A stunning new edition of a beloved children’s classic.
On the desolate Essex marshes, a young girl, Fritha, comes to seek help from Philip Rhayader, a recluse who lives in an abandoned lighthouse. She carries in her arms a wounded snow goose that has been storm-tossed across the Atlantic from Canada. Fritha is frightened of Rhayader, but he is gentler than his appearance suggests and nurses the goose back to health. Over the following months and years, Fritha visits the lighthouse when the snow goose is there. And every summer, when it flies away, Thayader is left alone once more.
The Snow Goose is set in the years running up to the evacuation of Dunkirk in the Second World War. Originally published in 1940 in the Saturday Evening Post, it was brought out in book form the following year by Knopf, Michael Joseph and M&S simultaneously. It won the prestigious O Henry prize that same year and has been continually in print ever since. The Snow Goose has inspired a number of musical scores and albums, has been made into two feature films and moved generations of readers. A new feature film will be released in the coming year.
Beautifully written, with a powerful ending, and breathtakingly illustrated, this is an exquisite edition of Gallico’s masterpiece.
The original story used for this picture book was published in late 1940 after the Battle of Dunkirk. It is the story of Philip Rhayader, a painter who has become a recluse because of his unwillingness to endure the taunts and pity of the townspeople due to his hunched back. However, when twelve-year-old Frith brings a wounded Canadian snow goose to Philip, it is the beginning of a gentle friendship as the little girl watches the lonely man nurse the goose they call the Princesse back to health. Eventually, the Princesse leaves, only to return to make her home permanently by Philip's lighthouse. So, too, does Frith return to the lighthouse, eventually realizing, as does Philip, that they love each other. However, before they can profess their feelings, the Battle of Dunkirk erupts. Any man who can sail a vessel is asked to sail to the Channel and save as many of the stranded and injured British soldiers as he can. Philip leaves with the Princesse flying behind him, and the two become a story of hope among the soldiers. The illustrations that accompany this version of the story are beautiful in their simplicity; using pencil, graphite, watercolor, and gouache, the artist creates a vivid picture of the characters and the battle scenes. This is one of those great matches between story and art. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.