The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden ★★★☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Children’s Fiction, Classics
Published: 15 June 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Page count: 192 (print)
My Format: ebook via NetGalley
Cover: Beautiful
Pacing: Good
Ending: Good  
Do I Recommend: Yes
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel

My rating: ★★☆☆

Green-growing secrets and magic await you at Misselthwaite Manor, now reimagined in this graphic novel adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale.

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at a secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. First, there’s Martha Sowerby: the too-cheery maid with bothersome questions who seems out of place in the dreary manor. Then there’s the elusive Uncle Craven, Mary’s only remaining family—whom she’s not permitted to see. And finally, there are the mysteries that seem to haunt the run-down place: rumors of a lost garden with a tragic past, and a midnight wail that echoes across the moors at night. 

As Mary begins to explore this new world alongside her ragtag companions—a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals—she learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.

My Thoughts
I was pleasantly surprised to find a graphic novel version of this story. Here are my pros and cons for The Secret Garden:


  1. This is a great introduction to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The graphic novel format may appeal to children who aren’t interested in reading novels yet.
  2. The story is heavy on illustrations and light on words, which may be attractive to reluctant readers (see Con 3).
  3. There is a glossary at the end of the book!!


  1. The imagery is nice and appropriate for a graphic novel. However, I wish the faces had been illustrated more realistically. Single lines and dots were used to depict facial features and expressions and it made the characters feel cartoonish. I understand this is a graphic novel, but the rest of the imagery is so nice that the simplistic humans felt a bit distracting to me. Note, however, that the targeted age group probably won’t mind or even notice this.
  2. Since I have read the original novel, I feel like this graphic novel format loses a lot of the depth and detail of the original story. However, the general story is still there, and it is clear what is happening on a basic level.
  3. There were surprisingly few words in this graphic novel, so occasionally the reader must pay attention to the illustrations to make interpretations about what is going on. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but young readers may miss some detail if they aren’t paying attention.

While I think this graphic novel version is missing the depth and detail you get from the original story, I do believe it is a good introduction of this classic to children, particularly reluctant readers. Hopefully it inspires them to read the full story, too.

I also think this would be a nice gift book for fans of the original story or for those who enjoy collecting multiple editions of favorite books.

This book is written for reading ages 8 to 12 years old and is 192 pages long.

Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for a free eARC of this book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.  

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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3 thoughts on “The Secret Garden: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden ★★★☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

  1. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a ‘beloved classic’ and ‘graphic novel’ in the same conversation. You’re right that it might be more geared towards interesting younger readers in the classics.. but this is still so sweet. I’ll have to check it out when I get a chance!
    Great review and thank you so much for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

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