I was prepared to not like this book. But I did like it.
I loved the Little Princess as a child. I bought the book in my elementary school gymnasium at an end of year book fair and read it multiple times over the following summer. Sequels to books whose authors have passed from the world seem unnecessary. For me, Harriet did not need to spy again and Scarlett need only be Gone with the Wind.
But McKay noticed that Frances Hodgson Burnett left her cast of supporting characters to uncertain futures. This book is the story of what happens in Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Girls after Sara Crewe has recovered her fortune in diamonds and gone. Ermengarde, Sara’s best friend, has been left behind and is a bit lost. Lavinia rises to lead the school girls again without Sara and the little girl Lottie is up to all kinds of mischief without Sara to keep her in check. Miss Minchin herself is haunted by Sara’s time in her school.
McKay creates a place where the magic of the Little Princess and her spirit haunt the halls. McKay does great honor to the original book and gives the reader a chance to see the girls of Miss Minchin’s find their way without Sara. She adds in a few new magical characters. The world of the school gets a new neighbor boy and a new maid to take the place of Becky. There’s also a great disaster, but it’s in the small things that McKay’s work really shines. Unlike the original, when this one ended I could not imagine wanting any more. Thank you for continuing this story, Ms. McKay. 273p., 2010.