Secret Plan for a Secret Garden

Bwahahahaha! My secret plan is working.

A few weeks ago I started reading a Secret Garden to my eight year-old. At first she was resistant–she is more Wimpy Kid and Super Diaper Baby and Baby Mouse. She doesn’t like books with too many words and not enough illustrations. So I bought a gorgeous version of Frances Hodgsen Burnette’s Secret Garden illustrated by Graham Rust. I told her she could pick a story and then I would read her a chapter from the Secret Garden. The first few nights were touch and go. “This book is dumb.” “Yuck, the Secret Garden! That is so boring.” And then we hit the chapter with a cry in the night. I read my one chapter and then she said I could go ahead and read one more.

Last night she fell asleep just as Mary found the door to the garden. But then tonight, a miracle. When I suggested she pick a story out, she told me to go ahead and read A Secret Garden.

I read just a little bit and then she admitted the book scared her a little. I’m sure she is still thinking about a hundred-room mansion with cries in the middle of the night.

It’s funny, for me, re-reading this as an adult there are two things I’m noticing. Number one–how frickin’ long this book runs on about green shoots and Robin’s twittering, move it along Burnett! Number two–that this is sort of like Wuthering Heights for children. Maybe because I just recently watched the BBC version with Tom Hardy as Heathcliff. But moors, cries in the night, grief, etc.

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