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A Little Princess

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Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this resourceful girl's fortunes change again is at the center of A Little Princess , one of the best-loved stories in all of children's literature.

This unique and fully annotated edition appends excerpts from Frances Hodgson Burnett 's original 1888 novella Sara Crewe and the stage play that preceded the novel, as well as an early story, "Behind the White Brick," allowing readers to see how A Little Princess evolved. In his delightful introduction, U. C. Knoepflmacher considers the fairy-tale allusions and literary touchstones that place the book among the major works of Victorian literature, and shows it to be an exceptionally rich and resonant novel.

242 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1905

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About the author

Frances Hodgson Burnett

1,318 books4,080 followers
Frances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to supplement the family income, assuming full responsibility for the family upon the death of her mother, in 1870. In 1872 she married Dr. Swan Burnett, with whom she had two sons, Lionel and Vivian. The marriage was dissolved in 1898. In 1900 Burnett married actor Stephen Townsend until 1902 when they got divorced. Following her great success as a novelist, playwright, and children's author, Burnett maintained homes in both England and America, traveling back and forth quite frequently. She died in her Long Island, New York home, in 1924.

Primarily remembered today for her trio of classic children's novels - Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911) - Burnett was also a popular adult novelist, in her own day, publishing romantic stories such as The Making of a Marchioness (1901) for older readers.

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Profile Image for Yulia.
339 reviews316 followers
December 4, 2013
My mother thought it completely foolish of me to buy a hardcover book and then finish it in one night (these were the days before Harry Potter and, besides, we had enough books in our house, in her opinion). But I loved owning this edition with its gorgeous images and, when I gave it to my younger cousins in Singapore, believing myself ready to part with my childhood attachment to a book I wouldn't ever forget, I did mourn its loss, though I was a teenager by then and studying the dead white male canon. I'm an awful person, I know, but when I visited my family in Singapore the year before I graduated from college, I noticed the book on their shelf and asked to see it, and my aunt, noticing how my face lit up, asked if I wanted it back.

"Really? You mean it? Is that OK?"
"Of course, why wouldn't it be?"
"Are you sure? Oh, but I'm awful. I guess I didn't know how much it meant to me. You're so wonderful. What can I give you?"

I forget what I gave them in exchange, but it certainly held no value compared to this book. Not to be too psychoanalytical, but I suppose my reclaiming the book was a silent protest against my mother (and my unconsciously wanting to reconnect with my father, from whom I'd inherited my love of books). I haven't changed much in all these years.
Profile Image for WhatIReallyRead.
725 reviews507 followers
May 28, 2020

Meet the characters:

Sara aka the Little Princess is described as (and I'm only using words written explicitly in the book): thin, pale, with striking green eyes too big for her face (now I know where so many YA heroine's descriptions come from LOL), clever, good, serious, quick at her lessons, proud, brave, generous, hospitable, unconquerable, amiable, good-tempered, having good manners. She speaks fluent French, though she'd never learned it. She also speaks fluent Hindi.

Sara's father is described as young, beautiful, nice and clever.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Puffin Classics

Ermengarde (aka Sara's best friend) is explicitly described as fat, stupid, not clever, having a slow little mind, vulgar, forgetful and forgettable.

Lottie is another one of Sara's friends, a young child. She's also fat and stupid, but also ill-tempered and capricious, prone to throwing tantrums.

Beckie, aka the servant, is another Sara's friend. She's always described as poor-poor-poor Becky. Also stupid.

Lavinia, aka the nemesis, is described as horrid, nasty, priggish, sneering, and jealous.

Miss Minchin, aka the headmistress, is described as rude, acid, harsh, domineering, hard-hearted, mean, vulgar. Also, she doesn't know French and doesn't try to learn it, being the headmistress of a top school for young ladies in XIX England. Hmmm...

Cook is described as vulgar and insolent.

Beggar girl seen on the street: with a stupid look of suffering, frightful, little ravening savage, poor little wild animal.

Do you see a pattern here? I do.

1) Sara is a total Mary Sue, so is her kin (dad). They are oh-so-clever (even though Father never set aside any of his money for his daughter in case something happened, didn't even pay her school forward for even a day. Is that very clever?)

2) Sara's friends are all fat and stupid, and their only redeeming quality is that they worship her and trail her like puppies with unwavering loyalty and admiration.

3) Sara's enemies are all dumb and rude.

Do I have to say I didn't adore a book with such characters?


So. Sara is awesome and rich. She briefly becomes poor but stays awesome. Her friends continue to worship her; her enemies expose their shallow, awful true natures. Then Sara becomes rich again, remaining awesome as ever, and punishing all who were mean to her. Yup, Sara never changes in her awesomeness, she doesn't need a character arc. Instead, the whole world around her makes an arc. Brilliant.

Don't even get me started that a child who has always been given all she wants, has never heard the word "no" and had -literally- servants and slaves at her beck and call - isn't spoiled, but is instead wise and teaches her wisdom to the adults around her. Sure, because wisdom isn't something you learn through error and hardship. You're just born with it if you're a true Princess inside.


Was the complete and unwavering snobbism of Sara and the author.

"It's not your fault that you are stupid" - says Sara to her BFF Ermengarde. How nice and kind, right?

I tried not to be a princess. I tried! - but failed. Who could blame you, Sara?

I can give buns and bread to the populace! - says Sara exuberantly, when she becomes rich again.

"You couldn't look like a street beggar, you haven't a street beggar face," "...clothes to make her look somehow like a servant" - um, so what is a "beggar face" and what do servants look like? Not like humans, just in different clothes?

Everyone keeps beating themselves up about how much Sara is working (at the time she is poor), but no one pays any mind to Becky, who is of comparable age and actually works more and also harder. Sara deserves all the sympathy because she used to be rich, you see! The whole London filled with hungry children working way too hard is of no concern because they look like servants and have beggar faces.

Miss Minchin is portrayed as a monster because she made Sara work when she turned from crazy rich to a beggar. Sara is, in fact, indebted to Minchin, because not only did her father not pay forward, he also didn't cover some hefty bills. Minchin does a good thing not throwing Sara out and also adapting her to a change of station. Because her station is indeed very much changed. What should she have done? Ignored reality, to make Sara face it later, even more harshly? Sure, Minchin could have been softer to a child who's just lost her father. But of course, the author wouldn't have that.

So I absolutely HATED every page of this book. As I hated Little Women and Black Beauty, as a matter of fact. Maybe catching up on children's classics I haven't read is a bad idea.

P.S. (20.07.2019) In fairness, I've just finished a different book by Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden - which is a children's classic as well. And I loved it and gave it 5 stars. So it seems too early to give up on the genre or even the author. The Little Princess was just not for me.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
April 13, 2022
A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess is a children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published as a book in 1905.

Captain Crewe, a wealthy English widower, has been raising his only child, Sara, in India where he is stationed with the British Army. Because the Indian climate is considered too harsh for children, British families living there traditionally send their children to boarding school back home in England.

The captain enrolls his young daughter at Miss Minchin's boarding school for girls in London, and dotes on his daughter so much that he orders and pays the headmistress for special treatment and exceptional luxuries for Sara, such as a private room for her with a personal maid and a separate sitting room, along with Sara's own private carriage and a pony. Miss Minchin openly fawns over Sara for her money, but secretly and jealously despises her for her wealth. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «سارا کوچولو: یا ماجراهای خانه خانم مین چین»؛ «سارا کوچولو»؛ «سارا کروو»؛ «ساراکرو»؛ «س‍ارا ک‍ورو: ش‍اه‍زاده‌ خ‍ان‍م‌ ک‍وچ‍ک‌»؛ نویسنده: فرانسس هاجسون (هاجسن) بارنت (برنت)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفتم ماه آگوست سال2006میلادی

عنوان: سارا کوچولو: یا ماجراهای خانه خانم مین چین؛ نویسنده: فرانسس هاجسون (هاجسن) بارنت (برنت)؛ مترجم علی کاتبی؛ تهران، نشر اشاره؛ چاپ سوم سال1370؛ در82ص؛ چاپ چهارم سال1372؛ چاپ پنجم سال1375؛ موضوع: داستانهای کودکان از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

عنوان: سارا کوچولو؛ نویسنده: فرانسس هاجسون (هاجسن) بارنت (برنت)؛ مترجم: هادی عادلپور؛ تهران، کوشش، سال1375، در192ص؛

عنوان: سارا کروو؛ نویسنده: فرانسس هاجسون (هاجسن) بارنت (برنت)؛ مترجم: مهدی فیاض؛ مشهد، نشر موحد؛ سال1376؛ در96ص؛

عنوان: ساراکرو؛ نویسنده: فرانسس هاچسون برنت؛ مترجم: مترجم: حسن قائم مقامی؛ تهران، شهر کتاب، هرمس؛ سال1382؛ در320ص؛ شابک9643632121؛

عنوان: س‍ارا ک‍وچ‍ول‍و؛ ن‍وش‍ت‍ه‌: ف‍ران‍س‍ی‍س‌ ه‍اج‍س‍ن‌ ب‍رن‍ت‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ه‍روس‌ ش‍ب‍ان‍ی‌؛ وی‍راس‍ت‍ار: اح‍م‍د س‍ل‍طان‍ی‌.؛ تهران، بلوط، سال1376؛ در152ص؛ شابک9649096612؛

عنوان: س‍ارا ک‍ورو: ش‍اه‍زاده‌ خ‍ان‍م‌ ک‍وچ‍ک‌؛ نویسنده: ف‍ران‍س‌ه‍اج‍س‍ن‌ ب‍رن‍ت‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: رام‍ک‌ ن‍ی‍ک‌طل‍ب‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌ ق‍دی‍ان‍ی‌، ک‍ت‍اب‍ه‍ای‌ ب‍ن‍ف‍ش‍ه‌‏‫، سال1383؛ در246ص؛ شابک9789644175909؛‬ چاپ پنجم سال1390؛ چاپ هفتم سال1391؛ چاپ دهم سال1397؛

پرنسس کوچک یک رمان کودکانه اثر «فرانسس هاجسون برنت» است، که نخستین بار به شکل کتاب در سال1905میلادی چاپ شد؛ این رمان نسخه‌ ای گسترش یافته از داستان کوتاه «سارا کرو: یا، آنچه در مدرسه خانم مینچین اتفاق افتاد» است؛ درباره شخصیتی به نام «سارا» است که پس از ورشکستگی و مرگ پدرش و دچار شدن به فقر، کوشش می‌کند روحیه‌اش را از دست ندهد، و عزت نفس خود را نگاهبانی کند و اگر چه بی‌چیز است، هماره همانند شاهزاده‌ها رفتار می‌کند؛

نقل از متن برگردان «رام‍ک‌ ن‍ی‍ک‌طل‍ب‌»: («ارمنگارد» و «لوتی» همیشه نمی‌توانستند به دیدن «سارا» بروند؛ بیشتر وقت‌ها این کار خطرناک بود؛ باید ابتدا از بودن «سارا» در اتاقش مطمئن می‌شدند؛ بعد باید مراقب می‌بودند که «آمیلیا» هنگام بازرسی شبانه آنها را نبیند؛ برای همین، به ندرت «سارا» را می‌دیدند؛ زندگی «سارا» عجیب بود؛ گاهی در پایین، بیشتر از بالا احساس تنهایی می‌کرد؛ هنگام کار کسی با او حرف نمی‌زد؛ وقتی به خرید می‌رفت، هیکل کوچک حزن‌انگیزی بود که سبدش را به سختی می‌کشید و سعی می‌کرد کلاهش را در بادهای شدید بر سر نگه‌دارد؛ وقتی باران می‌بارید و خیسش می‌کرد، مردم بی‌توجه و با عجله از کنارش می‌گذشتند و این کارشان تنهایی‌اش را بزرگ‌تر می‌کرد؛ زمانی که «شاهزاده سارا» بود، با آن کت‌ها و کلاه‌های قشنگ و دیدنی، با صورتی شاد و درخشان و همراهی و مراقبت مریت در کالسکه می‌نشست و توجه مردم را به خود جلب می‌کرد؛ مردم به تماشایش می‌ایستادند، و تا مدت‌ها نگاهش می‌کردند، و لبخند می‌زدند؛ این روزها کسی به «سارا» نگاه نمی‌کرد؛ انگار هیچ‌کس او را نمی‌دید؛ قدش بلندتر شده بود و با آن لباس نازک و قدیمی، مشکوک به نظر می‌رسید؛ از لباس‌های گرم و گران‌بها خبری نبود و باید آنچه را که داشت، تا آنجا که می‌توانست، می‌پوشید؛ گاهی وقت‌ها که در ویترین یا آینه‌ی مغازه‌ها خودش را می‌دید، خنده‌اش می‌گرفت و گاهی سرخ می‌شد و لبش را گاز می‌گرفت و می‌دوید.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
January 28, 2018
"Whatever comes," she said, "cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."

Much can be said about the improbabilities in the plot, about the desperate sentimentality and caricature of Victorian England's boarding school system. It doesn't matter.

To me, Sarah Crewe will always remain a symbol for inner strength, perseverance and values winning over greed, sadism and abusive power. I can't recall how many times I read my hardcover copy as a young girl, shivering with anger and fear when the young heiress thinks she has lost everything and is turned into an unpaid maid at the school where she used to be a shining star.

Quite often, I think of her when I enter a bakery on a cold day, the smell of fresh bread making me instantly hungry. I think of the hungry girl, and how much she must have craved the buns she bought for a coin she found. And I know it is a simple show-effect on the part of Frances Hodgson Burnett to make Sarah hand over the buns to a starving girl sitting outside the bakery. It is not realistic! We are human beings. We a greedy, egotistical, trained and constructed to guarantee our own selfish survival first of all. We don't give away our bread. We hoard it until it gets moldy and can't be eaten by anyone!

And yet - Sarah Crewe, the fictional perfect human being, clever, kind, using her power to help, rather than to destroy others, makes my heart feel a tiny bit better each time I think of her. She is not realistic, and nor is the poetical justice in the novel, giving back the wealth she had thought she lost as some kind of divine reward for being a good sport when she lost it.

Does it really matter whether this story is exaggerated? If I can choose to give my children one of the countless bestselling young adult novels that show humanity in its worst egomania, or this tale of friendship, genuine care and power of imagination, I won't have to think twice. I like to imagine that people loving Sarah Crewe might start seeing those around themselves that are "hungrier than she was herself", and that they might feel that they can offer a bun or two from their bakery basket as a result of their reading. If reading inspires, I like to think this one inspires more than a dire account of teenage violence and crime...

Try being a princess no matter what - that's what I believe in, loving my fairy tales still!
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,453 reviews2,406 followers
July 15, 2023
"She liked books more than anything else, and was, in fact, always inventing stories of beautiful things and telling them to herself."

This book tells the story of a seven year old girl, Sara, whose father got posted in a faraway place and she had to stay in a seminary.

And this is the best description of Sara so far as the story goes at the beginning of the book:

"Her young mother had died, and as the child had been treated like a favorite doll or a very spoiled pet monkey or lap dog ever since the first hour of her life, she was a very appalling little creature."

But what's more important about her character is how she tells stories and being there for those who need some kindness and a pair of listening ears.

Other characters include Miss Minchin (strict without much purpose I feel, very dislikeable) and her other staffs, Ermangarde ("fat", "not clever" *me: I just can't ugh...), Lavinia (almost a bully and a bully), Lottie (with the "small, fat legs"), Becky (the young, "ugly", stunted maid), Miss Amelia (the one with "fat" hands), Ram Das (the man next door) but try to know who are these characters when you read the book: Emily, Mr and Mrs Melchisedec.

*Child labour, starvation, child abuse and neglect

"“I can’t bear this,” said the poor child, trembling. “I know I shall die. I’m cold; I’m wet; I’m starving to death. I’ve walked a thousand miles today, and they have done nothing but scold me from morning until night. And because I could not find that last thing the cook sent me for, they would not give me any supper."

I really do not like the usage of derogatory words like ugly, fat over and over again in books especially in books that are considered classics and meant for the youngsters.

I liked this book and enjoyed it thoroughly but I wasn't ready for the stereotypes it has regarding gender and culture.

To be honest I was bored in between as there was an unending fuss on the main character. And then the book took a turn and it got pretty serious. That's when I started enjoying the book for the story it has.

The book deals with loneliness (and grief) in great detail from the perspective of a child. Sara even made friends with animals and birds to overcome such times.
The best part though is the writing. It made the book so easy to get into and get through with it until the end. It tells how company and imagination comfort during such difficult times. And also, there are a lot of times Sara stood up for herself and spoke her mind. It's liberating!

*Quite relatable:

"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."

"Her imagination was beginning to work for her. It had not worked for her at all since her troubles had come upon her. She had felt as if it had been stunned."

“It’s a lonely place,” she said. “Sometimes it’s the loneliest place in the world.”

"Give her books, and she would devour them and end by knowing them by heart."

“I am growing quite fond of him. I should not like him to be disturbed. I have adopted him for a friend. You can do that with people you never speak to at all. You can just watch them, and think about them and be sorry for them, until they seem almost like relations."
(This sounds so much like me fangirling over my K-pop idols. Creepy me!)

“I don’t want you to give me anything,” said Sara. “I want your books—I want them!” And her eyes grew big, and her chest heaved.

*Lines to reflect upon:

"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."

“Adversity tries people, and mine has tried you and proved how nice you are.”

“EVERYTHING’S a story. You are a story—I am a story."

"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 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 stupid things they wish they hadn’t said afterward. There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in—that’s stronger. It’s a good thing not to answer your enemies."

"While the thought held possession of her, she could not be made rude and malicious by the rudeness and malice of those about her."

“Perhaps you can FEEL if you can’t hear,” was her fancy. “Perhaps kind thoughts reach people somehow, even through windows and doors and walls. Perhaps you feel a little warm and comforted, and don’t know why, when I am standing here in the cold and hoping you will get well and happy again."

(***The iconic lines***)
“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."

“Perhaps,” she said, “to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people.

*This part broke my heart:

“You are nothing but a DOLL!” she cried. “Nothing but a doll—doll—doll! You care for nothing. You are stuffed with sawdust. You never had a heart. Nothing could ever make you feel. You are a DOLL!”

The anguish. The frustration.

No child should feel this way.

The story ends well. Believe in yourself. Believe in the magic. Believe someone cares for you. Kindness matters.

And Miss Minchin, go to H. I really dislike such heartless, abusive, shallow characters.

Well, being yourself and being kind. That's how you conquer everything you want.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
August 11, 2020
One of my favorite books of all time.

Okay, this needs an update. I love magical realism and as far as I can tell, this is one of the first books that I read about magical realism. This book moved me so much. The world seems to crumble around the 'little princess', but she keeps her hope that things are better with story and imagination, no matter the real world. She uplifts those girls around her.

She is left at a boarding school for girls while her father goes to be in a war. He sets her up with the best room and things and he does his best to spoil her from afar. She is kind to the girls around her and spins fabulous tales that change the lives of the girls around her. It gives them strength and hope and a sense of belonging, of home.

Then, her father goes missing and the money stops and the head mistress who put up with the girls shenanigans lets her hatred out and the girl has to become a servant in the school. She continues to help the girls around her, she continues to spin tales.

Our perspective in life really does define our reality. I love this story because I strive to be this way, but I fall so short. I want to be able to live this so much. When life gets difficult, I tend to give up and shrink away. Then I have to build myself up all over again. I want to be more like Sarah and able to withstand tough times.

This would be a desert island book for me. I need that romantic view of life. I'm also a 4 on the enneagram which is the romantic and I just see the world through that romantic lens, so it makes sense stories about romantic ideals will speak to me. This is the best of the best.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews559 followers
November 11, 2020
"When one was sitting by a warm fire in a big, glowing room, it was quite delightful to hear how cold it could be in an attic."

This might be commonly classified as a children's book, but I absolutely loved it. The story is give your a blast of all kinds of emotions throughout the story, and how the protagonist, Sarah Crewe faces and reacts to each of them in quite a wonderful way. The way how each supporting character complements the story is excellent, and adds much impact.

' “You see, I know what it is to be hungry, and it is very hard when one cannot even pretend it away.” '

This book will make your laugh, sad, cry, and happy while submersing you in one of the loveliest plots of all time. It's true that certain things seems a bit too perfect, but I guess it's best that way, considering this is indeed a children's book. Also, the lessons are plentiful, specially in the middle part of the story, which will be invaluable to any child. If you have not read this book - regardless what age you are in right now - give it a chance, for, I think, this is something that has no age limit.

"She had learned to know how comforting a smile, even from a stranger, may be."
Profile Image for JimZ.
1,062 reviews495 followers
December 17, 2020
Last week I read a novel Maud Martha and wondered as I was reading it, and when done, where I was for all of these years and never heard of that book prior to being on Goodreads. Today as I was reading this book the exact same question popped into my head. I guess better late than never. 😉

This book came out in serial form in 1888 in St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular American monthly publication designed for children. Imagine being a child back in the day and reading these chapters and coming to the end of a chapter and having to wait (at least) 30 days until the next chapter. When you’re left wondering what happens next in Sara’s life. There’s something to be said for serialization. I guess that’s the way a lot of people got their reading of literature from…literary publications that came out weekly or monthly.

A riches-to-rags-to-riches story. I read this from a Puffins Book edition (2014)…it had drawings in it by Margery Gill (from Puffins edition in 1961) which I enjoyed as part of the reading experience. Miss Minchin was certainly a meanie extraordinaire. Sara Crewe almost reminded me of a saint (nobody can be this good, can they?), but I think her moral code is what made the book shine for me. She was a saint come hell or highwater. And she not only “do unto others as they will do unto you”…she affected other people so that they too did good.
• A wonderful example of this was when she came upon a beggar girl who was starving…she had just found a coin in the muddy streets of London and could buy 4 buns for it from a bakery. She herself was starving from the mistreatment of Miss Minchin. But after she bought the 4 buns (and the woman who owned the bakery shop felt so bad for Sara she threw in 2 more buns for good measure) she stepped outside the bakery and gave a bun to the beggar girl…who wolfed it down. And Sara knew this girl was starving and was in even worse straits than she was, so she gave another bun and another…until she walked away with only one bun. Meanwhile the bakery woman had been watching this with amazement (she knew Sara was in bad shape and yet she was giving her buns away to the beggar girl), and she ended up taking the beggar girl in, employing her, and clothing her and feeding her… And get this, rewind to when Sara found the coin…she was starving and she saw the bakery across the road, but she wondered that perhaps the baker women had lost the coin…and so she walks into the bakery and asks if the baker women had lost a coin. How good is that??!!!

I am anxious to get to GR reviews and reviews from literary periodicals on this book, so I’ll shut my piehole for now. 😮 I liked this book bunches. 😊 It was an interesting and enjoyable read, and it had a happy ending, and sometimes we all need that.

• Wow…this is interesting…I knew about the magazine serialization but not about the two plays: the 1905 book is based on an adaptation from two plays (1902 & 1903) that is based on the serial publication in St. Nicolas Magazine (1887-8). I found this in an abstract of a Master’s Thesis awarded to Johanna Elizabeth Resler in 1952 at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis (Department of English) in 1952. SARA’S TRANSFORMATION: A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT’S SARA CREWE AND A LITTLE PRINCESS (iupui.edu) https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle...
• According to Burnett, after she composed the 1902 play A Little Un-fairy Princess based on that story, her publisher asked that she expand the story as a novel with "the things and people that had been left out before". 4] The novel was published by Charles Scribner's Sons (also publisher of St. Nicholas) with illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts and the full title A Little Princess: Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Being Told for the First Time. From: https://www.brooklinebooksmith.com/bo...
Reviews from periodicals:
Reviews from blogsites:
Profile Image for Debbie W..
762 reviews570 followers
February 6, 2023
Why I chose to read this book:
1. after recently reading and enjoying The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, several GR friends recommended this book; and,
2. February 2023 is my "Books For Young and Old Alike" Month.

1. even though MC Sara Crewe had an indulgent upbringing, her positive outlook on life, her self-control, and her compassion for others less fortunate than herself make her character extremely likeable - a character young readers could hopefully emulate, especially when things go wrong; and,
2. Miss Minchin is one of the most terrifying villain(nesses) I've ever come across in literature! She was intent on breaking a child's spirit!

This may be a tricky read-aloud as some words and phrases may be uncomfortable for today's youth to hear in the context provided (e.g. stupid, fat).

Overall Thoughts:
"There but for the grace of God go I."

This story really had me thinking: "What if ...?" my comfortable lifestyle vanished instantly? Would I be able to face my new challenges with the same grace as Sara?

This story sends a lovely message of empathy, compassion and patience; however, I do recommend reading it to yourself first before sharing it with young listeners.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,115 followers
May 12, 2017
This was actually really nice. An uplifting tale, where the heroine wins out and the villain fails (screw you Miss Minchen!)
Sara Crewe is a well off young lady, whose father sends her to a boarding school in London so she can be educated.
Despite her upbringing being given her every hearts desire, Sara doesn't act like a brat. She shares what she has with the other girls - apart from two awful jealous ones. (There's always a vindictive girl and her sidekick).
So when her father dies suddenly having lost their fortune Sara is reduced to a life of servitude and hunger.
Despite this she pretends in her heart that she is a princess just going through hard times and that things will improve.
It's a wonderful story with an ending that everyone would love. It restores faith in karma and good triumphing over bad. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Piya.
90 reviews170 followers
January 19, 2018

“If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

What an adorable, heartwarming little book !! I believe this is the second classic that I have read ever( yeah, not a huge fan of classics :-|).The plot is a very simple one .But, as an old wise man once stated “Mysteries and complexities have their own charm but sometimes the simplest stories are the nicest”. Best way to sum it up!

It is the story of a little girl named Sara. She is remarkable…an intelligent, kind girl…a bit strange at times…but overall remarkable. She is super rich and her father spares no expenses to fulfill any of her wishes. But she doesn’t let it go to her head.

Will she be the same person if the circumstances were to change?? What determines what kind of a person you are? Well, no suspense here …we find out soon enough . Something really horrible happens …and she turns from princess to a servant overnight. What stands out though, is her unique way of dealing with these extraordinarily horrible circumstances .She uses make-beliefs to draw strength and cooks up stories to stay positive.

Well, every story needs a villain. And Oh yes …we get the cruelest of them all- Ms. Minchin. I hated her with all my heart!

Overall, a wonderful story with a beautiful theme/ message. But I felt there were some repetitiveness and the plot was too simple. If I had been younger , probably it would have been a 5-star read . But, still it’s a great book for everyone. And if you are in need for a little pick-me-up …it’s the perfect one ! ;)
“There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in – that’s stronger.”

Thank u Mr. Grumpy for the awesome rec and BR ! :)

Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
July 11, 2017
I managed to write an almost-full review of this book. It is here!: https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...
I can't believe I'm saying this, but...the movie really was a better story.

Maybe I'll go watch that for the millionth time.

This book pales in comparison to The Secret Garden, but it was still good. Hard to make an über-wealthy seven-year-old seem great, but this book does it. (Burnett KILLS it with the unlikable characters!) I liked the first half better than the second, probably because, again, the movie version of the story is just a lot more entertaining.

There are also a lot more villains in the book. It's more like Sara in a sea of people who are average-to-bad, which is kind of a weird message for a children's book.

Anyway. I'm glad I finally read this, though. It was good, and if I'd read the book first I wouldn't be judging it so harshly.

Bottom line: Yeah, give it a try. Look at that goddamn cover!
Profile Image for Maureen.
574 reviews4,185 followers
July 22, 2016
Book #3 for #booktubeathon is DONE!

I finished this audiobook on the way to work this morning and MAN do I love this story. I've loved the movie for a long time and I loved this book just as much, although the endings and elements of the story were different. Sarah is such a fantastically beautiful character with such a big heart for others. I loved reading about her adventures and how she continued to have the attitude of a princess, regardless of her circumstances.
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,382 followers
December 23, 2022
Some books don’t hold up well over time. Others improve with every reading. This is a book that is firmly in the latter category for me. I liked this book a lot when I was a child. I love it as an adult. Maybe I’ve grown to adore this book because, as I age, the premise of the book and the lessons it teaches strike my heart harder. I’ve never experienced highs quite as high as those Sara Crewe experiences, and I’ve never suffered through lows quite as low as Sara is forced to endure. But, like everyone, I have experienced triumphs and tragedies. The more I go through in my life, the more I respect little Sara Crewe, a little princess if ever there was one, and how she handled everything both happy or horrific that life threw her way. She always carried herself as the little princess she pretended to be, whether dressed in tattered rags or extravagant riches. She shared what she had with those less fortunate, even when she didn’t really have enough for herself. Sara endured. And if Sara can endure, so can I. My story can be her story in the disguise of my times, hidden within the setting of my life.

“Everything’s a story - You are a story - I am a story.”

I don’t want to say much about the story, though I know it’s a classic and thus the plot is probably already known to anyone who reads this review. If you haven’t read this book, please do. It’s short and it’s lovely and it reminds readers that the way we view ourselves and the actions spawned from that view truly matters. It also reminds us to see others as people, no matter their station in life, and to give freely. Is there any better way to wrap yourself in Christmas spirit than by remembering to give unto others as Christ gave to us? That’s what Sara Crewe’s story does for me.

“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.”

Merry Christmas. May you remember the true reason for the season. And if your memory should fail, let little Sara Crewe remind you.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews937 followers
May 3, 2023
Buen libro, súper fácil de leer.

Cada nuevo día es una completa sorpresa. Intentamos controlarlo todo, programar lo que haremos por la noche, al siguiente día, en el fin de semana, en las vacaciones, pero por más que tengamos planes para el futuro hay situaciones inéditas que afectan completamente aquella ruta de viaje programada. Esto ocurre porque en el fondo, ese control que creemos poseer solo es una ilusión, y por más que sintamos que nuestro porvenir depende de nosotros mismos la verdad es que no es así. Hay infinidad de situaciones, posibilidades y caminos, que en caso de presentarse alteraría completamente nuestra vida: desde nuestro trabajo, hasta nuestra vida sentimental. No nos gusta reconocerlo porque nos sentiríamos vulnerables, pero de una u otra forma dependemos de lo que hacen los demás. Si se muere el dueño de la empresa donde trabajamos, ¿seguiremos teniendo empleo? Si algún sector productivo de nuestro país deja de funcionar, ¿seguiremos disfrutando de las comodidades que podemos disfrutar? Si se presentan desastres naturales cerca a nuestro hogar, ¿tendremos la fortuna de que nuestros familiares sigan con vida? Si sufrimos una enfermedad, ¿tendremos la capacidad física y mental para seguir nuestro plan de vida al pie de la letra? Pues bien, de esto es lo que trata esta obra.

En, La princesita, conoceremos la historia de Sara Creewe, hija del Capitan Creewe, que de la noche a la mañana se convierte en una niña pobre, a pesar de que antes había gozado de todas las comodidades posibles que le brindaba su padre. La historia está clasificada en el género Drama/Infantil por lo que naturalmente no encontraremos escenas excesivamente sombrías o crueles; sin embargo, aquí la autora hace el intento de plasmar de una forma tenue la visión de cómo un infante puede quedar expuesto en un mundo de miseria donde la desigualdad social es la que prima en todas partes. La autora hace un gran trabajo al describir correctamente esas situaciones, especialmente con el cambio de actitud de las personas hacia Sara cuando se enteran de la nueva situación económica de la protagonista. Es una crítica muy interesante que nos ayuda a reflexionar sobre los prejuicios que tenemos como sociedad hacia las personas con menos recursos. Es como si juzgáramos a las personas por la cantidad de dinero que poseen en sus bolsillos y no por las habilidades o inteligencia que puedan poseer para sobrevivir en el mundo. Personalmente, creo que fue un gran acierto de la autora primero describir ese mundo «color rosa» para luego mostrar la otra faceta de la vida, ese mundo «color mierda».

El argumento de la historia me ha parecido muy bueno, la prosa también porque he logrado leer el libro a una velocidad rápida, e incluso el vocabulario me ha parecido bastante claro y fácil de entender: Lógicamente, al tratarse de un libro enfocado para un público infantil y juvenil, debía ser así. Sin embargo, quizás por mi historial de lectura, fue una obra que no logró conmoverme por la historia de la protagonista. No sé, me pareció todo como muy leve, nunca tan grave. Lo sé, no puedo exigir en este libro orientado para un público juvenil más situaciones lúgubres para la protagonista, pero en caso de que se hubieran presentado escenas más dramáticas, más giros inesperados, más dificultades, y más miseria, sería una obra maestra en todo el sentido de la palabra. No obstante, no significa que no me haya gustado la obra o que mi experiencia sea negativa. Nada de eso. Lo que ocurre es que a veces nuestra mente nos hace creer que el contenido que acabamos de consumir pudo ser mejor.

Otro aspecto del libro importante para mencionar es sobre la protagonista. Sara, es una niña muy bien educada, sabe comportarse, controlar sus emociones, es amable, solidaria con las más necesitadas, tiene una imaginación increíble, y en verdad que es una niña ejemplar. Sara tiene el tipo de personalidad adecuada para la historia, ya que justamente es en las situaciones adversas cuando vale la pena observar sus reacciones y comprobar si es capaz de mantener su actitud temple todo el tiempo. No obstante, no fue un personaje que se ganara mi cariño y simpatía. Quizás también es un tema personal, algo relacionado a la química que siento con ciertas personalidades, pero siento que un poco de picardía y rebeldía hubiera sido perfecto para Sara. Al fin y al cabo era una niña, por lo que esa docilidad con la que se comportó todo el tiempo no me terminó de convencer. Sin embargo, es un personaje correcto, cumple su rol, y quizás a otros lectores si les guste su participación.

En resumen, una obra con una idea interesante, una autora que escribe de forma amena, una crítica social que nos invita a la reflexión, y una lectura que recordaré como una experiencia agradable, a pesar de que la resolución de la historia es bastante predecible desde casi el inicio del libro. La calificación de tres estrellas me parece apropiada: Menos sería injusto, pero más ya sería demasiado generoso. Buen libro.
Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews726 followers
October 17, 2016
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is the story of a little girl "Sara" whose father’s bankruptcy and death leave her impoverished, alone, and at the mercy of the evil Miss Minchin, i didn't read the book when i was a child but i loved the animation adaptation of Burnett’s book. when I did read it! Meeting the real Sara for the first time it was a completely different experience for me, It makes me feel really old :(

“Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she 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.

"It makes me feel as if something had hit me," Sara had told Ermengarde once in confidence. "And as if I want to hit back. I have to remember things quickly to keep from saying something ill-tempered.”
Profile Image for Catherine.
336 reviews93 followers
September 8, 2018
My heart is so full after reading this. Years ago, I got the movie A Little Princess for my birthday. I had never heard anything about it before, but little did I know that I would break the DVD player watching it so many times. Like the movie, the book is beautiful. There really is no other word that can accurately describe it.

I've never felt as connected to a protagonist as I did to Sara. This little girl had the biggest, most generous heart and no matter how bad her situation got, her character remained pure; even when she had nothing to her name she still put others before herself and never wanted pity. When she was grieving the loss of her father and went from being treated like a princess to being treated like a slave, I wanted so badly to save her. It made me want to find a way into the pages to take all her sadness and pain away because she deserved none of it.

This is one of those books that you should encourage your kids to read when they are young. Not to say that it isn't a book for adults, because it is, but I think children especially would benefit from reading it as they are most impressionable. As I was reading, I was overcome with a compelling desire to adopt Sara’s open-heartedness—it just made me want to be a better person which I think is a really special reaction to a book. Honestly every time my heart cracked and pieced back together was worth it and I would suffer a million times over if it meant that I had the honor of being touched by this story forever.

My favourite quote in the whole book:

“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.”
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,211 reviews104 followers
April 13, 2022
Now as much as Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess is and remains both a childhood and adulthood favourite for me, in some if not actually many ways, main protagonist Sara Crewe and her entire demeanour do at times appear as being simply and frustratingly just a bit too good to be true. And while I have indeed always liked Sara's story tremendously, I also must admit that I have never loved A Little Princess as much as, say, The Secret Garden (also, of course, by Frances Hodgson Burnett) or the Anne of Green Gables and the Emily of New Moon series (Lucy Maud Montgomery). For in all of these here novels, the main characters are presented as having their share of faults (and at times even seriously problematic and major ones), while in A Little Princess, Sara Crewe seemingly has little or no such peccadilloes (except perhaps that she does at times appear almost patronising in her goodness and her feelings for the populace, but I think that the author, that Frances Hodgson Burnett actually does not mean this to be considered as a fault, and it is just our more modern sensibilities which tend to make us consider this kind of noblesse oblige feeling to be not entirely, not altogether praiseworthy anymore).

And actually, one important consideration to keep in mind is that A Little Princess was published quite a few years before The Secret Garden (the fomer was published in 1905, I believe, and I think The Secret Garden was not published until 1911 or so, and the novella on which A Little Princess is based, Sara Crewe, Or What Happened At Miss Minchin's was actually published even earlier, around 1888). And thus, perhaps Frances Hodgson Burnett's attitude towards children had matured by the time she penned The Secret Garden, and she might have by then realised that it would be better to have main characters who are not perfect, but also have their share of not so stellar character traits. But on the other hand, I also have to wonder whether the author, whether Frances Hodgson Burnett might not have deliberately portrayed Sara as a faultless princess-like character because she wanted to portray her as some kind of magical, fairy tale like entity (a child-goddess of compassion, helpful, patient, accepting, but ultimately too good to be true, a bit like the type of character Dickon represents in The Secret Garden, similarly godlike and unrealistic, but then, Dickon is a supporting character and not the main character, like Sara is in A Little Princess).

Still, A Little Princess truly is and always will be a lovely and sweet tale (somewhat of an upside down fairy tale, a riches to rags and then back to riches story) and a novel that although written more than a century ago, is still enjoyable, readable and for most children, sufficiently approachable (and I bet many adults are like me, having not just fond childhood memories of A little Princess, but also of repeated rereads).
Profile Image for Saadia  B..
184 reviews74 followers
October 21, 2021
Short story about a little girl named Sara aged 7 who used to live with her father in India. Father being concerned of her education, decides to send her to a boarding school in London. There she lives in luxury than other pupils and everyone was envied because of her intelligence and luxurious lifestyle. However her father, Captain Crewe dies from a high fever, leaving Sara penniless. He had put all his money in the diamond mines business along with his friend, who went missing after seeing some losses.

The news of Captain Crewe’s death changed Sara’s life completely in the utter misery and mercy of Miss Minchin. She was made to live like a maid who worked for hours, ran errands and taught young pupil lessons. She was a very bright child and a quick learner, who loved reading and creating stories. Her father’s friend who ran away, searched for Sara everywhere and finally finds her after two years, as he happened to move to the house next to the boarding school.

He tells her the entire story and gives her every comfort she deserved as she was the owner of half the fortunes from diamond mines, which were later discovered. Sara always pretended and acted as if she was a princess and in the end with the help of magic (she liked to believe that) she lives her life as a princess, who was kind, well-mannered, caring and above all loved sharing her goodness with others.

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August 9, 2018
This was just what I needed. This book was beautifully heart-warming, and I must confess, my heart is most certainly warmed. I remember loving the film of "A little Princess" many years ago, and it has remained a firm favourite with me. Even though the story in the film is slightly different to the original book, I enjoyed both, in a similar way. Actually, I now have a distinct urge to go and watch the film!

"If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

I enjoyed the first half of the book more, in comparison to the second. Maybe this is because I feel it follows the film more, plus, there are some beautiful and incredible quotes, that really touched me. It also became apparent rather quickly, that there are many more villains in the book, which really, I think is slightly strange for a children's book. But damn, I have to say, I despised Ms Minchin. She really was such a terrible person, and each time she abused Sara, I felt quite angry inside. (Yes, some books have a profound effect on me.)

Overall, this is a wonderful story, with a prominent message, and I think I could definitely enjoy this again, at some point in the future.

Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,474 followers
September 1, 2020
The movie adaptation of this book was my beloved, childhood favourite, yet, for some reason, I had never read the book. I was pleasantly surprised to find how accurate my favourite film was to the classic text it originated from.

I find it odd how I adored this story so, when my favourite childhood read was Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. I loved the former for the pure-hearted and eternally kind protagonist and adored the latter for the unlikable, cross and bad-tempered one. The two differing protagonists dually delighted me, however dissimilar they appeared, and I believe the author has a powerful gift in creating characters children (and adults, too!) can find all sides of themselves in.

Asides from the lovable characters, this book also has a poignant story-line that completely enraptured me. Sara Crewe's riches-to-rags-to-riches story was a charming one, but what completely captivated me was in how she dealt with her fate. She remained eternally optimistic and often used fairy tale and stories created inside her own head as a brief escape from her plight. She was gifted with a pure character and a generous soul and instead of appearing as a two-dimensional 'goody good' character, she instilled in me a yearning to be a better individual and to channel some of her spirit.

The parts that brought me to tears, both then and now, was Sara's belief that every female was a princess at heart, and so it is only fitting to end this review with a quote that sums up exactly what is so endearing about this book:

"Whatever comes," she said, "cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”
Profile Image for Carol.
834 reviews499 followers
February 4, 2017
The Hook - My GR friend Stephanie loved this story as a child. Stephanie owns many editions of her beloved book and her re-reads of this have not disappointed her. Honestly I had never heard of it. I have read A Secret Garden and wondered why A Little Princess never made my childhood reading. I would have loved to have this read out loud to me at that age. Stephanie did suggest an audio version available on Hoopla. I may listen to a bit of this but decided to just take the plunge and found an edition on my library’s subscription to Freading.

The Line(s) - "Sara often thought afterward that the house was somehow exactly like Miss Minchin. It was respectable and well furnished, but everything in it was ugly; and the very armchairs seemed to have hard bones in them.”

The Sinker - A Little Princess was published in 1905 by author Frances Hodgson Burnett and is suggested for audiences of 10-13 year olds. At this time of my life I was probably just leaving behind series books like Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, just on the cusp of rolling over to more adult novels. If I had read this rags to riches story a few years earlier I am certain I would have found the imagery delightful and would have been fascinated by Sara’s world, one in which she wears such beautiful clothing so descriptively described in all its finery.

Sara Crewe is quite young when the story begins. Her father, Captain Crewe, a wealthy Englishman living in India brings Sara to England for her formal schooling, leaving her in the hands of the owner, Miss Minchin. Sara status and privilege really get under Minchin’s skin and though Minchin is known to be cruel, Sara gets more than her share of her nasty disposition. But Sara remains kind, always trying to look at the bright side of life, making lemonade out of lemons so to speak. Sara’s gift of storytelling, her ability to empathize with the girls who are bullied by their peers and her willingness to do what must be done, endear her to most but not all. How she becomes called Princess is key part of the story. There are marvelous characters throughout these pages, including a doll, with her divine garments and accoutrements, an attic girl named Becky, and even Melchisedec; oh, I’m not telling you who he is.

The parting of Sara and her father is very hard to witness. As the time for him to return to India grows closer it’s decided that Sara will be given a new doll, but not just any doll. Her name is to be Emily and she will be Sara’s friend.

"I want her to look as if she wasn’t a doll really”, Sara said. “I want her to look as if she listens when I talk to her. The trouble with dolls, papa” –and she put her head on one side and reflected as she said it—“the trouble with dolls is that they never seem to hear.”

When Sara’s father diamond mine deal fails and he suddenly dies leaving Sara penniless, her life spirals from wealth to poverty quite quickly. The change in her life and its resolution has the fairytale appeal that makes this story charming.

I’m not certain how children of today would enjoy this book. The language is old fashioned and the story doesn’t have the modern zing of today’s movies, TV, games or books. It is simplistic and offers much that is black or white, yet still has themes of goodness and evil to challenge discussion. And yet, given the right child, the right person to share the story with, I could see it being a beloved tale.

Thank you Stephanie. Better late than never. A Little Princess was an enchanting read.

Profile Image for Leore Joanne Green.
48 reviews14 followers
February 17, 2019
Downloaded this one in audio form from Librivox as well.

This is one of my all time favourite books. I first read it when I was thirteen years old and a bit of an outcast at my school and it gave me strength to move on. Her way of pretending things was very familiar to me and I got so sucked into the magic of the story.
Hearing it now, I was afraid it would prove childish, as childhood favourites often do. But to my delight it didn't. Sarah was a bit naive at times, which doesn't conflict with the fact that she's a little girl, and the story was as charming as I remembered it.

There's a lot of moral and reproach in the book, but the author manages to keep it lighthearted, and to make you yourself wish to become a better person. This book and 'The secret garden' are much better in that way than 'Little Lord Fauntleroy', which is absolutly awful, and which I haven't even been able to finish. Here, the people are not perfect, but each is good in his own way.

And of course there's the magic transformation of the attic, which I'll always remember, but which has somehow made less of an impression on me this time than it did last.

The only thing which disturbed me was, as another person mentioned here, the hints of orientalism. But you have to remember that that was the way people thought in those times in England. You can compare in to the fact that in the 19th century most of the writers were vaguly antisemetic - you can find it in Dickens, in Verne. So just keep in mind that it was the norm at the time.

Profile Image for Kerri.
989 reviews368 followers
February 10, 2023
'She liked books more than anything else...'

Alongside The Secret Garden, A Little Princess is one of my favourite books. One of those ones where every page seems to resonate completely, and one that I've read so many times that I've lost count. It has never lost its magic.

Sara Crewe is one of the characters I hold most dear, out of all the books I've ever read, she is one of the few that seems to have maintained a permanent residence in my heart and mind. I identified fiercely with her as child, and that feeling remains, even though I am now so much older than her. She is wonderful, dignified, and strange.

I was fascinated with the doll her father gives her early on in the book, Emily, with her custom-made outfits and excessive finery. He is ludicrously wealthy and indulges her absurdly, but Sara is so gracious and aware of the luck of her position in life that it doesn't feel like poor parenting, just the actions of a devoted father with a lot of money to spend! She could so easily be spoiled, but isn't. In many ways she is the serious adult, while he is the excitable child.

I won't detail the plot, but despite knowing it by heart I get completely absorbed by it every time I read. I love everything about it. Sara is a wonderfully good child, but she never feels false.

'Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she 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.'

That quote is probably one of many reasons why she feels like such a kindred spirit to me!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 17, 2021
Sara Crewe is a young pupil at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies and it is clear from the start that she is favored.

Of course she is - she's absolutely loaded. A private room, custom gowns, more toys than what she could ever play with.

The teachers resent her and the other students envy her.

And yet...and yet...Sara is the kindest soul of them all. Always quick to lend a hand or provide guidance or comfort the younger ones.

And (of course) her actions do nothing but stir the pot of hatred from the others.

And then, the worst possible thing happens - Sara's father dies, and with it her fortune. Suddenly the teachers have no problem with being cruel to Sara's face.

And the little princess becomes nothing more than a servant.

But Sara maintains her aura of poise and grace - she will be a princess in riches or rags. And maybe, just maybe, her life will get better.

Oh my gosh. First I read the Secret Garden and I'm blown away. Then I read this one and I'm just in love.

I cannot get over just how wonderful Sara is, the hardships she faced and the true kindness she showed despite it all.

This is such a truly amazing story - I cannot recommend it enough!!
Profile Image for Zeek.
870 reviews149 followers
April 29, 2013
The story begins with little Sara Crewe traveling from the life she’s always known living in India with her beloved Father, Captain Crewe, to be schooled like all proper British girls in London. Her father is loathe to let her go but knows he must for her own good. Almost immediately upon arrival, Sara sees quite clearly with her wise beyond her years insight that Miss Minchin, the proprietor of the school, is not a fair lady, although she hides it well enough. Just as immediately, Sara gets the reputation of being a little princess as her father lavishly buys cloths, dolls and comfortable living quarters. But Sara is not the spoiled child you might think her to be, no- quite the opposite. She could have cared less for all the finery if only to stay with her Papa, but of course society says otherwise and far too quickly she is left behind.

Miss Minchin doesn’t make it easy for Sara, of course, but because she values Sara’s money, she plays along with Captain Crewe’s desires of spoiling the child- even when Sara unintentionally repeatedly reveals with her calm spirit that she is far more clever than the mean-spirited proprietress of the boarding school. Then, on the very day of Sara’s 11th birthday, news arrive that her father has passed away, and not only that- all of his money is lost as well.

Miss Minchin, feeling as if tricked into covering Sara’s expenses- expenses assured to be covered by the wealthy Captain Crewe- Miss Minchin takes out her wrath on the grieving child and makes her the drudge of the school, a step only slighter higher than the scullery maid Becky, whom Sara has befriended.

For years Sara suffers under the control of Minchin, doing all the tasks the servants don’t want to do, going to bed starving and cold each night.

But, try as she might, Miss Minchin couldn’t bring the clever girl down to the lowered station she thought she deserved to be in. For Sara Crewe was an expert at bolstering herself with imaginations.

When Minchin was at her worst, Sara’s proud spirit pretended she was soldier on a long and weary march. When given nothing but crumbs she shared it with her friend Mechezzidek, the rat who lived in the wall whom Sara pretended had a large family to take care of. No matter how hungry- she gave. She gave stories to a forlorn student whom the other students looked down upon for being fat and stupid and gave unheard of friendship to Becky, a mere scullery maid, who stayed in the room in the attic right next to her. She even gave away a boon she fell upon quite by accident one day while running errands- all because she believed a true Princess, like the one she imagined herself to be, is not one to complain or take things for herself when aid is needed for the populace.

One day the school becomes abuzz with the news that a wealthy man is moving next door and Sara in her clever mind quickly assigns a story to him to entertain herself in the hours after her drudgery is over, to keep her mind off her hunger. Her curiosity is even more aroused when she meets the wealthy man’s native Indian man servant and his pet monkey one evening when the monkey escapes into her attic window.

Ram Dass, the man servant, is struck by the bright child, and from that moment on, watches with silent eyes and ears every kind thing Sara does and eventually brings it to the wealthy man’s attention. Sensing they can help her, The wealthy neighbor and Ram Dass determine to bless the girl who gives so much yet is treated so poorly- Ram Dass because he knows exactly what’s going on, the wealthy man because the child reminds him of another young girl he lost and is desperate to find.

One evening Sara, possibly at her coldest and hungriest, welcomes her friend Ermengarde into her room. Ermengarde finally realizing how the kindest person in her world is being treated, promptly decides to share a basket sent to her from home, stuffed with treats and food. Delighted Sara arranges the room as a secret surprise for Ermengarde and Becky, while Ermengarde leaves to retrieve the food. When the girls gather together, Sara transports the little group as if by magic to a grand ballroom prepared for a feast, all the while staying in their drab little room. It’s a wondrous time for all the girls, trying with all the might to imagine the beautiful room right along with Sara.

Of course the evil Miss Minchin ruins it.

But perhaps she wouldn’t have been so adamant in putting the little princess in her place if she knew that her actions would become the catalyst for Sara to be blessed beyond her own very vivid imagination.

I would have loved this story as a kid, but I love it even more now. I’ve always loved a heroine I can root for and a villain I can despise- and this story delivers them! Sara is exactly the kind of girl I admired growing up and one I longed to be. Clever, pretty, just a bit odd but oh so noble. Yeah I never quite attained such nobility nor cleverness and prettiness, but I wanted to and that’s saying something I guess. :)

I was totally engaged while listening to this story and I cant wait to share it with my nieces! I highly recommend it as an entertaining read but also as a good reminder for every child- if we imagine ourselves as noble princesses- even even though the world sees us as beggars- one day we may become one… in spirit if not in truth!
Profile Image for emma.
198 reviews146 followers
February 5, 2023
natural when reading children’s stories as an adult but still the cause of such wonderment is the comfort a story such as a little princess creates thanks to the whimsical feel of the prose of frances hodgson burnett in this rags-to-riches, princess to pauper tale.

encapsulating a childhood many of us will understand on some level, and if not can conjure up such an experience easily, where our titular character, sara crewe, remains brave and resilient throughout the many hardships she faces, is a story that would inspire anyone, especially the children it is intended for, making for a truly delightful read at any age.

“she liked books more than anything else, and was, in fact, always inventing stories of beautiful things, and telling them to herself.”

- 4.5 stars!
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