Under the Covers || A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

WARNING: Contains images of an extremely well-loved book that may cause offence to book lovers who get twitchy if the front cover is slightly scuffed.

A Little Princess is one of my favourite, favourite books. I first read it in primary school when I discovered a copy in the school’s library. And I was hooked. The writing takes you on the most magical and charming of journeys and is just so special.

It was the book that I read the most when I was younger (well, that and Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden) and it will always, always be my ultimate comfort read.

This is my childhood copy.


I KNOW. It’s well-loved. And, actually, I have no idea where the cover went. It fell off when I was about fourteen and it was never to be seen again.

And the back...

I can’t bear to throw it away because look at these gorgeous illustrations by Margery Gill! They’re so beautiful and such a treasure.


So a few weeks ago, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to buy a new copy. So I ordered a second hand copy and, when it came, luckily it was in much better condition than mine… but there was just one thing.




It’s my Book Quest to find a nice version of A Little Princess (with a cover that doesn’t scare the wits from me), one that I can put on my shelf and run my finger across its spine every now and again.

Where on the Shelf?

Um… OK these aren’t actually on a shelf at the moment because I have absolutely no more room. So they’re in a neat pile just next to it. No pictures though because I fear if I get close enough to take a photo… the tower will topple.


What about you? Do you have a favourite childhood book that is so well-thumbed but you don’t dare throw it away? And isn’t that second copy the most frightening cover you’ve ever seen? 

The answer to that is yes. YES. 


More Under the Covers here! 

17 thoughts on “Under the Covers || A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

  1. Oh, I hate it when a good book has an awful cover! I would cover it in some nice wrapping paper, perhaps?
    My own most-read childhood book was Pippi Longstocking. You can see the current state of that here: http://emmawoodcock.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pippilongstocking.jpg
    The cover is all creased and the pages have all come loose. It’s practically unreadable, but I can’t bear to throw it away. I *love* that book.

    Incidentally, I read a thing a while back where Joss Whedon said A Liittle Princess was his favourite book! (can’t remember how reliable the source was though!)
    I read it myself a few years ago, and I remember watching it on TV (sunday teatime, if I recall) as a kid.

    • Ha, I’ve never heard that Joss Whedon said that. That’s brilliant though.

      You know, I’ve never read Pippi Longstocking but that picture <3. I love books that have obviously been read.

  2. LOL at that cover. Seriously Jo, that is not a lifetime keeper with that creepy girl on the front. I know I read A Little Princess when I was younger but I have a DVD with both this movie and The Secret Garden (the 90s versions or early 2000s) and I have watched them both tens of times. I always tear up when Sara is trying to get her father to remember her:(

    And oh my gosh, I am so interested in the fact that Joss Whedon said it was his favorite book! (I am responding to the comment above me:))

  3. That child looks posessed. What were they thinking???
    All my old childhood copies have been given away or lost over the years. Matilda was always the most raggedy looking though :)

  4. Get the Puffin edition with the introduction by Adeline Yen Mah! It’s much more pretty and keeperish. I don’t have any childhood books that are actually falling apart but my copies of The Secret Garden and Harriet the Spy have been pretty well-loved!

  5. Love this Jo :) It’s so cool seeing childhood copies of books – I actually love it when those books are scuffed and showing the wear and tear of love – it’s only when people damage my new books that I get a little screechy ;)

    I’m not sure I still have my original copy of A Little Princess. I think I remember it being a hardcover with some fancy-schmancy end papers that I really didn’t appreciate at the time.

    But yeah, I’m with Flann and Anna on the creepy girl!

  6. Bwahaha, that cover’s TOTALLY CREEPY. I would think it was a horror novel. I adore this book as well though, and my copy of it was actually my mother’s copy when she was a girl, so it’s quite old (a paperback with nice pink color on the outside of the pages) and falling apart as well. My most beloved book is my childhood illustrated copy of Little Women, though it’s the version that never actually gets read because it’s one of the editions where they split the story in half and it doesn’t have any of the grown-up bits in it. Totally love these pics, good luck finding a better version!

  7. I’ve… never read A Little Princess. I KNOW. Noelle’s already shamed me. I love seeing books that are so beloved and well-thumbed that they’re falling apart even though I show my love by keeping it pristine. Like a serial killer. Like the girl on the cover. Don’t be surprised if that book ends up under your bed….


      Haha….I imagine all your books are wrapped in cling film, aren’t they? So no fingerprints are left… like a serial killer.

      Like the girl on the cover.


  8. Did you know there’s an MA course in Children’s Literature, at Reading University? I did that in the 1990s; it was good fun. I wrote an essay about the theme of Wealth in A Little Princess; and another essay about whether Tom’s Midnight Garden idealises the past.

    I first read A Little Princess when I was nearly 15. My English teacher said ALP was “really good stuff, but it is a book for 11-year-olds.” So, did F. H. Burnett actually state anywhere that she had written it exclusively for 11-year-olds?!

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