The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico

The Snow Goose

Written by Paul Gallico

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Radio 4 Open Book listeners recently crowned The Snow Goose 'The book most deserved to be re-read' - the novel by Paul Gallico. It will be dramatised on Radio 4 in 2010

Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award 2009. Breathtaking illustrations capture the haunting magic of this modern classic.

Set in the Essex marshes in the years before the Second World War, it is a touching story of how a young girl rescues a beautiful but wounded snow-goose and takes it to be healed by a reclusive and frightening local figure who lives alone in a remote lighthouse. How the snow goose is restored to health, how Fritha discovers the gentle side of Rhayader and the special magic the goose brings on its annual return, is poetically told. A real gem.


The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico

Philip Rhayader lives alone in an abandoned lighthouse on the desolate Great Marsh of Essex. One afternoon, a hauntingly beautiful child, Fritha, visits Rhayader, bringing with her an injured snow goose. At first, Fritha is scared of Rhayader, with his sinister hump and crooked hand, but he is gentle and kind and Fritha begins to visit regularly.

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What the Kate Greenaway Award judges said:

'The muted tones and painterly style Barrett uses to illustrate this classic tale work wonderfully well throughout, and convey a phenomenal sense of place. She beautifully captures the emotions of the story whilst retaining an element of steel so that her illustrations never descend into sentimentality.'

About the Author

Paul Gallico

Paul William Gallico was born in New York City, on 26th July, 1897. His father was an Italian, and his mother came from Austria; they emigrated to New York in 1895.
He went to school in the public schools of New York, and in 1916 went to Columbia University. He graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree, having lost a year and a half due to World War I. He then worked for the National Board of Motion Picture Review, and after six months took a job as the motion picture critic for the New York Daily News. He was removed from this job as his "reviews were too Smart Alecky", and took refuge in the sports department.

During his stint there, he was sent to cover the training camp of Jack Dempsey, and decided to ask Dempsey if he could spar with him, to get an idea of what it was like to be hit by the world heavyweight champion. The results were spectacular; Gallico was knocked out within two minutes. But he had his story, and from there his sports-writing career never looked back.

He was a first-class fencer, and a keen deep-sea fisherman. He was married four times, and had several children.

He died in Antibes on 15th July, 1976, just short of his 79th birthday.

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Book Info


48 pages
Interest Age: From 5


Paul Gallico
More books by Paul Gallico

Author's Website


Random House Children's Books

Publication date

4th October 2007




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