Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl

Shannon Hale
FIction  Series
FOr ages 12 and up
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003   ISBN: 978-1582348438

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee is the Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she is destined to be a queen. I does not matter that she loves to hear stories, that she can communicate with birds, and that she can talk to a horse. It does not matter that Ani is not interested in becoming the next queen and that she is ill suited to the job. Ani has a duty to perform and she always does her best to do her duty, giving up the things she loves to please her mother. Unfortunately, her mother decides that Ani is so ill suited to be queen of Kilenree that she arranges for Ani to be married to the crown prince of the neighboring land, Bayern. Now that she is sixteen Ani must leave her home to begin her new life in her new kingdom.

With her lady in waiting, some guards, and her beloved horse Falada, Ani sets off on the long journey to Bayern. However, before she gets her lady in waiting, a clever young woman called Selia, reveals her truth nature. Backed by many of the guards, Selia takes over, and one night her guards attack the rest of the party, clearly intending to kill them all. Selia plans on taking Ani’s place as Crown Princess of Kilendree and marrying the prince of Bayern.

Ani flees for her life and begins a new chapter in her story. She now calls herself Isi, and after spending some time in the forest, Ani goes to the capital city where she gets a job working as a goose girl for the king. Ani hopes that she will be able to get close enough to the king to tell him about Selia’s treachery. In the meantime she makes friends with the geese that she tends and with the other young people who take care of the king’s animals.

As she tends the geese and makes friends, Ani gains confidence. She learns that she has another gift, in addition to her ability to communicate with birds. Ani can talk to the wind. The wind guides her, gives her courage, and helps her to find her place in the world. Ultimately, Ani is able to stand up for herself and for what she believes in.

In this magical and powerful tale, Shannon Hale has created a story about an uncertain young woman who discovers what her gifts and strengths are, and who learns how to use them to bring about change in her life and in the lives of others. It would seem that some of us have to be a goose girl before we can become a queen. 

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