This is a tale that has been around for so long that my mother was raised on it and I raised on it also. It was one of the first 'big books' I recall reading when I was a kid (along with A Little Princess which I think goes hand and hand with The Secret Garden). I reread both books repeatedly as I grew up and watched the movie adaptations as if it were my job.
I feel this is one of the best stories ever written that displays character growth. You begin the story with the most foul of little girls you can think of but she grows, she changes, she becomes humbled by life and begins to actually think of others. Then you're introduced to her cousin who is just the same and he too grows and overcomes obstacles to become a decent human being.
It's eery in a way. Children should not be so bitter and negative and yet these two characters are. In a way it drives it's point home even more then if you were to display adults with similar characteristics. There is more to the world then yourself and I feel in a way that is what the book is trying to say. To think of others, to help others, even if the 'other' is that of a garden. It can make beautiful things occur if you only let go of yourself and set your mind to other things.
Now that it is February and spring feels close yet oh so far away (it also helps that today is Ground Hog's Day and the poor little thing saw it's shadow after being dragged out of it's bed which means six more weeks of winter). The story begins where there isn't much of a sign of spring with crabby, angry, little children (who reflect my feelings towards winter right now) but as the story progresses and they begin to grow and warm up to life so does the world around them. The story ends with spring being fully present just as their newly rejuvenated characters. I enjoy how the weather and moods reflect one another.
This book is a classic and I suspect that many children for years to come will be read this, especially in the winter months when spring seems to be an impossible season to see.
Maybe Outlander I keep saying I'll read the book and post about it but I keep getting distracted by other stories.