Supplementary: I want it now! ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911 – some further thoughts

I have been taken to task, with some justification, for describing Mary Lennox the ten year old heroine of ‘The Secret Garden’ as “unlikeable”. Let’s look at the evidence. In the novel’s haunting opening chapter, “There’s no one left”, indeed in the novel’s opening line, this is how the author describes her: “When Mary LennoxContinue reading “Supplementary: I want it now! ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911 – some further thoughts”

Book review: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911

  Francis Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’ is predominantly a children’s novel, but like all good children’s literature its appeal spreads far beyond this audience. I increasingly found myself admiring the author’s craftsmanship, even if I was able to resist some of the more sentimental aspects of the novel. Set in a soon to disappearContinue reading “Book review: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911”

Book review: The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graeme – 1908

It is an incredibly long time since I last read ‘The Wind in the Willows’, and I returned to it with some nervousness – would it have retained its wit and charm? Unsurprisingly, it is one of those novels which contains depths unnoticed in earlier reads. It is simply wonderful, and if you have a coupleContinue reading “Book review: The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graeme – 1908”

Book review: The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman –

Among the candidates for award for the best opening line to a children’s novel, this has got to be in with a shout: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. if itContinue reading “Book review: The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman –”

Book review: Wonder, by R.J.Palacio, 2012

‘Wonder’ is an American children’s novel about August “Auggie” Pullman, and 11-year-old living in Manhattan. Auggie has a rare medical condition giving him a severe facial deformity. Until now, Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother, but the book opens at the point his parents decide to enrol him in a private school. It chartsContinue reading “Book review: Wonder, by R.J.Palacio, 2012”

Book review: Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886

Read in a Penguin Classic edition It’s about time I explained why I am reading what is essentially a children’s book, albeit a Victorian ‘classic’. A few months ago the Guardian completed a two year exercise to publish a list of the top 100 novels written in English. I’ve written previously about how irritating theseContinue reading “Book review: Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886”

Book review: The Nameless One – Book 1 of the Cade Saga – Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart – 2014

  I make absolutely no apology for reading and reviewing a children’s novel. Stewart and Riddell are probably the best in their field at the moment, and have created a memorable series of characters and worlds, not only in the marvellous Edge Chronicles, but elsewhere with creations such as Barnaby Grimes and Goth Girl. WhileContinue reading “Book review: The Nameless One – Book 1 of the Cade Saga – Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart – 2014”