The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel

Andrews McMeel. Jun. 2021. 192p. adapted by Mariah Marsden. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781524858155.
Gr 3-6–Marsden and Luechtefeld’s graphic novel reimagines Burnett’s story of a lonely girl who blossoms while tending to a garden. Recently orphaned 10-year-old Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle Craven at gloomy Misselthwaite Manor in the Yorkshire moors. Sour and standoffish, Mary initially rebuffs the kindness of maid Martha Sowerby and wanders the grounds alone. Discovering a long-abandoned, locked-away garden, she decides to revive it, which leads her to both animal charmer (and brother to Martha) Dickon Sowerby and Colin Craven, her sickly cousin whose existence has been concealed from her. As the children transform the garden, happiness again seems possible at Misselthwaite Manor. This pleasant, evenly paced retelling is a good entry point for reluctant readers into classic children’s literature. The parallels between the tending of the garden and character development within the story are reflected in the beautiful, hand drawn–style artwork, which gradually brightens from a washed-over neutral palette to lighter. The biggest change to the narrative is the decision to remove mention of India because those parts “don’t do justice to the history of British oppression in colonial India.” A brief biography of Burnett, a glossary, and a discussion of places and spaces from the original novel are appended. As in the original book, Mary and the other main characters are white.
VERDICT A new take on a beloved story that will delight readers young and old. Recommended for all libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing