The Goose Girl (novel)

The Goose Girl (novel)

Infobox Book |
name = The Goose Girl

image_caption =
author = Shannon Hale
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Fantasy novel
publisher = Bloomsbury Press
pub_date = August 8, 2003
english_pub_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 158234843X
oclc = 51042139
preceded_by = none
followed_by = Enna Burning

"The Goose Girl" is a fantasy novel by Shannon Hale based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same title. The book won the 2003 Josette Frank Award for youth fiction.

Plot summary

The novel begins with Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee of Kildenree, or Ani, who has not opened her eyes for three days since birth, a particular significance. Not until the arrival of the Queen's sister does the baby open her eyes. From this her aunt becomes Ani's nursemaid, teaching her many things including bird-speak. Ani proves to be a fast learner and speaks early on, eager to learn.

At about the age of five, Ani and her aunt sit outside while the latter explains the three kinds of people and the gifts they have: People speaking, Animal speaking and Nature Speaking. She further explains that the queen has the power of people speaking, because it is always easy for the queen to persuade people and be sociable. The aunt also explains that she has the gift of animal speaking, but those who can speak to nature are almost unheard of now. The aunt puts particular emphasis on these for Ani to always keep in mind. No sooner than her aunt told her this, when key-mistress and her daughter Selia walk by and invite Ani to come over for tea sometime. Her aunt then warned her that, “That one has the gift of people-speaking. It can be powerful. Mark me and watch her”. Soon after, the aunt announced her return home in the wilderness. After her aunt left, Ani got a new nursemaid who discovered Ani’s ability to converse with animals, and informed the queen. Consequently, Ani was not allowed near live animals for fear of strange behavior. The queen slapped told her daughter that no one wanted a queen who, “makes up stories and seems to talk to wild beasts”, when her judgment was questioned. Sometime after this, Ani is informed of her aunt's death.

Now in her teen years, Ani is preparing to be queen, attending tea with the key-mistress. Selia is now her lady in waiting and close friend. While out riding, the king of Kildenree is heavily injured, and dies peacefully within a few days. At the funeral, Ani is shocked to hear that her younger brother is Crown Prince! Her mother takes her aside, explaining how she made arrangements without the King's consent for her betrothal to the Crown Prince of Bayern, a neighboring kingdom of Kildenree.

Ani is ready to make the journey to Bayern accompanied by a band of guards and Selia. Upon her departure, everyone in the palace come for farewell and her mother gives her a handkerchief with three drops of her blood, a golden tiara adorned with three rubies, and a goblet for water. Each have their own symbolism for protection, etc.

The beginning of this journey starts out well, until several troubling incidents occur. Selia unsuccessfully hides her hostility for Ani when the definition of rank is shown. Ani also notices something odd between Selia and the guard Ungolad. One hot afternoon, mutiny takes place when the majority of the guards side the treason-bent Selia, who decides to replace herself as Princess Anidori and kill the real Ani instead. Ani witnesses most of this while drinking water, and is forced to flee, leaving behind her horse Falada.

A few days later she goes with Finn who is the son of Gilsa whom she had stayed at her cottage. When the get to the city she gets a job to look after the kings geese. She saves one of them and forms a friendship with a goose. She tells one of the forest girls, Enna, her secret how she is the princess. She meets a boy named Geric who says he is a guard to the prince. She sees the royal family and yet again narrowly escapes. She goes back to Gilsa and Finn and finds out that one of her guards, Talone, survived. They form a band of the caretakers of the King’s animals. She goes to save her kingdom from war by going to the army camped outside the borders of Kildenree. She convinces the guards that she is the younger sister of the queen. Ani reveals her true self to the King and he doesn’t believe her. He leaves and Ani is left with her murderous captors. As they take another attempt on her life, the King, Prince, and guards come out from behind the tapestry, knowing the whole truth about all that had happened. Selia is furious and her henchmen make a third try on her life. Ani deflects it with her wind and Geric (who is revealed to be the oldest prince) steps in to protect her. The rest of Ani’s bodyguards come in and fight the traitor- Kildenrees. The traitors fall and Selia attempts an escape and Conrad catches her and they send her away. The next day, the King calls in Ani and she must prove that Kildenree wants no war with Bayern. Ani goes on to tell them of all the terrible things that Bayern is doing without the King’s knowledge. She leaves and Geric finds her in the kitchen awhile after she had cooled off. They explain what had been going through their minds during the whole epidemic and Geric confesses his love for Ani. She then agrees to marry him. Geric then poses a concern about the geese and Ani tells him about the wonderful things the geese could do for them, such as, “ [Sticking] hats on them and [letting] them receive some of [their] supplicants.”(Hale 379) Ani’s friends are then made into honorary javelin-bearers, which means they are now officially Bayern. In the end, Ani marries Geric and they live happily ever after.

Literary significance and reception

Awards and nominations

* 2003 Josette Frank Award for fiction [cite web
title = Past Award Winners (1943-2006)
publisher = The Children's Book Committee Bank Street College of Education
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-14
* One of the New York City Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
* 2003 Utah Children's Book Award [cite web
title = Utah Center for the Book
publisher = Salt Lake City Public Library
date = 2003
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-14
* 2003 Utah Speculative Fiction Award
* Finalist for the Mythopoeic Award [cite web
title = Nominees for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
publisher = The Mythopoeic Society
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-14
* 2004 Humpty Dumpty Chapter Book Award given by the Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association
* 2005 Beehive Award Nominee [cite web
title = Beehive Award Nominees 2004-2005
publisher = Children's Literature Association of Utah
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-14
* 2006 Great Lakes Great Books finalist


Publication history

*2003, USA, Bloomsbury Children's Books, ISBN 158234843X, Pub date 08 August 2003, Hardback
*2003, UK, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, ISBN 0747564191, Pub date 3 November 2003, Hardback
*2005, USA, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, ISBN 0747571236, Pub date 03 January 2005, Paperback
*2005, USA, Full Cast Audio, ISBN 1932076727, Audiobook


External links

* [ Books: The Goose Girl] on the author's official website

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