By Shannon Hale, published 2003
“It’s important to know stories. I felt the earth shift to make a place for you when you were born, and I came to tell you stories while you are young.”
Just as Ani’s aunt knows the power of story, and passes it to her niece, so author Shannon Hale passes that same power to today’s young readers. In this spellbinding enhancement of the Grimm story of the Goose Girl, Shannon Hale weaves a story that is both dramatic as well as inspirational. The journey of the young princess from her home to a new kingdom, from royalty to poverty, from safety to danger, is so well-written that it was hard to put it down. It crept into my sleep half-way through the book, so I made myself read it during the day.
There’s a rhythm to Hale’s writing that seems to be like a heartbeat…it just keeps going, through all the ups and downs. In addition to the lyrical, rhythmic language, the character of Ani is superb. She is both of this world, and of the world of nature, slowly learning how to have nature as her ally. The evil characters in this children’s book are thoroughly evil, the kind people are thoroughly loyal and kind. It’s a very black and white kind of book in that way, but so are the Grimm brothers after all.
I had hoped this book would be for younger children, but the drama involves some amount of killing that I think is best left for older children. I also would wish that boys would read the book, but it is always so difficult to get them to relate to a heroine rather than a hero. It is worth trying, however, as the male heroes in this young adult/ children’s book are as inspiring as one could hope.
Find this at your local bookstore