Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Wishing for Tomorrow Audio

Wishing for Tomorrow Audio

Hilary McKay
For ages 8 to 11
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: JustineEyre
Brilliance Audio , 2010   ISBN: 978-1441812667

A few years ago life at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies was greatly disrupted when a new student, Sara Crewe, joined the school. The only child of a rich and doting father, Sara was given everything that she wanted. Every wish and dream she had was indulged. The strange thing was that all this attention did not make Sara spoiled. Instead, Sara was a kind, generous, smart, and loving girl. Then Sara’s father died and her wealth was gone. She was removed from her place of privilege in the school and turned into a servant, a servant who was overworked and underfed. Despite her unhappiness, and even on the worst of days, Sara always behaved like a “little princess.”

Then Sara’s fortunes turned again. A friend of her father’s found her and adopted her. The fortune that many thought was lost was safe, and Sara was a wealthy once more. Without looking back, Sara left Miss Minchin’s school for good, taking Becky the maid with her. For some, her departure was a relief, but for Ermangarde and Lottie, it was a tragedy.

Now Ermangarde is friendless once more, struggling with her school work and feeling lonelier than ever. Now that Sara is not there to keep her in line, Lottie is behaving in an appalling manner. Miss Minchin is rarely around to impose discipline and order, the new maid, Alice, refuses to be treated like a skivvy, and the whole school is in a state of confusion.

Then a boy called Tristram, his father, and a cat called Bosco move in next door. Lavinia, the “star” pupil at Miss Minchin’s, is inspired to acquire a real education after she talks to Tristram. Perhaps if she works hard enough she will be able to emulate his sisters and go to Oxford. Lottie falls in love with Bosco and she starts bringing him into the school regularly. The little girl also falls under Alice’s spell and insists on learning how to do many of the chores that are Alice’s responsibility. This seems harmless enough, until one morning when something goes horribly wrong.

Many people who have read and loved A Little Princess have wondered “But what happens next? What happens to Ermengarde after Sara leaves?” Now, thanks to Hilary McKay’s story and Brilliance Audio’s recording, listeners can find out. The narrative is touched with humor and poignancy, and it brings the story of Miss Minchin and her students to a highly satisfying close. Justine Eyre’s narration is spirited, and it perfectly captures the old world and magical essence found in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s original book.