Tuesday, July 23, 2019

"The Racketty-Packetty House" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.  Y'all, this is the sweetest book.  I can't believe I'd never heard of it before I picked it up off the shelf at the library, completely at random!  I mean, it's by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  How did this never cross the path of the little girl who memorized whole passages of The Little Princess and pretended she had her own Secret Garden???  I guess our libraries just didn't have it, and book blogs, Bookstagram, Booktube... those weren't things when I was growing up in the dark ages of the 1980s.  So unless the library had a book, or my mom had read it as a kid, or I found it at a yard sale... I would never find that book.

Anyway.  This is a short chapter book, great for like 1st and 2nd grade readers.  The 100th Anniversary Edition I read has beautiful illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin that added so much whimsical joy to every page.  But the story itself is what shines.  

A little girl gets a big, fancy castle-style dollhouse filled with beautiful dolls.  She shoves her old dollhouse, which had been her grandmother's, behind a chair and says she doesn't want it anymore.  This worries the dolls who live in that house, though they can't manage to stay worried about anything for long because they are jolly little people who find joy in the smallest things and know that appearances don't matter, only your love for your fellow people.  But the maid wants to burn their house in the furnace because it's not needed anymore, and the queen of the fairies (who narrates the book and loves those ragged doll-people for their relentless cheerfulness) has to work hard to keep the house and the dolls from getting destroyed.

See?  Utterly charming.  And with such good messages of being cheerful in the face of adversity, lending a helping hand to those in need, being kind to those who have not been kind to you, and looking beneath the surface to find a person's true worth.  There's a LOT packed into this little book!  I've read 300-page adult novels that had less to say.  

Particularly Good Bits: 

If you make a fuss over trouble and put it to bed and nurse it and give it beef tea and gruel, you can never get rid of it (p. 40).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G  Gorgeous, sweet, innocent book.  One of the best books I've read this year.



Although this book is not famous and not long, I am counting it for my Classics Club list because it is worthy of the honor AND it's by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  So this is my 34th book read and reviewed for my second go-'round with the Classics Club!

8 comments:

  1. Oh, my daughter loved this when she was little. She read it over and over. I found it when I was looking for out of copyright books to read on my Kindle. I agree, it is charming.

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    1. Jennifer, I can see why she would love it! Purely delightful.

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  2. My library never offered this Burnett novel when I was growing up, but if they had I think I would have loved it. :)

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    1. Lark, it's a shame it's not very well-known. I'm glad our library here had it, at least!

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  3. Just downloaded this for free on my Kindle! Looking forward to reading it, based on your review :) (And the fact that I enjoy Burnett's writing style.)

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  4. I can't believe it either! It must not have been in the Pigeon library, or we would have snatched it up! I'm glad you got to read it even now, and I will definitely "jump on the bandwagon" of your readers and download it to my kindle immediately!

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    1. Mom, yup, if they'd had it, I'm sure we'd have read it. Did you read it? Did you like it?

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