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Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Reviewed by Nancy Young

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett is the lovable story of an innocent, tender-hearted boy who goes from virtual poverty to the riches of English aristocracy without losing his innocence or his kindness. It is perhaps the least read of Frances Hodgson Burnett's famous triumvirate of children's stories, and yet it readily deserves as much attention as its sisters -- A Little Princess and The Secret Garden.

Burnett's world leans toward the feminine and is somewhat affected, but this is a splendid read-aloud book because those few cloying aspects (such as the many references to his lovelocks) can be quietly omitted by a quick-witted mother –- leaving the book warm and pertinent This is a truly feel-good tale of a young loving widow who trusts her young loving son to his curmudgeonly grandfather's keeping because she believes her Cedric (based on Burnett's own son) will do good with his wealth and position. She is not allowed to live with her son at the family seat, Dorincourt, because her poverty and American citizenry so offended the cold-hearted Earl that he disowned his son at the time of the heir's marriage to her. Even though he takes her son away to fill the now vacant position of Little Lord Fauntleroy, he cannot forgive her marriage to his son, nor can he believe there is much hope in forming the boy into a proper heir.

The grandfather is soon entranced by unaffected, loving Cedric, and finds in him the true son that he had missed in his youth due to his own disinterest and self indulgence. Cedric gradually and very innocently transforms those around him through his innate belief in all goodness and his diligence in enacting it for himself. The story is full of wonderful twists, coincidences, and unexpected heroes. It is a smiling, magical book that celebrates goodness, courage and unselfishness. One should visit Dorincourt regularly.

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett is featured in Vol 6 No 3 of The Storybook Home Journal.

Tags: Vol. 6 No. 3, 2010, Book reviews

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