-Frances Hodgson Burnett-
Sara Crewe has lived with her father in India all of her short life, but now she has to go to a boarding school in England. At the boarding school, she is treated like a princess; she even has her own maid and sitting room. She has all sorts of friends, including Becky, the scullery maid. Sara has tea parties for the little ones in her room, and tells fascinating stories about her father’s diamond mines to all the pupils. Then tragedy strikes, and Sara is left a penniless orphan. Captain Crewe, Sara’s father, leaves Miss Minchin, the Headmistress, with a rather large unpaid bill. So instead of throwing Sara out on the street, Miss Minchin forces her to earn her keep as an errand girl. Sara is left with three friends who all help make her life bearable. But what helps her most is her imagination; she pretends she is a prisoner in the Bastille or a princess in disguise. She always tries to act as a princess, being polite and kind to everyone, including those who treat her badly. Mr. Carrisford moves into the house next to the school. He becomes very interested in Sara and sends her gifts because she reminds him of the girl he is looking for, the daughter of his late friend.
I love this book; it was my favourite book for years. I love the way Sara’s imagination helps her make it through the hard times. I also love that Sara is an avid storyteller. My favourite part of the story was when Sara lives in the attic and is an errand girl, because it proves that not every princess has it easy the whole time. I don’t know how many times I’ve read A Little Princess, but I still get totally engrossed in it every time. I currently own, I believe, four copies of the book and three different movies of it.
A Little Princess was first written as the novella Sara Crewe, but at the request of her publisher, Burnett expanded her story. The book has been made into many films; my favourite is the movie released in 1986, I found that it followed the storyline the most. I have also seen the one released in 1939, which features Shirley Temple as Sara; in 1995, which features Liesel Matthews as Sara; and a Veggietales version released in 2012. They were all good, but they all changed the story just a little too much for my liking. There is also a sequel written by Hilary McKay, called Wishing for Tomorrow. I didn’t particularly like it, but that’s probably because I like the first book so much and Sara wasn’t the main character in the sequel; it mostly focuses on what happens to the school.