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Friday, August 3, 2018
3:25 pm edt
The Secret Garden
You’d think in all my years
of being an avid reader and purveyor of all things literary, I would have read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. But, alas, while I am quite familiar with the story from seeing the various television versions
and movies – most especially the 1993 film starring Kate Maberly and Maggie Smith – I have not had the pleasure
of actually reading the original book. Until this past month…
Harper Design [an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers] publication of
an illustrated and inter-active
edition of this timely and timeless classic is a very beautiful as well as great read. Especially, if like me, you
enjoy a good book all the more by its look, feel, and, yes, smell. You laugh, but a light scent of clean ink emanating from
the pages evokes feelings and, often, memories. As did this rendition of Burnett’s third novel for children first published
in 1911. [The first novel was Little Lord Fauntleroy, published
in 1885–1886 and the second was A Little Princess, published in 1905. Oh, to be back in those early last-century halcyon days when all one need worry about was if little
spoiled Mary finds the key and is able to help heal Colin…
I am sure
most of you know the story, so I won’t repeat it here. But in the hands of Harper Design and its talented staff of editors,
the narrative takes on a whole new dimension. Or, dimensions, if you will. For inside the pages of the light orange gilded
gold covers are lavish illustrations by the talented artistic duo of Minalima [Eduardo and Miraphora Lima, who also illustrated
the Harry Potter series] and a wealth of interactive elements that literally bring Burnett’s novel alive. There
are a pop-up red robin that hides the ornate key to the garden; a quart-fold map of the garden; a coiling snake; a rotating
wheel to ascertain the growing season of certain flowers… Just to name a few. All coordinated together to make this
not only a feast for the mind, but a demonstrative experience for all the senses.
If you read about Frances Hodgson Burnett at wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Hodgson_Burnett, you will learn that she
enjoyed socializing and lived quite a lavish lifestyle. Not only was she a novelist for adults as well as children, she was
also an accomplished playwright and, in later years, the host of salon in Washington, D.C. attended by both politicians and
members of the literati. Reading about her interesting life and learning these facts made my [finally] reading The Secret
Garden all the more enjoyable. And given her eclectic tastes, I am sure she would proudly revel in this latest rendition
of one her favorite literary endeavors.
If you haven’t had the pleasure
of meeting Mary Lennox, Dickon, and Colin… If you are in the least bit curious about the garden and its almost miraculous
restoration at the hands of a once spoiled child… If you have a few summer afternoons to wile away, then might I suggest
you “disappear” into the pages of this edition? It is, indeed, a treat. A gift to and for one’s own heart
and soul. And, most assuredly, a gift to give others that will always be treasured.
Enjoy the read!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her sixth novel.