The Secret Garden


At first, Mary Lennox is resistant to the change in her circumstances. After all, she’s moved from the heat of India to the wet wilderness of Yorkshire and an unknown uncle. However as she begins to explore the grounds of Misselthwaite Manor something is unlocked in Mary. Furthermore a robin leads her to discover the key to The Secret Garden that was walled off after the death of Mary’s uncle’s wife. What might Mary discover? Could it be that Martha’s gardening brother, Dickon, might help Mary recover something wonderful?

Within the manor house, Mary is aware of howling and wailing. Mary is determined to discover its source despite Mrs Medlock’s denials. The boy behind the door is ill and lonely and scared. How can Mary help him? Could The Secret Garden offer this boy a lifeline, and a connection to Mary’s uncle, too?

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic story is brought to glorious life in Claire Freedman’s retelling. The text is comprehensive, flowing and legitimate. We realise Mary’s discovery, release and hope and how her actions transform those about her. Furthermore Shaw Davidson’s illustrations are empathetic, lush and beautiful. This is a proud and wonderful interpretation of The Secret Garden,


The Secret Garden

Retold by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Shaw Davidson

(Puffin Classics)

Mary Lennox has been ‘sent across the seas to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven.’ Yet he, like The Secret Garden, is hidden and distant. However, as angry Mary Lennox begins to explore her new Yorkshire home, she begins to unpick the limbo of Misselthwaite Manor.

Who is the howling boy she hears in the house and why does Mrs Medlock deny what is evident? Furthermore, what is behind the closed off garden walls? Then, what discoveries will the robin lead Mary to make? Why do the grounds of Misselthwaite Manor seem to inspire Mary? Could it be something to do with new growth, a friendship with Dickon and thereafter something that could restore Colin?

Claire Freedman and Shaw Davidson retell and illustrate this classic children’s book perfectly. This is such a respectful, beautiful interpretation. It seems like we are discovering the setting and story with Mary Lennox in some way. Like Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton’s reimagining of Peter Pan The Secret Garden is an invitation to new readers to discover an essential story. Bookwagon is proud to share this book with our readers.


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