The 18 Penny Goose


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Plot Summary

In 1778, Letty Wright, 8, and her family — Pa, Ma, John and baby Sarah — have to leave their farm because British soldiers are headed toward them. They can hear the guns from a nearby battle in their War for Independence. The British soldiers will be hungry and angry with colonists who aren’t loyal to England.

Ma and Pa pack what they can in their wagon and tie the cows behind the wagon. There is no room for Letty’s geese. Letty had raised Solomon, the gander, from when it was hatched. She writes a letter to the British soldiers. She asks them not to hurt her geese, especially Solomon, because he is her friend. She puts the letter on the fireplace mantel, and then her family leaves. They do not know if they’ll see their farm again.

The family travels quite a ways until they reach Pa’s friend’s farm. They and another family sleep in the barn until an American soldier tells them it is OK to go home. When they arrive home, they see their house and barn are still standing. Dishes are broken, as are other things, and there is a letter for Letty on the fireplace mantel.

The letter says that they paid a penny for each goose they’d eaten. The pennies are in a bag around Solomon’s neck. The gander is still alive. Although many things on their farm are destroyed, Letty is glad that they have their house, the British soldiers had left their area, and Solomon is alive. This story is based on a true event that happened in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

At the end, Letty calls the pennies that the soldiers gave her “lucky pennies.”

Authority Roles

Ma and Pa look out for and take care of their three children, Letty, John and baby Sarah. They pack what they know the family needs, even though they can’t bring everything Letty wants. They do not give her false hope that Solomon will be fine, but they are gentle in their address to her about the possibility of the British soldiers eating her geese. When her father tells her this, her mother holds her hands to comfort her. Later when they find only Solomon alive, Pa says that they will help her find more wives for him.

Profanity & Violence

None, but there is a mention of guns firing in the distance.

Sexual Content


Discussion Topics

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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