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BOOK SUMMARY

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Publisher
: Puffin
Number of pages
: 238

Summary:

Long ago, a young English nobleman married a beautiful American girl, causing a rift between the man and his father. Because of this rift, eight years later, in New York we come across the offspring of this union, young Cedric Errol. Ceddie is a beautiful boy both inside and out. Although he is but seven years old, he is very wise for his years. Shortly before his fatherís death, Ceddie had made a promise to take care of this mother. This he did with such loving kindness, that he soon regarded his mother as his best friend and she returned the sentiment. In fact, he treated all of those around him with the same kindness he had shown his mother, until he won the hearts of the local grocer, the bootblack and all of the servants of his house as well as almost anyone he met.

Soon, though, he learns that he has a grandfather in England who is an earl, and that he must go and learn to be an earl also. Though separated from his mother because of the feud, his love of her and his natural virtues win the heart of his grandfather. Although his grandfather gives him anything he wants, Cedric uses it for the good of others. Because of the example of this young boy, the old man soon learns that money and good breeding do not necessarily make one noble, but that nobility is defined by oneís actions.

Strong points:

  • A little history is given to us in exposing the reader to the English hierarchy in the early 1900ís.
  • Cedric is a good example for any young child to emulate in that he is good and kind and practices virtue.
  • Family is defined by love and trust, not necessarily by good bloodlines.

Cautions:

  • There are paragraphs which may be difficult for the student to read or understand because words are spelled incorrectly (i.e., according to American spelling practices), so as to get a proper pronunciation.
  • Cedric may appear too much of a "sissy" to some readers, certainly to boys in the 5th / 6th grade. However, the majority of 3rd / 4th graders seem to read the book without any problem

Conclusion:

Little Lord Fauntleroy is an enjoyable story. The students will be captivated by young Ceddie and his friends Mr. Hobbs, Dick and Bridget and their adventures. The book also stresses the importance of values such as love, loyalty, and kindness.

Children who have appreciated this classic will want to later read two other works by the same author: The Secret Garden is the wonderful story of a sickly girl who finds a mysterious garden which brings a remarkable change in her life. The Little Princess is a charming tale of an orphan girl living in poverty who finds ways to remain cheerful in spite of adversity. These two books are more suitable for girls.