Posts Tagged ‘The Goose Girl’
What a lovely and lyrical retelling of the old Grimm’sin this fantasy book for middle school readers! I remember the story well from childhood, especially the spell that the goose girl casts to get rid of the boy who tends the geese:
O wind, blow Conrad’s hat away
And make him chase it as it flies
I with my golden hair will play
And bind it up in seemly wise
The spell doesn’t appear in Hale’s version of, but Ani, the princess turned goose girl, does have a way with the wind.
The story begins as manys do, with a birth. As soon as Princess Ani can talk, her aunt secretly teaches her how to talk with the swans in the nearby lake. It’s a talent that will serve her well later when she becomes a goose girl. Most of the time, though, she’s learning how to be a queen, a difficult task because she’s sadly lacking in confidence.
After Ani’s sixteenth birthday, her mother tells her that instead of becoming queen, she must marry the prince of a neighboring country. Soon Ani, her lady-in-waiting, and a number of palace guards set off through the forest. After weeks of journeying, Ani learns of a plot against her and barely escapes with her life. She travels to the neighboring country on her own and ends up working as a goose girl. She passes through many trials and dangers before she finds the strength to claim her rightful place as the princess.
I felt immersed in the delicate, magical, and poetic writing style of this fantasy book for middle school readers (as well as teens and adults), and read compulsively as the memorable and complex characters clashed in a gripping story. A wonderful read by, who has written several other books set in the kingdom of Bayern, where Ani lives.
Reading level: Ten and up, although the pace may seem a bit slow to younger readers. A romance unfolds, but it is perfectly chaste.