel warm and comfortable inside.
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132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just received this glorious book. I have many renditions of the Secret Garden. This luxuriously, lovely book is filled with superb illustration that really captures the mood and era of the story, which is the early 1900's. There are so MANY illustrations, Inga Moore has created a painting for nearly every page! A really lovely addition to a collection or to share with your children. If you enjoy the artwork in this book, buy "The Wind in the Willows" also illustrated by Inga Moore .Simply wonderful!
In case you are unfamiliar with the story, it is the tale of a peevish, spoiled and sullen orphan girl, MARY LENOX, who comes to live in the home of her mysterious and emotionally distant uncle. She meets her sickly cousin, Colin, a young boy, hidden away from the world and convinced he is dying. Hidden behind a huge stone wall is a Secret Garden which is discovered by the girl,Mary; a garden as neglected and in need of care as these two children. As they bring the garden back to life, they bring themselves back to life as well, discovering joy and friendship in an enchanting and wonderful way. It really is a classic.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And delight reigneth! November 22, 2000
Format:Hardcover
Ages 9 and up the cover informs which at age 50 allows me in on one of the most beautiful reading experiences of a lifetime. It is romantic in the best sense of the word: one thinks of Blake's "to see a world in a grain of sand," or in this case in a secret garden. For this is a romance of two odd, solitary children who fall in love--not with each other--but with the world. To grow from isolation to friendship, from solitude to joy, from loathing of self to delight in nature, the themes are standard but deeply felt and movingly evoked in simple but lovely prose. The world is beautiful, once wrote Thomas Merton, to remind us we were originally meant for paradise. The Secret Garden is another such reminder. "I'm going to live forever and ever and ever," Colin famously exults and in this great book for children and adults he does and he does and he does.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literature gem, for any age March 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although The Secret Garden is supposed to be a children's novel, in my opinion it's beneficial for any age. It left me speechless because it contains so much wisdom that was laid out in plain English, more than a century ago. No wonder it took a while before this Frances Hodgson Burnett's (last?) novel became widely popular and praised the way it more than deserves. One of the few books I can read again and again!
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84 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistress Mary, quite contrary... November 1, 2003
By kate
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Secret Garden - my mum gave me this book when I was about eight and in the front it says: "for Kate, who will stay up reading until the wee hours of the morning." and it is true. I've read this book many times since then and I discover something new each time.
The characters are wonderful, especially Mary, Colin, Ben Weatherstaff and the "Yorkshire angel" Dickon. The changes that happen to both Mary and Colin throughout the book are a delight to observe.
I feel protected and happy once I've finished this book, things turn out happily, for the best and the image I have in my head of the Secret Garden surpasses anything I have ever seen in real life - and that is fine, for this is literature.
Read it.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret Garden May 2, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am an urban, public school teacher with a fifth grade reading group. The girls, as well as the boys, found this book to be spellbinding. I had students trying to smuggle copies of the book out of the room at the end of our period - just so they could read the next few chapters!!!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ABRIDGED! Watch out! November 2, 2013
By August
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
ABRIDGED!!!! The title of this book on Amazon is "The Secret Garden (Dover Children's Thrift Classics)." I did not notice until I received the book and was shocked at how thin it was that I saw that it said on the cover "Adapted for young reader" and then looked on Amazon and saw that in the faded print, *after* the title, it says "abridged."
Why anyone would abridge a classic is beyond me. It's not like the abridgers took the story and made it into a picture book for three year olds. They just abridged the text.
This will be going back. I am very disappointed.
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