Tasha Tudor. The Tasha version can be hard to find, but I found mine new in a bookstore that sells both new and used books. I know there are other lovely artistic renderings, but I can't imagine not reading this particular version.
I'm going to imagine that everyone in the known world has read this classic masterpiece, but just in case you haven't read it......
Sara Crewe, the heroine of the tale, is left in a boarding school at age seven. Her beloved father is her only parent and unbelievably wealthy, and although she's separated from him, he makes sure that she wants for nothing. In addition to being materially well endowed, she's also kind, clever, and sensitive. She's so caring and sweet to the other students at her school, that she earns the nickname 'a little princess'.
Sadly, a few years later, the daddy dies - and the headmistress of her school (Miss Minchin, who's cruel and mean and wicked and terrible) loses her mind when she realizes that her golden goose student is not going to lay any more eggs. So she strips Sarah of everything she owns and turns her into a servant at the school, forcing her to live with rats in the school attic. Sarah nearly starves, while living in this wretched state.
Through a complicated series of events (here, read this if you want every last detail of the plot), food and lovely furnishings begin appearing, as if by magic, in her attic hovel. It turns out that her daddy's best friend and business partner has been searching for her for years, and this man's personal assistant has befriended Sarah (not knowing who she is) and has decided to make her living circumstances a bit more tolerable. In the end, the daddy's best friend realizes who Sarah is, and takes her in as his own. IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY AND CRY.
It's SO FLIPPING BEAUTIFUL, and through it all, Sarah never loses her hope or her belief that life is best spent being kind to others.
I'm seriously just ready to cry about this whole birthday - the last before double digits begin to happen. My beautiful girl is getting this beautiful book and I love her so much and I love this book so much and OH MY GOODNESS. I don't know what to do with myself. I've lost all coherency so I'm going to wrap up this post. If you're looking for something special to add to your home library, this is it.