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The Happy Prince
Cover of The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince
Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Volume 5
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Arguably the most famous and beloved of Oscar Wilde's nine fairy tales, this particular rendition stands apart from the others due to its brilliant illustrations by a master of comic art. After dying...
Arguably the most famous and beloved of Oscar Wilde's nine fairy tales, this particular rendition stands apart from the others due to its brilliant illustrations by a master of comic art. After dying...
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Description-

  • Arguably the most famous and beloved of Oscar Wilde's nine fairy tales, this particular rendition stands apart from the others due to its brilliant illustrations by a master of comic art. After dying young, the Happy Prince's soul inhabits a beautiful ruby-encrusted statue covered in gold leaf which is perched high above the city. But when he sees the poverty, misery and desperateness of his people, he enlists the help of a barn swallow to remove the gilding of his statue and shower the riches on his people. In the spring, the townspeople are saved, but find only a stripped down and dull statue alongside a dead swallow. The remains are tossed into an ash heap, but an emissary of God recognizes their sacrifice, and escorts them into the gardens of Heaven. Perfect for middle school students as an introduction to the world-famous author, the dazzling illustrations in this book suit the timeless writings of Wilde.

About the Author-

  • Oscar Wilde was a playwright, essayist, and novelist. He was the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. P. Craig Russell is the author of several comics, and has adapted other fairy tales written by Oscar Wilde, as well as operas composed by Wagner and Mozart. He has won multiple Eisner, Harvey, and Parents' Choice Awards. He lives in Kent, Ohio.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 7, 2004
    Two perfect prose miniatures find their ideal illustrator in this fourth volume of Russell's adaptations from Wilde. There are no happy little diversions for children here; Wilde appreciated childlike innocence, but he also realized how often it was abused and disappointed in the adult world. In "The Devoted Friend," a rich miller who can talk eloquently about friendship exploits his trusting neighbor to the point of death. In "The Nightingale and the Rose," an innocent bird sacrifices itself for the sake of a true love that turns out to be a sham. Wilde isn't blatantly jeering at hypocrites or credulous fools in these stories. He is, however, suggesting that even the most genuinely beautiful surfaces shouldn't be trusted. Russell catches this mood perfectly, not trying to overshadow Wilde but merely helping him do his disturbing work. Russell's exquisite art has a supple ink line that's never fussy. His picture of the miller shows an elaborate, empty facade, far more offensive than a simple hypocrite. The yearning lover looks sincere enough to convince readers that the nightingale must be doing the right thing—until, at the conclusion, readers recognize he's just a dull lad. Pricey as this slim book is, it's probably best not to read many of Wilde's sardonic tales at one time.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 11, 2012
    While best known for The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays, like The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde also penned popular fairy tales, which the Eisner Award–winning Russell has adapted into graphic novel form. “The Happy Prince” uses Wilde’s own words for the text, so readers can still appreciate his elegant style. The melancholic story follows a swallow who befriends the statue of the Happy Prince, who was indeed happy when he lived a sheltered life. Now, however, the prince stands over the city as a statue and sees all the suffering. With the help of the swallow, he breaks down the pieces of himself, his rubies, sapphire, and gold, to feed the starving people. While much of the story is pensive or even outright sad, Wilde still pops in with some sharp satiric wit now and then. This is not a fairy tale with a happy ending, or at least what we would normally think of as a happy ending, but it certainly makes its point. Russell’s sensitive, belle epoque–inspired artwork brings the story to life with a matched sensibility that makes other comics adaptations look clumsy.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 2, 1995
    Ray's (Magical Tales from Many Lands; The Story of Christmas) folksy, gilt-laden artwork graces this somewhat formal abridgment of Wilde's tale about an enchanted statue. The Happy Prince, who had lived a happy life and died a happy man, is now immortalized high above the city as a golden and bejeweled statue. For the first time the royal sees the suffering, poverty and misery of the common people. Sharing his sympathetic view with a sparrow, the prince persuades the bird to postpone its migration and instead to deliver his gold leafing, his sapphire eyes and ruby belt to those who need them. Soon the sparrow dies of cold and the prince, now shabby, is removed from its pedestal and melted down. Though young readers may appreciate the lessons of selflessness and sacrifice here, the telling may seem to them stilted and even occasionally disjointed. Ray's characteristically rich palette and her delicate borders and backgrounds provide the visual magic that keeps this sentimental tale afloat. Ages 7-up.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2012

    Gr 3 Up-Russell's impeccable graphic art brings new dimension to Wilde's tale of social inequality, sacrifice, and devotion. The statue of a hedonistic young prince who died young befriends a wayward swallow migrating to Egypt, and both sacrifice themselves to try and ease the suffering of the poor before finding a heavenly reward for their efforts. The many perspectives, asides, and subplots in the story, which can seem abrupt in a straight reading, are particularly well suited for this format. The panels make it obvious who is speaking and clarify their place in the story, resulting in a perfect union between narrative and art. The text is identical to the original, aside from a few minor abridgments that streamline the swallow's journeys and descriptions of Egypt. Skillfully using perspective, angle, and shadow, Russell portrays the emotions and humanity of the Happy Prince while never letting readers forget that he is a statue. A lovely adaptation.-Anna Haase Krueger, formerly at Antigo Public Library, WI

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly

    "Russell matches Wilde's literary skills with artistic talent."

  • Miami Herald (July 8, 2012)

    "Smartly adapted by master craftsman Russell. Conveyed with great heart."

  • Minneapolis Star Tribune (June 28, 2012)

    "Well worth the wait. As usual, Russell's art is transcendent, transporting the reader to a world where even trash dumps have their own textured, fine-lined beauty. This story of heroic altruism and the gap between rich and poor is of special relevance today, where it's reflected in the Occupy Wall Street movement and presidential politics."

  • Library Media Connection (February 2013, STARRED REVIEW)

    "Oscar Wilde's tales are not meant for young children. Dark and mystical, these disturbing gems are sure to appeal to some adolescents, but are worth revisiting throughout life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."

  • Seattle Post Intelligencer (August 11, 2012)

    "A visual delight, capturing the writer's blend of wit and sentimentality with Russell's usual fine-lined grace. As apt today as it was when Wilde first crafted it in the Victorian Era, The Happy Prince is a lovingly depicted parable of Christian charity that deserves to be revived in this era of celebrated selfishness."

  • School Library Journal (September 2012)

    "Skillfully using perspective, angle, and shadow, Russell portrays the emotions and humanity of the Happy Prince while never letting readers forget that he is a statue. A lovely adaptation."

  • Teacher Librarian (December 2012)

    "Russell's illustrations slip delicately between the terrific pain the prince sees and the fragile joy the bird helps him deliver."

  • www.BooklistOnline.com

    "Russell's elegant, glowing, art nouveau–influenced illustration, which recalls both Maxfield Parrish and Arthur Rackham, fits the tale perfectly. A work of adaptation that it's hard to think could be bettered."

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