The Secret Garden eliGreenwich

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The Pleasure of Reading eliGreenwich STAGE 2 B1.1 PREPARING FOR PRELIMINARY FLIP BOOK + AUDIO MP3
Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden

The Greenwich Meridian is the imaginary line that is exactly at 0° longitude: every place on Earth is measured from this line, known as the Prime Meridian. Here, east and west meet.

Just as the Greenwich Meridian is the meeting place between space and time, the eliGreenwich series is the meeting place of all those readers who immerse themselves in different times and spaces in these pages, discovering characters, stories, and real or imaginary worlds. It is a journey that crosses civilizations, seas, and known or unexplored lands, on its ideal route from the North Pole to the South Pole. A journey that is an adventure: the adventure of reading, of losing yourself in the pages of a book.

Welcome to The Secret Garden

Information about the author, the story and the historical period.

Brief descriptions of the main characters.

Pre-reading activities.

A final test to check what you remember.

The text with cultural details, brief summaries and glossary.

A wide variety of activities covering Cambridge Exam Certificates, State exams, 21st Century Skills and 2030 Agenda topics.

A transcript of one of the most important scenes from the story to act out together in class.


Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

Retold by Catrin Morris

Illustrated by Silvia Pertile




Esame di Stato

Costituzione e Cittadinanza

21st Century Skills Agenda 2030

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Sign of the Four

Glossario Drama

E. Gaskell, K. Chopin, K. Mansfield, V. Woolf, E.Wharton Portraits of Women

Robert Louis Stevenson The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales

Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland

Oscar Wilde The Canterville Ghost

H.G. Wells, G. Orwell, E.A. Poe, S.O. Jewett, V. Woolf One Planet, One Goal

Mary Shelley Frankenstein

George Orwell Animal Farm

K. Mansfield, J. Joyce, O. Wilde, R. Tagore, M. Twain Tales of Friendship

Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre

Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray

H.G. Wells The Time Machine

C. Dickens, E. Wharton, E.M. Forster, W. Sibert Cather, J. London Life is a Journey

Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden

William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet

Series Editors Paola Accattoli, Grazia Ancillani

Art Director Daniele Garbuglia

Graphic Design Emilia Coari

Production Manager Francesco Capitano

Photo Credits Shutterstock, Alamy

© 2024 ELi, Gruppo editoriale ELi

Printed in Italy by Tecnostampa - Pigini Group Printing Division, Loreto-Trevi


ISBN 978-88-536-4372-8

6 Dossier 1 Frances Hodgson Burnett: Life and Work 10 Characters 12 Pre-reading Activities 16 Chapter 1 From India to England 22 Activities 26 Chapter 2 Life at Misselthwaite Manor 32 Activities 36 Chapter 3 The Key to the Door 42 Activities 46 Dossier 2 The Edwardian Period 50 Chapter 4 Dickon and the Secret Garden 56 Activities 60 Chapter 5 Archibald and Colin Craven 66 Activities 70 Chapter 6 Colin, Dickon and the Garden 76 Activities 80 Dossier 3 The Secret Garden on Screen 84 Chapter 7 Colin has an Adventure 90 Activities 94 Chapter 8 A New Start 100 Activities 104 Final Test 111 Drama 112 My Book Contents

Frances Hodgson Burnett: Life and Work

Quick facts


Frances Hodgson Burnett

Born: in Manchester, England on November 24th, 1849

Died: in New York, the USA on October 29th,1924

Education: very little, but she developed a love of reading from her grandmother

Key works:

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), The Secret Garden (1911)

As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.
Everything's a story - You are a story - I am a story.

Early life

Frances Hodgson Burnett was the middle of five children, two older brothers and two younger sisters, born to Eliza Boond and Edwin Hodgson. Her father owned an iron foundry*, which her mother continued after his sudden death in 1853.

When the business failed, Eliza Hodgson had to sell everything and move several times, before finally taking the family to live with her brother in Tennessee in the United States. Unfortunately he also lost a lot of money, so couldn’t continue helping his sister’s family.

iron foundry a place where they turn metal into different shapes

After the Industrial Revolution (1760 -1840), Manchester was the centre of the world’s cotton industry. This changed as it became impossible to buy cotton from the southern states during the American Civil War (1861-1864).

Women's magazines published in the USA, the only one still going today is Harper's Bazaar.

Writing career

Always keen on reading and writing, Frances began selling her own stories to different magazines to earn money for her family.

Godey’s Lady’s Book published* her first short story in 1868. Soon after, she started writing for other magazines, including Scribner’s Monthly, Peterson’s Ladies’ Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. By 1869 she earned enough to move the family into a much better home. After her mother’s death in 1870, she continued to look after her brothers and sisters until they married.

Personal life

She married Swan Burnett, a doctor, in September 1873. They had two children, Lionel, and Vivian. Lionel sadly became ill and died when he was only a teenager. The boys gave her the idea for some of her early children’s stories. Frances often travelled between the US and England, as

Little Lord Faulteroy’s long curly hair and clothes copied the way she allowed her boys to dress and look.

publish print and sell copies of sth
Nothing in the world is so strong as a kind heart.

well as to other parts of Europe. Eventually she kept two homes, one in Washington D. C. and one in London. In 1898, Frances divorced Swan and moved back to England, where she lived for the next ten years. In 1900, she married Stephen Townsend, an actor much younger than herself. The marriage was very unhappy and ended two years later.

Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.

Later years and works

Her later books include Sara Crewe (1888), dramatised* as The Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden; both were also written for children. People consider The Lady of Quality (1896) the best of her historical novels. Most of her books have very romantic themes*. In 1893 she published an autobiography*, The One I Knew Best of All. From the middle of the 1890s Frances lived mostly in England, but built a house in Long Island, New York, in 1909. She died there of a heart attack aged 74. She published fifty-two books and thirteen plays. She made and spent a lot of money in her lifetime. She was very generous, yet always worried about money, so she never stopped working hard.

dramatise make into a play or a film theme the subject or the ideas in a piece of writing autobiography a book that you write about your own life




Mary Lennox is a young girl, whose parents die in India, so she goes to live with her uncle in England.


Archibald Craven is Colin’s father and Mary’s uncle.


Colin Craven is a young, sick boy, whose mother is dead and he lives with his father.


Martha Sowerby is a maid*, who looks after Mary and she is Dickon’s sister.

maid a woman who works as a servant in a hotel or private house


Dickon Soweby is a young, country boy who loves nature and animals.


Ben Weatherstaff is the old gardener at Misselthwaite Manor.


Mrs Medlock is the housekeeper* at Misselthwaite Manor.


Susan Sowerby is Martha and Dickon’s mother.


Dr Craven is Colin’s doctor and Archibald Craven’s cousin.

housekeeper a person who cooks, cleans, and looks after a house for its owner

Writing – Predicting

1 What do you know about The Secret Garden?

1 Where do the events of the story happen?

2 Why is it secret?

3 Whose garden is it?

4 What happens there?

5 Who wrote the story and when?

Reading Comprehension – Identifying Characters

2 Complete these sentences with Colin or Mary.

1 was born in India.

2 was born in England.

3 ’s mother was dead.

4 ’s mother and father were dead.

5 was ill.

6 was miserable.

Reading – Gap-Fill

3 Use the words and expressions in the box to help complete the character profiles.

delicate and ill fifteen thirty-five forty-five fresh-faced and smiling ten funny-looking with round eyes good-natured and chatty kind and friendly hair going white and crooked shoulders kind and sensible miserable proud and cross round and pink small and thin ten twelve worried and unhappy

Age: about ___________________ Appearance: ________________ _______________________________________
__________________ _______________________________________ 2
_______________________ Age: about ___________________
________________ _______________________________________
__________________ _______________________________________ 4
_______________________ Age: about Appearance: ________________ _______________________________________
__________________ _______________________________________ 6
Age: about ___________________
________________ _______________________________________
__________________ _______________________________________ ten
Name: _______________________ Age: about ___________________ Appearance: ________________ _______________________________________ Character: __________________ _______________________________________
Name: _______________________ Age:
Appearance: ________________ _______________________________________ Character: __________________ _______________________________________

Vocabulary – Relationships and Jobs

4 What do you know about these characters? Choose the correct words.

1 Ben Weather is a cook / gardener.

2 Mrs Medlock is a governess / housekeeper.

3 Dr Craven is Archibald Craven’s brother / cousin.

4 Martha is Mary’s friend / maid

5 Dickon Sowerby is Martha’s brother / father.

6 Susan Sowerby is Martha and Dickon’s mother / sister.

Vocabulary – Matching

5 Match the words and the pictures. Write the letters in the boxes.

a moor

b porridge

c robin

d skipping rope

e tapestry

f wheelchair

4 5 6 1 3

Vocabulary – Categorising

6 Put these words in the correct group.

candle corridor crow fox key lamb library nursery pipe squirrel spade study

Animals Parts of a house Things _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________

Vocabulary – Guessing Words from Definitions

7 Do the crossword.


2 Have a quick look.

3 Move across or open.

4 Put something in a hole in the ground.

5 The way your face looks when you are cross or worried.


1 Blow out air from your mouth suddenly when you are surprised or in pain.

5 4

2 Make people believe something that is not true.

3 Not stop looking at something or somebody.

4 Move the top part of your body down and to the front.

Creative Thinking

8 Make a list of what you would like to have in your secret garden.

3 1

From India to England


We have a picture of Mary's family life in India.

We understand the sad and lonely life Mary has as a small child.

An Ayah is a kind of servant who often looked after the children of Europeans working in India. Little girls, born to rich parents, usually had teachers who taught them at home.

Mary’s world suddenly changes when she is nine and the servants are all upset or not there.


When Mary Lennox went to live with her uncle, everybody thought she was such a miserable child, and it was true enough. She had a little thin face and body, thin light hair and an unfriendly expression*. Her hair and face were yellow because she was born in India and was always ill. Her father, who worked for the English Government*, was always busy and ill himself. Her mother was very beautiful and only interested in going to parties and having fun. When Mary was born she gave her to an Ayah to look after, telling her to keep her out of her way. All the Indian servants* did everything the ill, ugly, crying little girl wanted, so by six she was very bossy* and selfish. Her first English governess* only stayed for three months as she disliked her so much. When other teachers came, they always went away in an even shorter time. Mary taught herself to read because she really wanted to learn.

One very hot morning when Mary was about nine, she woke feeling very cross. She became even crosser

expression look on your face government a group of people who manage a country servant a person who works in another person’s house maybe as a cleaner or a gardener bossy someone who tells others what to do all the time governess a woman who lives with and teaches children in their home

Chapter 1

when her Ayah did not come to her. There was some mystery in the air that morning. The servants were missing and everything was strange. But no one told her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was in the garden, playing by herself under a tree, when she saw her mother talking to a young man. She looked just as beautiful as ever, but her eyes were not laughing. She looked very scared.

‘Is it so very bad? Oh, is it?’ Mary heard her say.

‘Terrible,’ answered the young man. ‘Why didn’t you leave here two weeks ago?’

‘Oh, I know! I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a fool I was!’ she replied.

At that moment there was the loud sound of someone crying from the servants’ building. Mrs Lennox caught the young man’s arm, and asked, ‘What is it? What is it?’

‘Someone died,’ answered the officer. ‘You did not say that your servants were ill!’

‘I did not know!’ said Mary’s mother and they ran into the house.

After that worse things happened. Mary’s Ayah died of cholera*, and the other servants either became ill or ran away. Mary was too scared to leave the nursery* and everybody forgot about her. She just slept and cried for hours.

This makes the reader understand the type of person Mrs Lennox is at the same time as she does.

cholera an illness you get from unclean food and water, which can kill nursery a room in a house for young children

Mary begins to understand that people are ill and dying in the house and she feels scared and lonely.

17 Chapter 1 From India to England

Mary only leaves her room to look for food.

The snake‘s eyes are almost like a camera watching her. Saying one thing is like another in this way is called a simile.

After she wakes up, she finds strange men in the house.

The officers who come to the Lennox house talk about Mary and her mother being dead.

Finally, she got so hungry that she went into the dining room, ate some fruit and biscuits and drank some wine. Then she fell asleep again for a long time.

When she woke the house was perfectly silent. As she could hear nothing, she thought maybe everybody was well again and the cholera over. But why did nobody come to look for her? Only a little snake moved across the floor, watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not afraid as it was not dangerous.

The next minute, she heard some men enter the house, talking in low voices.

No one went to meet or speak to them as they opened doors and looked into rooms.

‘Such a terrible situation!’ she heard one voice say. ‘That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too.

I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.’

Mary was sitting in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few

A little snake watched her with its eyes like jewels.
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