In essence, this meant I ended up choosing books that had cute covers and spines that I would be happy to read time and time again and would also look pretty on my bookshelf. Therefore, it's a good job that a lot of classic books have been re-fashioned into beautiful hardback editions!
A few weeks' ago, I talked about these adorable Rifle Paper versions of four literary classics and today, I want to introduce this edition of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is illustrated beautifully by Lauren Child - a name you might associate with Lola and Charlie.
Now, I'm ashamed to admit that I never read this book when I was a child. I read Heidi, Little Women and Alice in Wonderland but I never picked this book up. We definitely had a copy but for some reason, it never appealed to me and that may be, due in part, to the cover design which was just of some greenery with a brown wooden door visible through all of the leaves. However, this copy has no problems in the aesthetic department whatsoever and I was eager to see what The Secret Garden was all about.
This copy boasts beautiful illustrations dotted about at regular-ish intervals and I can definitely see it appealing to children of all ages. It is a copy that a parent could read to a child without the child getting bored due to the illustrations that help break up the text.
The Secret Garden is a long book for a child to read but I guess when you compare it to the latter books in the Harry Potter series, it's not so bad! Having now finished the book, I can see why I may have struggled to get past the first chapter. It's a bit of a slow starter if you're a kid but I found the pace fine as an adult. The plot is definitely aimed at a younger reader but even so, it didn't feel too juvenile and it had me wanting to know more at each stage.
I would say the main characters are Mary, Dickon and Colin and I loved the dynamic between them. Dickon is a good egg and then we have a complete contrast in both Mary and Colin - both of whom are kids who have been a little too pampered in their lives up until the point where they meet each other. Dickon instills a bit of humbleness into both of them without getting much in return whilst Colin and Mary both mellow significantly!
Overall, I'm glad I read this as an adult as I know for sure that I wouldn't have finished it when I was younger. It was more of a slog than I remember Little Women to be but it wasn't as tedious as some other books I've read, both as a child and an adult.
And one last thing... Isn't this spine just beautiful?