5 Vintage Heroines From Children’s Classics to Adore as an Adult

secret garden illustration


Mookychick has previously covered how escape to a world of fantasy is a marvellous and healthy endeavour, whether or not you are an adult. In fact, when you’re an adult, there’s a heightened sense of sweetness in delving back into the books of childhood. There are some children’s classics that deserve an annual re-read under a blanket on a sofa. Here are just a few of them – all featuring vintage heroines that showed us in so many ways how a woman can persevere and overcome all obstacles.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

alice in wonderland

To describe this book as “topsy turvy” would be an understatement. The confusing nightmarish world of Wonderland can be both whimsical and terrifying. Alice takes it all in her stride, however, with her curiosity and puzzle solving skills. You’ll need to think like Alice if you want to enjoy this book. You can delve deeper into the possibilities behind the puzzles in Mookychick’s essay on the philosophy of Alice in Wonderland. My advice for readers: Don’t lose your head!

Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank. L. Baum

dorothy wizard of oz

Forget Judy Garland’s movie – this book still has a few surprises for its readers. Dorothy Gale once describes herself as “small and weak” but she finds immense reserves of courage – with some help from newfound friends – to get back home again. She’s resourceful, brave and loving, making her a wonderful heroine to look up to. This story teaches that sometimes what you’re searching for is within you all along.

Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

secret garden book

Mary Lennox seems like an unlikely heroine. She’s spoilt, selfish and uncaring. With the discovery of a secret walled garden within her uncle’s vast estate, she grows as a person learning independence, responsibility and a respect for the healing power of nature. By tending to the plants in the secret garden she nurtures patience and discovers the rewards of hard work. It’s as though nature can heal all wounds, emotionally and physically – and not just for Mary, either. Nature’s healing power seems to spread infectiously throughout the household, resulting in some unexpected miracles. You could say this book has real flower power!

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

charlottes web

This book is an instant cure for arachnophobia, and its beloved heroine is a spider.  Charlotte comes across as a ruthless eight-legged hunter at first but Wilbur soon learns that she is the kindest and most loyal friend a pig can have. Charlotte puts Wilbur, first even before her own wellbeing – right through to the very end. After reading this you’ll never be scared of spiders ever again. Just have tissues nearby. May we all have a friend as wonderful as Charlotte the spider.

The One and Only… Mary Poppins by P.L Travers

mary poppins

There’s no supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in this sweet story. Mary is strict, sniffy, proud and vain – so not quite practically perfect in every way! A force to be reckoned with, she’s nobody’s fool, with a stiff upper lip – and indeed, she is utterly bewitching. Jane and Michael benefit from Mary’s discipline while having magical adventures that make their childhood sweet and nostalgic to the modern reader. This book is very different from the film, so well worth the read.