The Goose Girl is Shannon Hale's debut novel. Published in 2003 and winner of the 2003 Josette Frank Award for youth fiction, it centers on the life of Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. It is inspired by the fairy tale by the same name, and is book one of The Books of Bayern series.
For a chapter-by-chapter summary, see the Books of Bayern wiki's article.
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.
In the summer of 1999, Shannon Hale and her friend challenged each other to write a book before the semester began. Not knowing where to begin, Hale took inspiration from Robin McKinley's Beauty, and decides to write her novel based on her favorite fairy tale, The Goose Girl.
Hale says: "When I was a kid, my sisters and I spent many hours with my mom’s mammoth book of fairytales. 'Cinderella' was the initial favorite on the basis of ball gowns. But despite lack of fancy gowns, 'The Goose Girl,' by the Brothers Grimm, soon moved into the lead. We were completely captivated by the story alone. Even though it was my favorite, its strangeness and brevity always left me wanting more. Why did the princess let her lady-in-waiting steal her identity? How did she learn to command the wind? And what about the prince? I thought the story fairly begged to be written into a longer work. I'm thrilled that now, some three years later, it is."
She had to toss her initial 80 pages of The Goose Girl, and set aside the project to work on other things. She spent some time thinking more about the outline and even wrote it into a short story, and a year later she returned to the project. She says, "I estimate that I lugged my way through 30 total drafts of the book."
She finally completed the novel in 2001, and it was published by Bloomsbury in 2003.
- An ALA Teens' Top Ten
- 2003 Josette Frank Award for fiction
- Selected by Justine Picardie of The Telegraph (UK) as her favorite childrens' fantasy novel of the year
- One of the New York City Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
- A Texas Lone Star Book
- 2003 Utah Children’s Book Award
- 2003 Utah Speculative Fiction Award
- Selected for the 2005-2006 Tennessee Book Award Master Reading List
- Finalist for the Mythopoeic Award
- A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003: My Favorite Book of the Year
- Shortlisted for Ottakars Love of Reading Campaign
- 2004 Humpty Dumpty Chapter Book Award given by the Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association
- A 2005 Beehive Award finalist
- A 2006 Great Lakes Great Books finalist
- An ALA 2009 Popular Paperback
- A 2010-2011 Oregon Battle of the Books selection
- A 100 Best-Ever Teen Novel