Anne of Green Gables

Book review by
Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
Anne of Green Gables Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Beloved classic features lovable, imaginative heroine.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

Wondering if Anne of Green Gables is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 5, and 7-year-old Written byChristy4 August 22, 2012

Always a favorite

This was a childhood favorite of mine and I recently read it to my seven year old. She liked it and was able to relate to the many "scrapes" Anne gets... Continue reading
Adult Written byGurtrude_The_Cool January 16, 2019

THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK

This my favorite book! It has great characters I was so sad when I reached the end, it was so interesting! It’s also a very funny book Anne is a great character... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCheeseGirl13 January 19, 2020

LITERALLY THE BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME

This is an amazing book. No swearing, no violence, only one chapter with drugs, when Anne accidentally sends Diana home drunk because of a drink mix-up. However... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLovemybros May 29, 2020

Definitely for little kids!

I know lots of people said it was for older kids, but personally I read this book when I was 8 or 9, and understood it. However, I was a more advanced reader, s... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love classics

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

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

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate