Gardiner also published some children’s books. Her 1806 book, An Excursion from London to Dover, is explained by its subtitle: “Containing some account of the Manufactures, Natural and Artificial Curiosities, History and Antiquities of the Towns and Villages. Interspersed with Historical and Biographical Anecdotes, Natural History, Poetical Extracts, and Tales. Particularly Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of Youth.”
The book is narrated by Jeanette, who is travelling with her friend Adelina and Adelina's father Mr. A____. It’s like an 1806 version of The Magic Schoolbus but without the magic.
All of this improving information is roughly tied to something approaching a plot, in which Mr. A_____ encounters several old school-mates or acquaintances on the journey. These additional adults give impromptu lectures to the children, speaking off-the-cuff about everything from the development of paper to to the anatomy of the snail. Adelina and Jeanette also recite poems from memory, whether the topic under discussion is the ocean, hedgehogs, spiders, war, clouds, cuckoos, etc, and Jeanette has perfect recall of the biographies of eminent rulers, scientists, and statesmen. Gardiner also works in some short moral tales and a backstory or two.
Writing after her mother’s death, Jane Gardiner’s daughter said of An Excursion: “Though this work does not possess much originality of thought, the reviewers allowed it to evince sound judgment, great taste, and an earnest desire to promote the improvement of the rising generation.”
“Originality of thought,” is a euphemism for the fact that most of the book was what we today would call plagiarized.