I never read A Little Princess as a child. I do remember watching both the 1939 Shirley Temple version as well as the 1995 movie version and being mesmerized. I wanted to be a princess. What little girl doesn’t?
I remember this scene from childhood. Brave and strong, Sara Crewe isn’t afraid to say what she believes. After all, all little girls are princesses. Or should be.
A few years ago, I read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett for the first time. Although it was a nice story, I didn’t love it when I read it. Maybe because I never experienced the magic of the story during childhood, it just didn’t do much for me as an adult reader. I felt the same way when I was reading A Little Princess. It was sweet story, and I think if I was 10 or 11, I would have absolutely loved it.
A Little Princess is a Cinderella story.
Sara Crewe is cherished by her father and given all she has ever desired. She was born in India where her father made his living and brought to London to a boarding school at the age of 7. She learns that her father had made bad investments and lost all of his fortune and sadly dies. Left destitute and abandoned, she moves out of her private suite in the school and to the attic. She becomes the drudge of the school- assisting with lessons, running errands, anything Miss Minchin desires.
Throughout her trials and hardship, Sara remained positive. She lived in a dream world where she was a truly a princess. Her stories were loved by the children of the school and her closest friends still found ways to sneak up to the attic. Even when she was starving, she gave away her food to a little girl who was by far more hungry. Her strength is admirable. She remained positive when any other little girl in the same situation would have felt lost and hopeless. In the end, she meets a kind Indian gentleman who lives next door and discovers that he is her father’s friend. She is rescued from Miss Minchin’s school and lives happily ever after.
It’s a riches-to rags-to riches again story.
In the end, A Little Princess is a classic children’s story and I am sure it will remain so for as long as little girls dream of being princesses. Sara Crewe is delightful heroine and you can’t help but side with her against the mean Miss Minchin or the weak and sad Miss Amelia. I couldn’t help feeling so happy when Sara finally gets her own happy ending.
Do you have a favorite children’s novel? Is there a novel you loved as child that you still love as an adult? Or is there a children’s novel you discovered as an adult that you wish you had read as a child?