cover image Goose Chase

Goose Chase

Patrice Kindl. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-618-03377-5

Kindl (Owl in Love) once again takes flight, this time proffering an engaging gaggle of a dozen geese and the orphaned Goose Girl who tends them. Eschewing a ""once upon a time"" opening, the spunky narrator sets the novel's tone: ""What do I care for custom? 'Tis my own story I am telling and I will tell it as I please."" Goose Girl addresses the audience from the high tower in which she is trapped by a king and prince (from dueling kingdoms), both of whom covet her hand, her golden tresses (which yield gold dust) and her tears (which turn to diamonds), not to mention her beauty the latter three were gifts from a mysterious old woman to whom the girl showed some kindness. Luckily, her 12 charges evade the royals and organize their keeper's rescue. Kindl draws on a wealth of fairy tale lore to describe what follows. The geese deposit Goose Girl in a dilapidated cottage, where a trio of ogresses reside and promptly take her captive; the prince tracks her down, and Baba Yaga fans will recognize a few of the heroine's tricks that help her escape. Next, Goose Girl and the prince are cast into a dungeon belonging to an ally of the aforementioned king (that initial high tower of entrapment is not the only reference to Rapunzel Goose Girl's hair here comes to her aid). Those familiar with the Brothers Grimm's ""The Six Swans"" may not be surprised by the ending, but it's how Kindl gets there, tying up all loose ends along the way, that will hold readers' attention. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)