UK First Edition
1941 - Michael Joseph

US First Edition
1941 - Knopf

This is without doubt Paul Gallico's most well-known book. It is subtitled A Story of Dunkirk, and it is the story of a lonely hunchbacked artist who lives in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex, and his friendship with a young girl who brings him an injured Canada Snow Goose. It is only a short book - sixty four pages - but it is quite lovely.

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Other information
The story was first published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1940.

The Snow Goose was one of the O. Henry prize winners in 1941.

The story has been the inspiration for music on at least seven occasions.

snowgoose audioThere was also an audio book (which also contained Ludmila and The Small Miracle) on EMI Listen for Pleasure. It was narrated by Sir John Mills, and came out in 1979, and re-released in 1984. It is no longer available, but copies turn up from time to time on eBay.

There was a film made of The Snow Goose by Hallmark and the BBC. (See the FAQ for more information.)

A show called Storm's Child, inspired by the story, was created by Moving World Theatre. It is described as An Exploration in Eurythmy, Dance and Theatre.

There has also been a puppet adaptation of the book by John Harvey and The Puppet Lab in Edinburgh, which toured the UK in 2003.

A book called The Snow Geese has recently been published by William Fiennes; it is a travel book about the Snow Goose and it's migrations. The author was inspired by reading The Snow Goose as a child.

The book is most easily obtainable in Britain as a Penguin paperback, paired with A Small Miracle. If you haven't read either, then go and buy the book - you will not regret it. (Do be careful though - there is also a Penguin book called The Snow Goose and other stories, intended for educational use. It includes simplified versions of The Snow Goose and two other Gallico short stories, along with suggested discussion questions. On the other hand, that copy also includes some nice stills from the BBC/Hallmark film.)

The US edition of the hardback is still in print, and has been continuously in that format for sixty years. The UK edition sold over a million copies. Not surprisingly then, second-hand copies of the hardbacks are reasonably easily and cheaply available. First editions are quite scarce, particularly in England - the book was published in wartime.

Of course, The Snow Goose is really only a short story, and like most good short stories, it has been anthologized. It can be found in a lovely anthology called Read with me by Thomas Costain, published by Doubleday in the mid-sixties - the stories in here are really very good indeed. It can also be found, of course, in the 1941 collection of O. Henry prize winners. Or just get hold of Selected Stories, Confessions of a Story Writer (but not Further Confessions...), Three Stories, Gallico Magic or The Best of Paul Gallico. There is also an extract from the book in Animal Stories, a collection edited by Michael Morpurgo.

Three beautifully illustrated editions of The Snow Goose have been published. The first was published by Michael Joseph in England in 1946. The colour and b/w illustrations are by Peter Scott (now Sir Peter Scott). This is not all that hard to find, especially if you do not want a first edition. This particular edition is also available in a special limited edition of 750 copies, signed by Paul Gallico and Peter Scott. This is very difficult to find - I am the proud possessor of number 3. The second, illustrated by Beth Peck, was published in the States in 1992. It seems to be fairly easy to get hold of a copy - and it is definitely worth having. My copy has a publisher's band around it, saying Celebrating 50 Years (two years late!) and A Classic Illustrated for the First Time. I feel Sir Peter Scott would have something to say about that! The third was recently published by Hutchinson in the UK, and by Knopf in the US. This one is illustrated by Angela Barrett, and is also quite lovely.

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