Second Reflections – a little princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that in this here new(ish) year and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

a little princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

This was an old favorite from back when I was a wee youngster.  I am not completely sure which edition I first read but I do remember that it had the illustrations by Tasha Tudor from the 1960s (as did the secret garden).  The copy I eventually purchased had her illustrations as well:


I made the mistake of lending me copy many many long years back to a young lass so she could experience the magic.  And then never got it back!  I could only hope she couldn’t part with it because she loved it so.  Then earlier this year at a Friends of the Library sale, I found an excellent pristine copy and swooped it up with glee.

Then came the day to revisit this old companion.  Ye see I had not read this book since me copy was commandeered and I was looking forward to seeing if I loved it as much as me memory suggested.  The answer is an astoundingly yes!  Arrr!!

I still adore this book.  The reading had the wonderful nostalgia of rediscovering details of the story as well as the perspective of seeing Sara’s journey through me eyes of an older jaded salty dog.  I found Sara to be just as I remembered – compassionate, intelligent, and imaginative.  I still loved the secondary characters of Becky and Ermengarde.  I adored the lady who sold hot buns.  The riches to rags story still appeals heartily.  I loved Sara’s treatment of everyone in spite of her circumstances.  She is polite, hardworking, and caring.

The part I found odd was the portrayal of the role of the adults in Sara’s life.  So many people see Sara as a starving ragamuffin and yet don’t help her.  Underclass poor children are depicted as savages as though it’s their own faults that they have no money or education.  So many people outside of Ms. Minchin’s school see and comment on poor Sara’s state and yet she is not helped throughout most of the book except by a small compassionate child.  Now granted there would be no story if the adults helped her.  But it is odd that these children were left to rot.  Of course the author had her own riches to rags story growing up so I can only assume that it influences this work.

But despite the larger thoughts of child poverty, I still felt the magic of Sara’s story and gobbled up this book.  I only hope that I don’t wait so long for a re-read the next time.

Side note: I have fond memories of the 1996 movie though I haven’t seen it in forever.  And the Broadway musical sucks.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Sara Crewe’s young but doting father sends her to a London boarding school when she is seven. On her eleventh birthday her life of luxury comes to an abrupt end when she receives news that her father has died, shortly after losing his entire fortune. The school-mistress turns Sara into a servant to pay off her debts, and though Sara uses the entire force of her imagination and her good heart to remember who she is and keep starvation from the door, her life is desperate. Until the past returns in a very unexpected manner…

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Frances Hodgson Burnett – Author

To buy the novel visit:

a little princess – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

17 thoughts on “Second Reflections – a little princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

  1. You made an excellent point; now you put it that way, it is queer that none of the adults except for the mysterious Indian gentleman!!
    I reread this book lately and I had some mixed opinions yet as you said, this will remain as my all-time favorite. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always loved A Little Princes. And, while the attitude of the adults is concerning, I don’t find it surprising. Even today many people see poverty as some sort of moral fault and so don’t see the need to extend a helping hand. In the early 1900s, I imagine that attitude was prevalent, as well. Debtors prisons were operating in the U.S. through the mid-1800s. Perhaps the belief that being poor was tantamount to being criminal hadn’t entirely faded away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good point about poverty still being seen as a moral fault and criminal. It was just an odd thought that me younger self completely dumped most of that part of the story out of me noggin. It is crazy that debtor’s prisons lasted so long, as did indentured servitude. Thanks for the lovely, thought-provoking comment. Arrr!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was my mother’s favourite book when she was a child in the 1950s. I read it in the 1980s but I always preferred The Secret Garden. I found A Little Princess too sad, probably because the adults were so mean. Funnily enough, my mum loaned someone her copy of A Little Princess and never got it back!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this book when I was a little girl – I remember sobbing my heart out when poor little Sarah was banished up to the attic and had to clean the fires… Thank you for bring back a lovely memory:))

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! This book has been on my re-read list for a long time, and I plan on reading A Secret Garden sometime soon. I really loved the 1986/1987 miniseries of A Little Princess, and watched it so many times growing up. I think it is the closest to the book of the adaptations out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The secret garden is the best book of hers that I have read, in my opinion. Though of course I recommend a little princess. Though historically it seems like her children’s book little lord fauntleroy was the most popular at the time. The illustrations inspired a whole fashion trend and that book changed copyright law. That book has been called the “Harry Potter of his time.” Thanks fer visiting!
    x The Captain


  7. Believe it or not I’d never heard of this book until now, nor the film, though the author’s name was familiar… probably because I read and enjoyed The Secret Garden as a kid, and I only just now realised she is the author of that too (yet another fact I should have known, but I guess my childhood self didn’t put much effort into remembering author names!). I’m curious to check it out now – sadly I won’t have any childhood nostalgia attached to it, but it still sounds like a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The film of this was one of my absolute favourites as a child! Shamefully, I don’t think I’ve read the book yet but I do own it (yay me!).
    I’m saddened to hear that the musical was bad though, that’s a shame. I love a good musical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe the film changed the ending so the book is different. But I understand why they did that. I meant the secret garden musical was bad. Oops! Oh well. I don’t know if there is one for a little princess. Thanks fer the comment.
      x The Captain


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