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Feeling mildly ashamed of myself

The other day, Stella and I popped into Chapters-Indigo to pick up some new books for her. We were looking for some chapter books that she could really sink her teeth into.

So imagine our delight to come across a line of books published as “Wordsworth Classics” that were only $3.99 (!) each. We had to limit ourselves since there were so many great titles to pick from!

Here are the four that we took home: The Swiss Family Robinson, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and Complete Nonsense.


I was feeling like mother extraordinaire and telling Stella how wonderful all of these “classics” are. She then (of course), asked me what makes something a “classic.” I explained that it was a book that was timeless … something that Mommy could have read when she was younger, but that would still be of interest to young kids today. And also, that “classics” are usually something that is considered a really good read.

It was not until after we’d actually gotten home that I realized that, although all of these titles were familiar to me and that I knew the general plot lines, I hadn’t actually READ these books. Gah! How could I get to this point in my life and not have read Alice in Wonderland? Or The Secret Garden?

So, yes, I’m feeling mildly ashamed of myself. (Add to this that I used the word “peaked” instead of “piqued” yesterday in a piece for work … and well geez! How does one even look in the mirror??)

What about you? Have you read these “classics”? Which one would you recommend that I read first?


  1. I love Wordsworth classics!

    I think Stella would love Swiss Family Robinson. I read it when I was young and I still periodically find myself falling into the same daydreams I had when I read that book.

  2. Don’t worry, you can always read them now!
    I read three of the four you picked up when I was younger, but I recently re-read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Since they’re no longer copyright protected, you can read both books for free online. I finished them over a couple of lunch breaks because they’re so quick and fun to read.

  3. Are you planning on reading them yourself? I just loved The Secret Garden as a kid, and I wonder how it holds up for adults.

    I’ve heard that Swiss Family Robinson is awesome…I will have to pick that one up too!

  4. Stefanie says:

    Read and loved the first three- never read Complete Nonsense. But I will soon!! Loved Swiss Family and The Secret Garden. They got reread. Alice was good but not quite as. Lucky Stella to get to discover them for the first time…

  5. i love the Secret Garden and read it with my son a few years ago. he loved it too! how happy we were, when visiting the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park last year, to find a Secret Garden with a beautiful statue of Mary and Puck (hope i got those right) from the story.

    a lovely book, and they made a movie in the last ten years of it, which is also well done.

    enjoy reading it, and explaining some of the “British words/expressions” that your daughter may not understand… there’s quite a few of those!


  6. Hi Julie!
    I’ve read and recently re-read Alice and The Secret Garden but only vaguely recall reading Swiss Family Robinson and have never read the fourth…have recently bought a kindle and am enjoying the prospect of getting back into the classics but am more interested in reading all the periodicals newly available to me after 10years away from N.American newsstands.

    AS for which to read first, I think Alice in Wonderland is timeless, ageless and thoroughly re-readable because there’s always something new to get out of it. I remember that the Secret Garden appealed to escapist tendencies while Swiss Family Robinson was more of an adventure yarn without some of the more grown up horror of say Lord of the Flies…

    Happy reading!

  7. I loved the Secret Garden. I haven’t actually read any of the others. My reading list just got longer. So many books to read, so little time.

  8. I’ve only read 2 of them: Alice and Secret Garden. Both I read because I had to for a university class. I think Stella will like Secret Garden. I remember Alice being a disappointment since I was expecting something similar to the Disney movie and it is NOTHING like that.

  9. I could never get into the Secret Garden as a kid, but I watched the recent movie version with my girls and loved it, so I would like to go back and try the book again. I did love A Little Princess when I was a kid though.
    And this may be very bad to say, but I cannot stand Alice in Wonderland. I shudder when my daughter wants me to read it to her.
    Thinking about classics though, my 6yo was dying to get a new yoyo recently when her old one broke…a classic toy for sure.

  10. I adore The Secret Garden. That’s the only one I read, but I really should read the others. I must have TSG every time the Hallmark movie came on, plus a few other times as well. I haven’t ever seen the more recent theater version of it, but the book is so good with a fabulous message!

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