My most favourite book of all time has to be The Secret Garden. It was a book from my early childhood that I remember signing out of the library many, many times.
I’m sure it was a sign that I would love gardening when I grew up. I have six different copies of this book, from a 1911 version to some Children’s versions to my latest which is an interactive version.
Mary Lennox, a young girl from India, arrives to live with Archibald Craven in England. He is her uncle and is given custody of Mary after both her parents died in a cholera epidemic. His home is Misseltwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England. She arrives as a stubborn and rude child whom her uncle wants very little to do with.
While he is away, which he frequently is, she discovers a walled garden which is always locked. She also hears sobbing and crying in the house but no one will answer her questions or tell her anything about it. Mysteries she wants to solve.
She becomes friendly with Martha, a maid at the manor, and through her meets Dickon and discovers the garden. With her new friends she starts to tend the garden, unearthing the long forgotten plants, watching the trees and shrubs bloom, and planting new seeds. When she finally meets Colin Craven she is determined to get him outside and into the garden.
The interactive version that I have I received a couple of years ago from our daughter, a librarian. This one was printed in 2018 and has a series of interactive pages throughout the story – pull out maps and diagrams, letters, and more. It is an adult version of a pop up book. There are beautiful illustrations throughout the book, right down to a flower with each page number. I just love it.
The photos don’t do justice to the lovely interactive features in the book.
This story has been in print, on stage, filmed, and on television. I haven’t watched the film or tv versions as I always find the adaptations different from the book. I guess I just don’t want to spoil my vision of the story.
Mary, Colin and Dicken spend many hours tending the plants in The Secret Garden, slowly bringing it back to life. Mr Craven returns home to find the garden alive, and not just with plants.
If you have read the book you will know what happens in the ending. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will get a chance to read it soon. You will be able to follow Mary as she uncovers the secrets in The Secret Garden. A classic!