Anne of Green Gables

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 11 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySherlockian February 1, 2014

Great for all ages!

This is a children's book but I read it, and its sequels a little later, when I was 15-17 and I must say it still had all the charm. It is incredibly well... Continue reading
Adult Written byErica K. October 1, 2015

Anne of Green Gables

Valuable lessons learned in this book. Anne learns to become the greatest person she could be.She was very lucky to have many great role models. Despite her cra... Continue reading
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 thi... Continue reading
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,... 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

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