Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Return to Childhood Favorites

Racketty-Packetty House and Other Stories Frances Hodgson Burnett

A lovely collection of short stories by one of my childhood favorites. (I have no idea how many times I've read The Secret Garden. Interestingly, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess both fueled a strong interest in India and British Imperialism in general. I was a weird kid. But those books led to the interest which is currently manifested in my love of books exploring the current changing notions of what it is to be British, or British immigration in general...) Anyway.

These stories teach valuable moral lessons and smack of Imperialistic views and Victorian values and thoughts on class. If it was anyone but Burnett, I'd puke. But... for some reason, although they grate on me (intellectually) there's something about Burnett that makes me all warm and gooey inside, so I forgive her and enjoyed the stories as actual stories. If it hadn't been Burnett, I'd read the stories as an interesting historical relic--what we thought children needed to know, what thoughts about the world in general were, etc.

I will say though, the greatest part of this book is the inclusion of "Sara Crewe" which Burnett later expanded on and turned into her novel Little Princess.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

Count me in as a weird child. I loved FHB passionately. In fact, I'm including The Secret Garden this year in my 6th and 7th grade book club. I've seen many students reading various abridged copies. They've got to experience the full story.

Still haven't gotten to Little Lord Fauntleroy, but it is sitting on my shelf.

Kristin said...

I really think it's because of Burnett that I now collect "Victorian moralistic tales for children". Have you read "The Lost Prince" by her? That's another of my favorites. And I really wish I could find a copy of the play "A Little Princess" just to see what she took from that to add to Sara Crewe to make ALP.

Why yes, she is one of my favorite authors from childhood!