Anne of Green Gables

 
(i)

 

Beloved classic features lovable, imaginative heroine.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn about day-to-day life in late-1800s Canada, from cooking and cleaning tasks to farm chores. There are also worthwhile lessons about friendship, honesty, and family.

Positive messages

The book celebrates imagination, creativity, friendship, community, and embracing family wherever you happen to find it. Characters learn lessons from their mistakes, and Anne, especially, tries to improve herself when her flaws are pointed out.

Positive role models

Anne is the poster girl for learning from your mistakes -- her impulsiveness and enthusiasm lead her into scrapes of all kinds, but she usually means well and is quick (in most cases) to make amends, though she can also hold a grudge. She's also smart, imaginative, independent, hardworking, and creative; in other words, an excellent role model for girls. Marilla and Matthew are loving (if not demonstrative) caregivers, and they parent Anne the best way they know how.

Violence

A few episodes find Anne lashing out in anger or stuck in mildly perilous situations -- walking atop a roof, for instance, or floating in a leaky boat -- but there's no real violence or danger. A key character's death is very sad. References to spanking and some corporal punishment in school, which was accurate for the time period. Anne enjoys tragic tales of woe and imagines many of them.

Sex

Very mild flirting between some characters, and talk of "beaux" (aka boyfriends). A teacher pays special attention to one of his teen students (which is less scandalous in Anne's time than it would be today but is still a little eyebrow-raising).

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Anne accidentally gets Diana drunk during a tea party due to a bottle mix-up.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic 1908 children's novel by L.M. Montomgery remains a perennial favorite thanks to its memorable heroine: irrepressible red-headed orphan Anne Shirley. Anne's adventures are full of amusing (and occasionally mildly dangerous) scrapes, but she's quick to learn from her mistakes and usually has only the best of intentions. Although Anne gets her best friend drunk in one episode (it's an honest mistake), there's very little here that's at all iffy for kids -- though younger readers might get a bit bogged down in the many descriptions of Anne's Prince Edward Island, Canada, home. A sad death may hit some kids hard, but the book's messages about the importance of love, friendship, family, and ambition are worth it.

What's the story?

When aging siblings Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert of Avonlea, a small town in Canada's maritime province of Prince Edward Island, decide to adopt an orphan boy to help with their farm, they never expect to get talkative 11-year-old redhead Anne Shirley instead. Anne's arrival at Green Gables immediately stirs up the Cuthberts' predictable, even-keeled lives -- and before long, they're so attached to her that they can't bring themselves to send her back to the orphan asylum after all. With her vivid imagination, mile-a-minute chatter, and impulsive, love-starved heart, Anne has an impact on everyone she meets in Avonlea, from busybody Rachel Lynde to \"bosom friend\" Diana Barry to handsome Gilbert Blythe, the boy who dares to call Anne \"Carrots.\"

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

More than a century after she first beguiled readers, Anne Shirley is still one of the most beloved characters in children's literature -- and for good reason. You can't help but be charmed by her mix of chatter, imagination, fierce loyalty, and enthusiasm. Her tendency for the dramatic -- both the dizzying heights of joy and the depths of despair -- makes her relatable and sympathetic, and her ability to see beauty in everything is inspiring.

Montgomery's knack for creating memorable characters and realistic dialogue makes ANNE OF GREEN GABLES extremely readable, though reluctant readers (or younger kids in general) may balk at her many descriptions of Prince Edward Island's natural splendors. Those who are ready for Anne's adventures, though, will find her a delightful companion -- and will be excited to follow her through the book's multiple sequels.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a book a classic. Are all old books automatically "classics"? Why do you think this particular story stands the test of time?

  • Do you consider Anne a role model? Is she like any kids you know in real life? How do you think she'd be different if the book were written today?

  • Why is imagination so important to Anne? What sets her apart from the other Avonlea children?

Book details

Author:L.M. Montgomery
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Bantam Books
Publication date:June 1, 1908
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:7 - 12
Read alone:8 - 12

This review of Anne of Green Gables was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Faithful, sensitive take on classic novel is great for kids.
  • Classic story of the power of positive thinking.
  • Classic still charms despite outdated gender roles.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byGreysonGirl98 October 18, 2011
 

1st few are good, stay away from the rest.

Anne is in her best form in this book. She is spunky and a dreamer and you just wish you knew her. The second and third books are just as good. However, as this series continues, it deteriorates drastically. The later books center more around other, less likable characters and are not cohesive within themselves, more like short stories. Stick with the first few.
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebma97 October 18, 2011
 

A classic book

This book was really good. I like Anne's character-she's always so full of life. Matthew's sweet, and even though Marilla can be harsh at times, she really does care about Anne. There is some minor violence, like when Anne plays a truth-or-dare game and has to walk along a rooftop and ends up breaking her leg. Also, a boy flirts with Anne and she likes him but she refuses to admit it. At one point, Anne accidentally gets her friend drunk (she was trying to get her some tea but got the wrong bottle). But Anne of Green Gables is okay for tweens, and it's a classic story.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bynovember27 January 12, 2012
 

best book ever

I am a huge Anne fan I have all 8 books and all dvds. I loved the first 3 books but I have to say the 4th, 5th and 6th especially don't seem like the Anne we first meet. I wish more was said about Marilla, Davy, Dora , Diana and Mrs Lynde as the series went on but that is not the case. I have read my books to pieces. If anyone is having doubts about this book i would 100% recommend it. It is one of the best books ever.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass