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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess (original 1905; edition 1987)

by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Tasha Tudor (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,225136381 (4.22)1 / 342
Title:A Little Princess
Authors:Frances Hodgson Burnett
Other authors:Tasha Tudor (Illustrator)
Info:HarperTrophy (1987), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Children, Film, England

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)


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English (133)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
This is a lovely riches to rags to riches story that I have seen in movie form several times. I had never read this lovely book about a little girl who loses everything and yet believes that if she pretends she is a princess, she can rise above the cold and hunger that has become her reality. The ending in the book is different than the one in the movie version. Although this was written as a story for little girls, I believe that adults can enjoy the heartwarming story too.

December 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
Hmmm…. I never read this as a child, so I don’t have the nostalgia-filter on, and I still liked it quite a lot. The writing is smooth, with some lovely turns of phrase and some charming insights.

Sarah Crewe starts off as the “princess” of her boarding school. Her father is rich and she is doted on with all the latest fashions and toys and her own private rooms and even her own maid. Yet she is not spoiled, she is generous and kind and her true joy comes in learning and imagining. She makes up fantastical stories to entertain the other girls, takes especial care of a young one named Lottie, and sneaks extra bits of food to the poor little scullery girl.

When tragedy strikes, she is left a penniless orphan, reduced to wearing rags, overworked by the school staff who turn cruel - taking out their previous jealousies on her and glorying in her fall from grace. These are her trials, and she struggles to retain her kind and giving nature, to make friends with the rats in the attic and not to give into bitterness, loneliness, cruelty and despair.

I’m a bit amused by all the reviews I’ve been seeing for this book, that either love it or hate it. How can you possibly HATE it? “Sarah” is less a “Mary Sue” and more an archetype, a symbol, a moral lesson for the audience. She is clearly meant to be an ideal, more than she is meant to be a person.

And the lessons found herein, to be kind and generous to those you encounter regardless of their station, to conduct yourself like the kind of person you wish to be (i.e. a princess) and to embrace imagination and wonder in the world around you are all timeless, wise lessons for all of us.

These are true words of wisdom for any child (or adult):

”When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word - just to look at them and think. . . . When you will not fly off into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage and, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn’t said afterwards.” (p. 147)

I have to admit it - I loved Sarah, I was emotionally invested throughout the book and I think it is a classic that still has a lot to offer children (or adults!) who are fortunate enough to find a copy of A Little Princess placed in their hands. ( )
  catfantastic | Jul 14, 2015 |
This must surely be one of the sweetest, loveliest books a girl could read in childhood. It's been a long time but reading it again all these years down the line (in my early 20s), it still holds such charm, wonder and profound messages about class, poverty and happiness that I know it'll be returning to my shelf to read again and pass on to my own children.

It tells the story of Sara Crewe, a rich little girl brought up in India by her beloved father, who moves to England to go to boarding school at the gloomy seminary belonging to the formidable Miss Minchin. She is the star pupil, dressed in finery and always happy to share her good fortune and vivid imagination with her classmates. But when a tragic twist of fate strips her of everything, Sara ends up a poor orphan working as a drudge in the seminary where once she was idolised by her fellow pupils. Miss Minchin uses this as a fine opportunity to take a sort of revenge on this strange little girl, who she has never understood but has always indulged thanks to her wealth. But no matter how hard her life becomes, she remains generous and polite to those around her, rich and poor alike, pretending that she is a princess in order to keep her morals and spirits strong. Finally, just as even her fiery spirit is at breaking point, an English gentleman who has been living in India moves into the house next door and magical things start to happen as their interest in each other grows. Of course everything will come right in the end, but I won't give away any more because it deserves to be read and enjoyed...

This is a beautiful, moving, and inspiring novel, whether you're 6 or 60! It is well written, with highly individual and well-rounded characters, and a wealth of description which makes it very atmospheric and allows even a child to see Sara's London in vivid detail. There are images in the book which I could still remember clearly and recognise years after I read it as a little girl, and even now I was holding my breath and waiting for everything to fall into place! In today's selfish modern society it also provides a reminder of how a little generosity and kindness goes a long way, and is a perfect fairy tale for littler princesses too. I'd also recommend The Secret Garden for a slightly less girlie but equally sweet, timeless and beautiful story. ( )
  elliepotten | Jun 2, 2015 |
Surprisingly, I never read this when I was younger, even though I first got this book when I was 8 or 9 (yeah, it's been on my shelf for a loooong time). I absolutely love the 1995 movie version (directed by Alfonso Cuaron), so I was eager to start reading this.

Um. It was OK. I know I would have appreciated it a lot more if I read it when I was younger (although I'm pretty sure I would have thought a lavish wardrobe for a doll is silly). I liked some of the more beautiful and lyrical sentences Hodgson Burnett wrote, but the whole thing seemed overly saccharine to me, specifically the way Lottie, Ermengarde, and Becky basically worshiped the ground Sara walked on. Also, the casual racism and some of the older men's fascination with little girls does not hold up well. But I like the overall message of the book: if you remain kind and hold on to your dreams/imagination, you will be OK.

I know this is a classic, and I'm glad so many people love it; however, it just wasn't for me. ( )
  kaylaraeintheway | Apr 20, 2015 |
I absolutely adored The Secret Garden, so I read this, too. When one is a girl, one can believe such fantasies. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (197 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frances Hodgson Burnettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Armes, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Betts, Ethel FranklinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Birch, ReginaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, RebeccaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Curiace, GismondeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engelbreit, MaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardam, JaneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, MargeryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henterly, JamichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knoepflmacher, U. C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López, AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leishman, VirginiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mah, Adeline YenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piffard, HaroldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rust, GrahamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tudor, TashaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vielhomme-Callais, PauletteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Once on a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father, and was driven rather slowly through the big thorough-fares.
When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word - just look at them and think...when you will not fly into a passion, people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage and they are not, and they say things they wish they hadn't said afterwards. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in - that's stronger.
Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage.
If Nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that -- warm things, kind things, sweet things -- help and comfort and laughter -- and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.
"Perhaps," she said, "to be able to learn things quickly isn't everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people. If Miss Minchin knew everything on earth and was like what she is now, she'd still be a detestable thing, and everybody would hate her. Lots of clever people have done harm and have been wicked. Look at Robespierre -- "
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Sara Crewe, or What Happened At Miss Minchin's, the work on which A Little Princess is based, was first written as a serialized novella. It was published in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1888.
Publisher's editors
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A kind and wealthy Anglo-Indian girl in a posh British boarding school becomes impoverished after the death of her father and is forced to become a servant at the school, living in an unheated garret, overworked and underfed. Then a mysterious benefactor comes to her rescue.

AR 6.0, Pts 11
Haiku summary
A rich little girl
becomes an orphan and slave
but stays positive. (marcusbrutus)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064401871, Paperback)

Generations of children have treasured the story of Sara Crewe, the little girl who imagines shes a princess in order to survive hard times at Miss Minchins London boarding school. Now, this classic novel is available in two beautiful new collectors editions. With Tasha Tudors enchanting black-and-white illustrations, and lovely details like a satin ribbon marker and glorious full-color plates in the hardcover, these new editions of A Little Princess are must-haves for anyone who wants to rediscover the magic of this beloved story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:45 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Sara Crewe, a pupil at Miss Minchin's London School, is left in poverty when her father dies, but is later rescued by a mysterious benefactor.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 34 descriptions

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21 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0142437018, 0141321121, 0141341718

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101107, 1400108896

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