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  5. A Collector’s Guide to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson...

Collecting The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a classic children’s novel about a disagreeable young orphan Mary Lennox, whose heals her own sickly soul when she moves from British India to the wild Yorkshire Moors and makes friends while rebuilding a hidden garden there after finding a mysterious key. It was first published in 1911, after being serialised in The American Magazine the year before.

Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester, England, in 1849 but moved to America in 1865 after her father died and her family fell on hard times. There she began writing stories to earn money and soon became a successful novelist, playwright, and children’s author. She wrote several classic novels apart from The Secret Garden, including Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess. The Secret Garden was quite a departure from her earlier works, as two of the main characters are quite unlikable, hence the story’s original distribution via an adult magazine.

There are many editions of this book available, so this collector’s guide focuses on those editions that are the most beautiful or noteworthy to help you choose a volume for your own library. All the editions in this list are beautiful, but in case you’d like a bit more direction, my top picks are marked with a ★.

Contemporary Editions

★ The Secret Garden (Seasons Edition – Spring)

Thomas Nelson, May 2021

Pretty die-cut cover, two-tone printing with pull-out quotes in the text, along with a matching bookmark. ISBN 9780785239765.

❦ Learn more about this edition in the Collector’s Guide to the Seasons Editions Classics series

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden

Puffin, November 2020

An inexpensive clothbound hardback with a pretty gilt cover design. Unillustrated, glued binding. ISBN 9780241411162.

❦ Part of the Puffin Clothbound Classics series. 

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

The Secret Garden – Puffin Clothbound Classics

Illustrated by Tasha Tudor
HarperCollins, March 2020

Reproducing in full color Tasha Tudor’s iconic illustrations. ISBN 9780062981950.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden – Arcturus Children’s Classics

Illustrated by Luisa Uribe.
Arcturus Publishing, November 2018

A mid-range hardback, illustrated and issued in a slipcase. ISBN 9781788883801.

❦ Part of the Arcturus Children’s Classics series

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

The Secret Garden – Wordsworth Collector’s Edition

Cover design by Claire Shorrock.
Wordsworth Editions, September 2018

An inexpensive hardback with a pretty cover design. Unillustrated, paper boards and glued binding. ISBN 9781840227796.

❦ Part of the Wordsworth Collector’s editions series. 

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

★ The Secret Garden – Interactive Edition

Illustrated by MinaLima
Harper Design, July 2018

A fantastic interactive (unabridged) edition with many clever moving elements, including a removable letter, cut-out paper doll, and maps. ISBN 9780062692573.

Part of the highly recommended MinaLima Interactive Classics collection

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden – V&A Collector’s Edition

Penguin, May 2017

An inexpensive hardback with a pretty cover based on a William Morris design. Unillustrated, paper boards and glued binding. ISBN 9780141385501.

❦ Part of the V&A Collector’s editions series

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

★ The Annotated Secret Garden

Annotated by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
WW Norton & Co, October 2017

A fascinating annotated edition with historical notes and over a hundred color and b&w illustrations taken from different editions through time. ISBN 9780393060294.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

★ The Secret Garden

Illustrated by Charles Robinson
Barnes & Noble, 2015

Bonded leather binding with pretty floral cover design, featuring Robinson’s original 1911 illustrations. ISBN 9781435158184.

❦ Part of the Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions collection, in series with the other Children’s Floral Classics series. 

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | B&N

The Secret Garden (Egmont reproduction)

Illustrated by Charles Robinson
Egmont, 2013

A heritage reproduction, sewn binding, featuring Robinson’s original 1911 color illustrations. ISBN 9781405267403.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

★ The Secret Garden (Penguin Threads)

Cover design by Jillian Tamaki
Penguin, 2011

A delightful paperback edition with French flaps, a textured ‘stitched’ design on the front cover, and the back of the stitching reproduced on the inside covers. ISBN 9780143106456.

❦ Learn more about this edition in the Collector’s Guide to Penguin Deluxe Classics…

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden: Puffin Limited Edition

Illustrated by Lauren Child
Penguin, Sep 2010

A delicately layered die-cut cover of paper trees and flowers is nestled inside a protective perspex slipcase for this limited edition release. 1000 copies were issued to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Puffin imprint, and this one is quite scarce. ISBN 9780141327600.

❦ Learn more with a detailed review of this volume and the rest of the Puffin limited editions here…

➡ OOP. Check availability at at Amazon | Abes

★ The Secret Garden: Robert Ingpen Collection

Illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Templar Publishing, Sep 2010

The lush watercolors in this gift quality edition are absolutely stunning and grace almost every page. Part of a larger series of children’s classics delightfully illustrated by Australian artist Robert Ingpen. ISBNs: Templar 184877446X | Palazzo 9781786750358 | Walker Books 9781921529955

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

★ The Secret Garden

Illustrated by Inga Moore
Candlewick Press, Feb 2008

A gorgeously illustrated gift quality edition, with illustrations on almost every page. ISBN 9780763631611.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

★ The Secret Garden (Folio Society)

Illustrated by Charles Robinson
The Folio Society 2006

This later FS edition is clothbound and reproduces the 8 original classic color illustrations by Charles Robinson. OOP.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Abes

Vintage Editions

The Secret Garden Pop-up Carousel Book

Illustrated by Graham Rust
Macdonald Young Books, 1995

A carousel book with four magnificent pop-up scenes. ISBN 9780750020206. Scarce.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes

The Secret Garden

Illustrated by Graham Rust
David R. Godine, Sep 1994

Delicate illustrations with a lovely period flavor. ISBN 9780879236496.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes

The Secret Garden – Easton Press Editions

Various illustrators
Easton Press, 1981 / 1996 / 2001 / 2004

Easton Press have released a few different versions of The Secret Garden. They are leatherbound, with Smyth-sewn pages, ribbon marker, hubbed spines and gilt page edges.

– The 2004 edition is illustrated with Charles Robinson’s original artwork and bound in dark green leather. It was released in a 3-book Childhood Classic series with A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy, and a 4-book series of Children’s Classics with Pollyanna, Heidi, and Rebecca of Storybook Farm.

– The 2001 edition is illustrated by Tasha Tudor, and bound in maroon leather.

– The 1996 edition is a reprint of the 1987 edition, illustrated by Troy Howell, bound in brown leather with a green gate on the cover.

– The 1991 edition is bound in dark green leather and features Charles Robinson’s original artwork.

– The 1987 edition is illustrated by Troy Howell and bound in beige leather. It was released as part of a 6-book series with Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Peter Pan and The Water Babies

➡ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes

The Secret Garden (Folio Society)

Illustrated by Dodie Masterman
The Folio Society 1986

This first FS edition is clothbound and includes 14  black & white illustrations by Dodie Masterman. Issued in a decorated slipcase. OOP.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Abes 

The Secret Garden

Illustrated by Nora S. Unwin
J. B. Lippincott Company, 1949

A delightful vintage copy illustrated by English artist Nora Spicer Unwin, also known for her work on Elizabeth Yates’ Newbery honoree Mountain Born (1943) and Newbery winner Amos Fortune, Free Man (1950).

➡ OOP. Check availability at Abes

The Secret Garden (1st US Edition)

Illustrated by Maria Louise Kirk
Frederick Stokes, 1911

Two American editions were released simultaneously – a green clothbound edition with an illustration on the upper board and gilt lettering to the spine, and one in blue cloth without illustrations.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Abes

The Secret Garden (1st UK Edition)

Illustrated by Charles Robinson
Heinemann, 1911

The true first publication in book form was the British edition by Heinemann in London. Green cloth with gilt titles and decorative spine. Publication date is on the front panel.

➡ OOP. Check availability at Abes

Picture Book Adaptations

The Secret Garden (Classic Stories)

Illustrated by Saviour Pirotta
Starry Forest Books, May 2021

*Review coming soon. 40p. ISBN 9781946260796.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden

Adapted by Calista Brill and illustrated by Adelina Lirius
HarperCollins, March 2020

A sweet picture book adaptation, with some lush illustrations. 40p. ISBN 9780062937544.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

The Secret Garden – Little Golden Books

Retold by Frances Gilbert, illustrated by Brigitte Barrager
Little Golden Books, May 2017

A picture book adaptation for the very young. 24p. ISBN 9780399552250.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden: Classics Unfolded

Retold in pictures by Becca Stadtlander
Rock Point, May 2015

A concertina book that very simply retells the story as a piece of freestanding art. 16p. ISBN 9781631061394.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

Related Books of Interest

The Secret Garden: Mary’s Journal

A movie companion
HarperCollins, March 2020

A fictional journal of Mary Lennox based on the 2020 movie. Pretty illustrations. ISBN 0008381496.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU

The Secret Garden Cookbook (revised edition)

By Amy Cotler, photography by Alice Bickel
Harvard Common Press, Feb 2020

Delightful recipes from the book along with interesting information about English and Indian cuisine, reissued with photographs of the dishes as illustrations. ISBN 9781558329935.

➡ Find it at Amazon | Book Depository | Amazon AU | Bookshop.org

The Secret Garden Cookbook

By Amy Cotler, illustrated by Prudence See
HarperCollins, Feb 1999

Delightful recipes from the book along with interesting information about English and Indian cuisine, with pictorial illustrations. ISBN 9780060277406.

➡ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAmazon AU | Abes

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