But before we check out which edition is the best book-of-the-day, lets make one thing clear. The Secret Garden is a must-have for your home library, regardless of whether your family is blessed with sons or daughters.
It is one thing to have a well-known children's classic in your home library, but quite another thing to have a glorious illustrated edition of the very same classic.
Especially if you want to motivate your kids to read more, if you have a struggling reader or even if you have a tough time reading aloud to your kids.
Beautifully illustrated editions provide more that extra 'oomph' that that will ensure your kids enjoy a magical and unforgettable read-aloud experience. Yet, even if you are lucky enough that your kids adore reading classics, it is always good to strengthen that love by providing them with memorable versions of those stories. This masterpiece of children's literature penned by Francis Hodgson Burnett touches our hearts with the story of orphan Mary Lennox who is sent to live with her Uncle in England after her Ayah in India dies. While living in the huge Misselthwaite Manor with her uncle she gets to know two boys - her bedridden cousin Colin who is bound to a wheelchair and a Yorkshire lad Dickon - who help her bring the forgotten garden back to life. As they breath life into the locked up garden, they also breath life back into the life of Mary's Uncle Archibald Craven who has reduced his life to a miserable existence following the death of his wife. A magnificent story indeed - a story that deserves to be presented to kids in a illustrated format. I've had my fair share of troubles searching for the best illustrated versions of children's classics. Like the time that I almost gave up after spending days looking for a smashing illustrated version of The Adventures of Pinocchio.
And I am happy to offer you the results of my latest treasure hunt for the ideal The Secret Garden.
No, this time around I found three exceptional editions, all of which deserve your attention. Even in a three-way tie for the first spot, there is one book that is just a nose ahead of the others.

You cannot make a mistake with this edition as it will entrance you with its rich and detailed ink and watercolor paintings that abound through the book. The perfect imagery of small animals - from foxes to butterflies, from mice to squirells - that breath life into the garden and the countryside. Inga Moore's fresh, misty-like watercolors give a realistic view of a English garden that is tended with love. Admitedly, a book such as The Secret Garden has many illustrated versions that will be dear to the heart of many readers. If you were to ask me Moore or Tudor illustrations - my personal preference, by a small margin, is Moore. You will see my final ranking at the end of this post, yet I can tell you that Tudor's edition clearly does get my thumbs up. Yes, this HarperCollins Deluxe edition of The Secret Garden is a fabulous offering as well. I do not remember which version of The Secret Garden I read as a boy, but if it was an illustrated version it could have easily been the Tasha Tudor version.
This edition of the illustrated book will give you that warm feeling around the heart, which is such a rare quality. Maybe the reason why I didn't put this edition at the very top of my own personal top list is the fact that her picture feel a bit dated.
I list them here as you may make the mistake of ordering a Sterling Classic version of The Secret Garden, under the impression that you are getting a richly illustrated book.
The illustrations in these editions are sparse and minimalist, they simply do not pass our test. Leafing through this edition of The Secret Garden it becomes evident that Rust has such a sensibility for the theme - his feeling shines through each and every of his pictures.
I love it when I can find and recommend exceptional illustrated editions of a well-known and well-loved classic such as The Secret Garden. To sum up, my opinion is that you will not go wrong if you choose any of the three editions illustrated by Moore, Tudor or Rust.

Of course, it is possible that I may have skipped an edition that you particularly love or enjoy. So, let's not remain sad - I'd love to know about the The Secret Garden edition that you enjoy most, please use the comments section below to tell me! My old college friend Bryan Gibb called me on a quiet June 19th evening and told me that John Rodman had passed into the great outback beyond a few nights before. As I reflected on what I'd learned from Professor Rodman, I did not remember classrooms much.
As I reflected on Professor Rodman's influence on me and his passing, I was moved as I considered impermanence. In the summer of 1988, after too many suffering bastards at a Beacon Hill Chinese restaurant and a midnight trip to Buzzy's roast beef with Ben Pomicter, my new friend, I returned to my room at Kirkland house on the Harvard campus to find another letter from Rodman. Professor Rodman was fond of dark, hoppy, malty micro-brews before microbreweries were popular in the same way he was talking deep ecology before anyone had invented the term. I remember the day I had arranged for Rodman to give my mom, her sister, my father, and his--uninvited--girlfriend a tour of the Arboretum before my graduation ceremony. Professor Rodman once told me that his favorite common name was for a prairie flower in the parsley family called "Rattlesnake-Master, Eryngoes yuccifolium.
Unabridged (Not a synthesized, easy reader, learn-to-read, edited or watered-down version). The illustrations, layout, fonts, covers and presentation must capture a reader's imagination. This modestly priced version of The Secret Garden seems to have everything going for it, at face value.

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