Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett illus by Tasha Tudor

As you know, from this post and this post, I love Tasha Tudor. I think she is the bees knees. Although there are probably 50 bazillion different versions and editions of The Secret Garden out there (apparently one of the mostly widely known secrets in the world) this is the one to have on your bookshelf. It is the definitive The Secret Garden. Just ask me. 

This particular copy is my mothers. I crept into her house when she was at work this week and pinched it off the bookshelf. (Stealing books is okay, if you really love the book, right?!) I remember Mom bringing this book home when I was little. It was an important book. We already had several other Tasha Tudor versions of this book, but they were paperback and lacked the full page illustrations. This one was a hardcover, full color edition. In a house where books were everywhere by the thousand, this book stood out. Books were our constant companions. We carried them everywhere, brought them to school, read them outside, left them in bookbags, purses, and the cars. Mom and Dad were mostly okay with that. I say mostly, because Dad couldn't help wincing now and then about where we left our books and how we left our books. Use a bookmark! Do you want to break the spine?! and Why can't you put it back where it belongs? where words we heard once or twice during in our childhood. But there were some books we treated extra carefully. And this was one of them.
In my little kid brain, I realized Tasha Tudor must be some important. 

And she is. This is a magical, delicate, and delightful book. We all know the story is marvelous, but these pictures compliment the story and make it sing.  

Little bird nests in the ivy! 

Oh how much I adore this book! Just looking through it again and taking pictures of it makes me want to read it and get lost in Mary's world for the umpteenth time. As a kid, I couldn't imagine anything nicer than having your very own, walled in, abandoned garden that you could save through hard work and a little bit of know how. 

Mary Lennox when she was an orphan in India and "Mary, Mary quite contrary."

Driving back to Craven Hall with Mrs. Medlock after arriving in Yorkshire.

Martha, the chambermaid. Isn't she just the embodiment of the cheerful, hard working Martha? 
(Yes, yes she is.) 

Mary being bored in a house with no other children. Except... what is that cry?

Hearing Colin fuss--"Its the wind wuthering around the house" insists Martha.

The key! Oh the excitement! 

Ohhhh.... Stepping into the garden for the first time. The unimaginable delight!

Dickon. We all love Dickon. What a marvelous fellow!

Dickon charming the animals.

This is one of my favorite phrases in the book. Sometimes phrases get in my head and I repeat them for several days. Like a song, only without music. This phrase gets in my head every time I read it. It is phrased so... old worldly-ish. So stilted and overly proper. And I love it. 

She discovers Colin, her very own cousin.

Getting to know each other without the interference of adults. 

Spring in the secret garden!!

I want a pet fox. And crocuses. (Mine decided not to come up this year.) 

Dickon bringing his animals to entertain the imperious Colin.

Taking Colin out for a ride in the gardens. 

Good old Ben!

The healing properties of garden work.

The nefarious Dr. Craven with his ulterior motives. 

Colin, finally standing!! On his own!!

And finally, Mr. Craven comes home to discover his boy, whole and walking! 

Oh, how marvelous gardens, particularly walled-in, secret gardens are! 

Happy sigh!

Have a lovely Thursday, my friends!


  1. I've never seen the colored version. Top shelf indeed!

  2. Isn't it lovely? We have several paperback copies of Tasha Tudor's Secret Garden, but they don't have the full page illustrations at all. Not even in black and white. Which is sad!