Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Goose Girl Audio

The Goose Girl Audio

Shannon Hale
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (Digital)
Performed/read by: Cynthia Bishop
AudioGo, 2012 

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee is the Crown Princess of Kildenree. 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 Bayern.

   With her lady in waiting, some guards, and her beloved horse Falada, Ani sets off on the long journey to Bayern. Before she gets there however her lady in waiting, a clever young woman called Selia, shows her cards. 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.

   In this magical and powerful retelling of Grimm’s Goose Girl tale, Shannon Hale has created a story about an uncertain young woman who discovers what her gifts and strengths are. She also learns how to use those strengths to bring about changes 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.