Shannon Hale,
The Goose Girl
(Bloomsbury, 2003)

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee was born crown princess of the kingdom of Kildenree. For the first three days after her birth, she didn't open her eyes, for she had been born with a word on her tongue and she was trying to puzzle out the shape of it. With her magical aunt as her constant companion, Ani learned how to speak to birds almost before she learned how to speak to people. She could speak to her horse Falada, too, and he with her.

But Ani's early, idyllic existence came to an abrupt end when she learned that she was to be sent to the neighboring kingdom of Bayern to wed their crown prince and seal an alliance between the kingdoms. Accompanied by an escort of soldiers and her only friend, her waiting-woman Selia, Ani journeyed into the forest to find her future.

Instead, she found betrayal and murder and arrived in Bayern not as a princess, but as a goose girl. It would take all her talents, all her latent magic and the help of a good many friends before she could claim her rightful place.

The Goose Girl is based on the Grimm fairytale of the same title about a displaced princess and treacherous waiting-woman. Shannon Hale has taken that barebones frame and embroidered a colorful tale of growing up, friendship and learning one's place in the world. This is a charming, magical book, and one that is sure to be read over and over again.

- Rambles
written by Laurie Thayer
published 27 December 2003

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