After all these years, still one of my favorite books. Essentially a fairy tale, Sara's story sees her lose her father and fortune, leaving her in the cruel hands of Mrs. Minchin and her boarding school for girls. Worthy of a Dickens villain, Minchin turns Sara into a virtual slave to the other girls and sticks her in a cold attic, where her imagination, the friendship of a few girls, her own goodness, and the kindness of an exotic stranger next door help sustain her every day. I first encountered this story in the immortal 1986 Wonderworks miniseries, still one of my favorites. The Disney version is fine on its own but changes too much and tacks on a happier ending. It doesn't capture the essential sadness of the story which gives it its sharp corners as does its hints of Victorian snobbery.