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The Goose girl

by Shannon Hale


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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In this affecting debut novel, Princess Ani, the shy, sensitive, first-born daughter to the king and queen of Kildenree, embarks on an adventure-filled journey to learn the many lessons that will make her a true queen. With the help of her aunt (the queen's sister), Ani discovers that she was born with the "gift of animal speaking." But her gift frightens others. The narrative's leisurely pace plays up Ani's sense of isolation; at a ball hosted by her parents, for instance, the nurses hold Ani's siblings close and whisper of "men and secret things. Every word they spoke seemed to empty Ani more, like buckets dipped into a shallow well." Considering Ani unworthy of the crown, Ani's newly widowed mother sends her off, at age 17, to be married to the prince of a neighboring kingdom-mainly to keep peace. On the way to "the other side of the mountains," her lady-in-waiting steals her identity and wrests control of the guards so she may enter the kingdom of Bayern as the Kildenree princess. Meanwhile, Ani dodges attempts on her life, is looked after by an older woman in the Forest, and finally makes it to Bayern, to be hired in the palace as a goose girl. Only when she develops humility, a sense of justice, a talent for peacekeeping, an ability to command the wind and the gift of "people speaking" can Ani reclaim her place as the future queen of Bayern. In an attempt to weave all of the elements of the original tale, the novel at times bogs down in detail. But those who enjoy getting lost in an enchanted world will discover here a satisfying and richly embellished retelling of a classic that communicates values still pertinent to contemporary readers. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-9-A magical retelling of the Grimms's fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen. Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, is born with the ability to speak to animals, a gift that is nurtured by her aunt. When the king dies, the queen announces that Ani's younger brother, not the crown princess, will succeed her on the throne. Unbeknownst to anyone, the queen has promised Ani in marriage to the prince of neighboring Bayern. The devastated teen is sent with a retinue over the mountains to Bayem and is betrayed by Selia, her lady-in-waiting, and most of her guards during the journey. Ani escapes, takes the name "Isi," disguises her distinctive blonde hair, and becomes a tender of geese to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim her crown from the imposter, Selia. Ani meets and falls in love with Geric, who is, conveniently, the prince she is to marry. She is able to convince him and the king of her identity, marry, become queen, and stop a war between the kingdoms. This retelling retains many similarities to the original tale, including the gruesome punishment for treason. Hale's retelling is a wonderfully rich one, full of eloquent description and lovely imagery, and with a complex plot, a large cast of characters, and a strong female protagonist. Fans of high fantasy will be delighted with this novel, the first in a planned trilogy, and impatiently await those to follow.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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