A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Two cousins -- one motherless, the other an orphan -- are so monstrously spoiled that no one can stand them and they can hardly stand themselves. With the help of a boy of the moors and some natural magic, they discover an abandoned garden and return it to abundance. As the garden grows the children grow -- into their own better selves.
Is it any good?
If you think a book from 1911 might be too stodgy to interest children, think again. Children like Frances Burnett's ability to tell the truth about her characters without condemning them. Mistress Mary, quite contrary, "was a self-absorbed child," and Colin "thought the whole world belonged to him." But Burnett makes it clear that these children have been raised without their parents' love.
Children will first be caught by the mysterious world that unfolds, and then comforted to see Colin and Mary reclaim themselves, with a little help from Mother Nature and kind friends. Burnett sets a tone balanced between unflinching realism and high optimism -- not too hard, not too soft.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love magic and the power of the imagination
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.