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Classics of children's literature
W.W. Norton, creator of many critical editions for high school and college students, brings us the gorgeous The Annotated Secret Garden edited with an introduction and notes by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina. Her well-researched commentary will add to any reader's knowledge of this classic children's book and its author, Frances Hodgson Burnett. Gerzina is an expert on all things Burnett, having written both a biography of her and the Norton Critical Edition of The Secret Garden. Readers interested in the life of Burnett will devour the introduction, a biography that recounts the soap-opera life that Burnett lived. Her early reading material was mostly penny dreadfuls and the popular magazines of the British household servantsGothic tales and romances. As she matured, moved to Tennessee and began writing short stories for mainstream magazines, her reading preferences and style changed.
The annotated story itself is sprinkled generously with illustrations by the many artists who have interpreted the beloved story of Mary and Colin, the redemptive power of nature, and the ability of a broken spirit to heal and prosper. The annotations themselves, in green type in the side margins, are child-friendly. No three-page treatises on the state of colonial India herejust explications of vocabulary and insights into the times. It's hard to reread The Secret Garden without having that familiar lump in my throat when Colin and his father are reunited and Colin, at last, walks on his own two legs to Misselthwaite Manor. Pass the tissues.