Review + Giveaway: A Year in the Secret Garden

I loved The Secret Garden growing up as a child – particularly the movie starring the wonderful Smith. I bought the book at a book fair one year, but have yet to read it. I can watch the movie 100 times and I never tire of it, which is why I signed up to review the beautiful “A Year in the Secret Garden” book.

Title: A Year in the Secret Garden
Author: Valarie Budayr
Publisher: Audrey Press
Release Date: November 2014
Length: 144 pages
Series?: Glimmers #1
Recommended Ages: 5+

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

A-Year-in-the-Secret-Garden-coverAward-winning authors Valarie Budayr andMarilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Gardencharacter, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.

Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

***** Review  of February *****

I attribute my love for plants and gardens to The Secret Garden. When I was younger, I envisioned myself as Mary, surrounded with gorgeous blooms and greenery. As well as that animal Snow White effect. Hey, a girl can dream!

I have grown up, but my love for having a garden has not ceased. In fact, that is one of the primary reasons I want to buy a home…along with having room for a bigger bed, a bigger closet, more rooms and a yard for Baby.

A Year in the Secret Garden is divided into the 12 individual months. Each month focuses on a particular aspect of Mary’s story from The Secret Garden. It is accompanied with dishes, crafts, character studies, planting directions, games and more. It is a rich study in British culture.

I chose to focus on February, as it is my birthday month.

In February, the authors share the recipe for Perfectly Good Porridge with Treacle. The closest thing in the United States we have to treacle is molasses.

I learned how to make a reed flute, which children would make out of dried stalks of oat plants.

My favorite part, though, was the Garden in a Jar. This like the terrarium I created in 5th grade, although the one shown in the book is much prettier than mine was. With a sealed lid this creates an entire ecosystem in a jar, complete with its own water cycle.

An interesting aspect that was included in the month of February was how death was mourned in Victorian England. I have always known that black mourning clothes were taken up to be worn immediately, and that women had a specified period of mourning time for a deceased husband. However, all in the family have a specified full mourning period, and then a half mourning period (during which the mourning clothes tone down from black to gray).

The character study of one of the most mysterious showed up in the February section: the uncle, Archibald Craven. For ten years, he has suffered through a deep depression after losing his wife. He cannot bear to be around Colin, who resembles his mother so much, but returns to Mistlethwait Manor at the behest of a dream to find Colin in good health and the gardens of his late wife restored to their former glory.


These were just the things I discovered in the February section of A Year in the Secret Garden.

Find out what else The Secret Garden contains by visiting the other tour stops:

A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)


November 1

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)

November 2

Cherry Mischievous (Excerpt)

Hope to Read (Excerpt)

November 3

Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)

Enter Here Canada (Excerpt)


November 4

BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)

Books, Babies and Bows (Book Review)

November 5

Monique’s Musings (Book Review)

November 6

SOS-Supply (Book Review)


November 7

Randomly Reading (Book Review)

November 8

Adalinc to Life (Book Review)


November 9

100 Pages a Day (Book Review)

November 10

Edventures With Kids (Book Review)


November 11

Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Book Review)


November 13

Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)

November 14

Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)


November 15

Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)

Purple Monster Coupons (Excerpt)

November 16

Stacking Books (Book Review)


November 17

Oh My Bookness (Book Review)

November 18

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Book Review)


November 19

The Blended Blog (Book Review)

November 20

All Done Monkey (Book Review)

November 21

Geo Librarian (Book Review)

Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)


November 22

My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 23

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Book Review)

My Life, Loves and Passions (Book Review)

November 24

Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)

Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking (Book Review)


November 25

Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)

November 26

Jane Ritz (Book Review)

Rockin’ Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 27

I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (Book Review)


November 28

Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)

November 29

Mommynificent (Book Review)

November 30

This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)

Java John Z’s (Author/Illustrator Interview)

***** About the Author *****

VBheadshot2014-204x300Valarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.

She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***** About the Illustrator*****

mswHeadshot-300x300Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.

She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Find the illustrator: Website | Facebook

***** Giveaway *****

There is a $100 Amazon gift card available in this giveaway!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

5 thoughts on “Review + Giveaway: A Year in the Secret Garden

  1. I’m reviewing the August portion of this book so I wanted to hop around and see what others had to say about other months. It really is a stunningly gorgeous book, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I host a book link-up every Thursday at and would love to have you join anytime!

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