I absolutely adored The Secret Garden when I was a kid; I read the book dozens of times growing up, and both the 1987 (featuring a pre-Pride and Prejudice cameo by a young Colin Firth—even at five, I had good taste) and 1993 films were repeat rentals of mine from Blockbuster (RIP), though they always only seemed to have the opposite version I wanted in stock.
Sidebar: A Little Princess was another perennial fave—Burnett’s story aside, who wouldn’t fall in love with Alfonso Cuarón’s gorgeous film adaptation? Pure magic. But that’s a favorite story for another time.
I honestly don’t remember what it was specifically about Mary Lennox and Colin Craven and Dickon that struck a chord with me as a child. Like many a little girl before me, I loved fairy tales, and while Burnett’s world was lacking the prerequisite fairies and enchantments, it had its own kind of magic about it.
That being said, I was psyched to see that The Secret Garden was the latest in a series of literary classics to inspire a new web series on YouTube. While there have been quite a few adaptations I’ve loved (Hello, Lizzie Bennet Diaries), there have been several that have, in my opinion, missed the boat (Sorry, March Family Letters—I really wanted to like you…).
I am pleased to say that The Misselthwaite Archives has been lovely. Though the series is only twelve episodes in, the creators have done a fantastic job so far of modernizing the series while remaining true to the spirit of Burnett’s original characters. Plus, I may have a bit of a girl crush on Sophie Giberson’s brilliantly deadpan and sarcastic Mary.
New videos come out on Wednesdays and Fridays, and additional transmedia content can be found here on their official Tumblr.
Sidebar: It took unbelievable restraint for me to not turn what was supposed to be a short, fluffy post into a treatise on transmedia and text ownership—I’ll save that delicious morsel for a later post.
Though I haven’t read the book in years, perhaps it’s time to revisit the moors and gardens in the pages of Misselthwaite Manor. The cover on the far left is the version I had as a kid. The other two from Penguin Threads and Puffin Classics are just pretty. I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover from time to time—I’m a sucker for packaging. It’s not too early to start building a library for my future daughter, right?