A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Anne accidentally gets Diana drunk during a tea party due to a bottle mix-up.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.