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The Happy Prince
by Oscar Wilde
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-A statue of a privileged prince develops a social conscience and a swallow intends to pause just a moment to assist him. Together they conspire to bring a modicum of contentment, financial security, and compassion to the beleaguered poor of a nameless city in northern Europe and both receive their rewards in a heavenly paradise. In this morality tale originally intended for the childlike rather than the child, Wilde addresses issues of social injustice, the loss of innocence, and the redemptive power of love. The otherwise verbatim retelling of the original contains two omissions: reference to Jewish merchants in the ghetto and part of a descriptive passage of life on the Nile that included pygmies and strange religious practices. The watercolor illustrations, varying in size and irregular in shape, are literal extensions of the text. A brief biography of Wilde is appended. Though the winsome swallow and wistful prince have appeal, buy only where literary fairy tales have a ready audience. A more evocative interpretation can be found in Ed Young's version (S & S, 1992).
Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?" "It is winter," answered the swallow, "and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm" From his high vantage point, the glittering statue of the Happy Prince is the pride of city officials. But the Prince_s sapphire eyes are filled with tears because of the suffering he sees below. Stuck fast on his pedestal, there is nothing the gem-encrusted statue can do to help relieve the poor, until a little swallow stops to rest at his feet. The Prince persuades the bird to be his messenger, and to pluck out and carry one precious jewel after another to those in need. In order to survive the winter, the swallow must fly to a warmer place, but his love for the now-shabby Prince compels him to stay despite the consequences. Time after time, the brave little bird does all that is asked, until both he and the Happy Prince have nothing left to give. Oscar Wilde_s classic fairy tale of compassion and selflessness is given new life by Robin Muller_s exquisite illustrations in this special edition.
Card catalog description
A beautiful, golden, jewel-studded statue and a little swallow give all they have to help the poor.
Inside Flap Copy
Ilustrated by Charled Robinson
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