The Secret Garden

16 min. Dreamscape. 2018. $38.99. ISBN 9781250092423.
K-Gr 3—When 10-year-old orphan Mary Lennox arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, she's an unhappy, spoiled, and stubborn little girl. Her mysterious Uncle Craven is away on business and has forbidden her from roaming the large house with its many locked doors. Mary begins exploring the estate's rolling grounds, and one locked garden in particular captures her fancy. With the help of her new animal friends, as well as a boy named Dickon, Mary discovers the key and begins restoring the secret garden, a magical place that changes her, too. Narrator Anna Parker-Naples breathes new life into Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic tale of rebirth and self-discovery. Period instrumental background music grounds this story at the turn of the 20th century, and the supplemental sounds of crackling fireplaces, chirping birds, pelting rain, and neighing horses underscore its rural setting. Toko Hosoya's colorful, textured illustrations capture the beauty of the garden's delicate flowers, wispy grasses, thick hedges, and patterned tree trunks. The scanned, gently animated illustrations feel appropriate to this classic story.
VERDICT Beautiful artwork and engaging narration help this retelling shine, hopefully inspiring viewers to explore this classic tale in its entirety.

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