Monday, February 21, 2011

The Secret Garden

For Christmas, I bought Sammy The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  This is, by far, the longest book Sam has ever attempted, even though I got an abridged version.  The book I bought included an audiobook version on CD, and I figured that would be a great way to start Sam off reading longer stories.

Since I finally cracked it open about a week ago, we've listened to the entire book at least four times.  Every single trip in the car means another installment of The Secret Garden.  Sam can't get enough, and that's fine with me, because I love it too!  We've also read parts of the book out loud to her, but she is less interested that way.  I'm sure that will change, though.  I have a feeling that The Secret Garden is going to be one of those special things that both Sam and I remember as an integral part of her childhood, just like Little Bear has been (and still is!).

I'm not even sure why I bought this particular book.  I had some vague recollection that it was a classic, but after hearing the story, I don't remember it from my own childhood.  Maybe I did read it, but it didn't stick with me into adulthood.  But I'm so glad that I did pick it up.  It's a wonderful story, and it's just the right level for Sam right now - a bit of a stretch, but comprehensible to her.

Today I was catching up on the VanDamme Academy video blogs (have you been watching? you should be) and came across this one, in which Ms. VanDamme actually uses The Secret Garden (as well as Burnett's other classic, A Little Princess) as an example of a children's book with "good, rich, thematic material."  So maybe I picked up the book on a half-remembered recommendation from Ms. VanDamme or someone else in the little Objectivist educators' world.

Whatever - I have a new world of books for Sam now. says that A Little Princess is for reading level ages 9-12.  I suspect that there are many wonderful books for that age that Sam could appreciate.  Audiobooks are a good thing.


  1. One of our favorites, too! We've done it as a read-aloud and on audiobook. We recently watched the movie made in 1993 for family movie night and it was very good. We also talked about the story this weekend as we did some yardwork and gardening, too. It's a story that "lives in our heads" (as I call it). :)

  2. Maybe I got it from you, Jenn. :) I have another post to write, thanking you for your Blues Clues post. I can't believe I never really gave that show a chance! Sam is on the verge of being too old for it, but it looks like we'll get a second chance on that one. :)

  3. So fun when they start listening to chapter books. We recently read "Little House on the Prairie", also listed for ages 9-12. I think a lot of these age levels are way off... BTW, before the holidays, we sent out a newsletter to families currently enrolled at LePort Schools, with book recommendations for preschool and Grades 1-3. Let me know if you are interested in receiving that, and I'll forward it to you.

  4. Heike, yes, yes, yes please!