Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – The Secret Garden

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Heck, why not? Let’s talk The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. There is so much to love about this classic book that I’m not sure where to start.  I guess what I love about this book is that whenever I talk to children who have read it, they are all sure that there is magic in this story. Even though the plot of The Secret Garden  is more or less realistic there is a sense of magical realism in this that wins readers over,  and contributes to their surety that the magic in the book is real.

As a mom, one of my great joys is experiencing books I loved as a child again through the eyes of my daughter. I already blogged about reading The Little Prince together.  With The Secret Garden my daughter listened to it in the back of the car while were were driving to Alberta two summers ago. She had headphones on, so we couldn’t hear where she was at, but she would periodically yell “SHE JUST MET DICKON!” or “SHE’S ABOUT TO FIND COLIN!”. It was so lovely seeing her enjoy this story. She loved it so much she listened to it three or four times over the course of the very long trip.

For a middle grade book, this is quite a long one at over 80,000 words, but it’s well worth the effort. Also, being written in more “classical” style brings the reading level up to about grade 6. So it’s not necessarily a book for a struggling reader. That said, my daughter was captivated by a recording of it when she was five, so it’s certainly a wonderful choice for a book to listen to. Of course it’s a great “read to me” book too, especially for a mixed age group of siblings.

For this weeks “I can’t wait to read” I’m going with The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to “Groosling by Emily Ansara Baines (Author). I know it’s neither middle grade or fiction but I don’t care. I love food in books and I love remembering a book by the food I craved while I was reading it. I certainly did crave lamb stew while I read The Hunger Games. I also, of course, craved all kinds of food while reading the Harry Potter books. One of the strangest reading cravings I ever had though, was for liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches while reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Trilogy.

What strange craving have you gotten from books?

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9 thoughts on “Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – The Secret Garden

  1. Now this is a classical I can say for sure I’ve read… only many many years ago. I should make time to go and revisit. Also wasn’t there a movie made out of it? (unless my memories are playing tricks on me).

  2. As a kid, I didn’t read classics (I don’t know why??) other than WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. But I did read this aloud with my kids and wish I’d also read it when I was a kid because I love rereading and re-learning and seeing books with different perspectives.

  3. We read this in the car last summer and my 7-year-old enjoyed it, although as you say the rather archaic language and the Yorkshire dialect needed to be explained.

    Funnily enough, I don’t find myself craving things while I read. While I write, though, it’s a different story. I just satisfied a craving for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

  4. This was my daughters favorite book. I think that sometimes a movie can inspire and otherwise reluctant reader to explore a book. This was the case for my daughter. She keeps an original copy on her bookshelf and now reads it to her children.

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