Most little girls want to be a princess when they grow up; I know I did. I dreamed about castles and princes, big pink dresses and flowing gold locks. I read book after book about these fairytale figures, but it was a princess without the royal title who won my heart.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett tells the story of Sara Crewe, an extremely intelligent young lady who goes from top student to servant at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies when her father dies leaving her penniless. It is Sara’s wonderful imagination and kind heart which help her through terrible times until her fortune changes.
Sara is an exceptional character and it is difficult not to be influenced by her, positively of course. She has a strong will to learn and develop, is kind to everyone she encounters and is generous with all she has (very little at one stage of the book). This is in contrast to characters with a more bullying nature, including Miss Minchin herself, a bitter old woman whose hatred of Sara surely rubbed off on other students.
The contrast between good and bad is a stark one and projects itself as a lesson to be learned. Very well explained, there is no doubt that it leaves a clear image in the reader’s mind as to which path they should follow. As a child, I adored Sara. As an adult, even more so. She has the type of character we all want to posses.
Although not considered a literary masterpiece, the story was written very well. Hodgson Burnett’s use of imagery sucked me into each scene, from beginning to end. I felt the coldness of the snow, found myself playing with Sara’s dolls, and experienced the same level of excitement as better days came.
A Little Princess is a story with the power to enchant both children and adults alike. Besides setting a strong role model for children at an early age, it reminds us that sometimes life is just not made to be understood, friendship is important and to never give up.
Overall, this book is a must-read. Although it will be a pity not to have read it during your younger years, you are never too old to enjoy the sheer magic it offers. Enjoy it yourself and then gift this book to the children in your life. Provide them with strong role models at the beginning of their lives and you immediately start paving the way to success.