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The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

The Selfish Giant (1888)

by Oscar Wilde (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Happy Prince and Other Tales (3)

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The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

This children's book is a beautifully told and illustrated story about a giant who has a lovely garden in which all of the children love to come and play. There are always butterflies, birds and all manner of wild life, lovely flowers and blossoms on the trees.
The giant has been away for many years visiting a friend and when he returns and finds all of the children playing in his beautiful garden he turns them out and builds a wall around the garden. It is his garden and he intends to enjoy it alone.
But strangely enough after a bit the flowers die, the birds stop singing and then stop coming, the butterflies no longer come and winter takes over the garden. The giant is puzzled and unhappy about this turn of events.
Then one day the children find a chink in the fence and return to the garden. The giant looks out and is astonished to see a child in each tree and the trees blossoming again, hear the birds singing again and winter fading away. Once more the garden is a delightful and beautiful place. All except one corner. The giant notices that winter remains in one corner of the garden. At the bottom of the tree in that corner is a little boy who is trying so hard to get up into the tree but just isn't tall enough. So the giant picks the little boy up and places him within the branches of the tree and immediately spring has arrived in this corner of the garden as well.
The giant is very happy, removes the garden wall and spends the remainder of his days watching the children play and playing with them in the garden. The giant watched the seasons change but was not sad about it for he knew that spring was just around the corner.
One winter day he is quite surprised to look out and see that the corner of his garden had blossoms on the tree. He had aged considerably by this time and slowly plodded out to the corner of the garden. The tree was covered in glorious blossoms, the leaves were golden colored and silver fruit hung abundantly from its branches. But the best thing of all is that his little friend whom he had lifted into the tree many, many years ago was beneath the tree. The giant opened his arms to the child but then stopped in anger as he saw where the child had been horribly injured with a wound in each of his palms and each of his wee feet. The injuries were prints of nails. The little boy spoke to the giant, telling him not to be angry; that the wounds were wounds of love.
The giant fell to his knees and asked the little boy who he was. The little boy spoke and said that a long time ago the giant had let him play in his garden and now he had come to take the giant to his garden which was called "Paradise".
When the children came into the garden that afternoon they found the giant lying dead under the tree, covered with white blossoms and with a smile on his face.
The artwork in this story is beyond lovely as is the story. I rated it 5* and highly recommend it to children young and old. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Jul 5, 2013 |
I did not enjoy this story and would not recommend this book for kids. The original story line is great but in the end the author talks about religion. This kind of confused me so I could only imagine what children would get from this story. However, the illustrations were beautiul!
  A.Smith | Nov 23, 2012 |
It is a story that helps children deal with fear, with the unknown, and with understanding 'strangers' - as well as being a wonderful fairy tale. I had never read this fairy tale but absolutely loved it!!! I will retell this story over and over! I found this story in the E section of Statham Public Library.
  lhendrix9983 | Jul 7, 2012 |
This is the story of a giant who returns home to find children playing in his garden and he doesn't like it. The giant throws them out and puts up a big wall to keep them out. However when spring comes to the rest of the world it stays winter in the giants garden until the children find a way back in and spring comes once again. The giant this time lets the children stay and helps the smallest child up into the tree. That child however disappears and the giant watches for him everyday but he never reappears. When the giant is old the boy reappears but this time he is hurt and has holes in his hands and feet. He tells the giant he has come to take him away. This is a lovely story that can be enjoyed by all. ( )
  ecosborne | Feb 9, 2012 |
It’s always interesting to me when someone can take a classic and remake it to the point where current generations can find beauty within it. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I have taken the time to go through a book with my son. He’s 10 years old now and he reads long chapter books without the need for me to help him, so when Noteworthy Books asked me to review The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, Musical Adaptation by Dan Goeller, Illustrations by Chris Beatrice and Narration by Martin Jarvis, I jumped at the chance to not only spend time with my little guy, but also to read a good book and hear some beautiful music.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The Selfish Giant is a heartfelt story that addresses topics such as selfishness, kindness, forgiveness and redemption. I hadn’t heard the story before so I was somewhat shocked at the ending, which was of a Christian nature. It wasn’t a bad ending, just unexpected for me because I hadn’t heard the story before and wasn’t expecting it. The included cd is narrated with the resounding and pleasant voice of Martin Jarvis, who kept me and my son enchanted throughout the 30-minute narration of the book. As a parent, holding a book for that length of time isn’t a pleasant experience, so I caution you to snuggle up with your kid of any age and put a book under your arm. It’s as good an excuse as any to snuggle.

The illustrations in the book are truly beautiful and thoughtfully done. You can almost feel them coming to life as the story is being read to you. My son couldn’t take his eyes off of them and I found myself looking through them for little bits and pieces of the story as well as unnoted commentary. In a book that accompanies a 30-minute cd, the illustrations must be interesting and aesthetically pleasing if you are going to look at a page for any length of time and these were both.

My favorite part of the book was the music. I’m a music lover and I found the music to be perfectly matched to the tone of the book. A few times I found myself closing my eyes to just enjoy what I was hearing and allow myself to drift into the story. At the end of the story there is a 4 minute up-beat montage of children’s music that is just beautiful and my son couldn’t stop bobbing his head to it. I can think of no better compliment.

In conclusion, the book was beautifully put together and definitely worth the time spent putting it together. This would make a wonderful bedtime book. What caught my attention, as well, is that the included cd would be wonderful for a long car ride with little ones. As a parent, getting kids to be quiet for 30 minutes on a long ride is a true blessing and with the beautiful music, excellent narration and amazing pictures, this would be a wonderful addition to any backseat package. Parents, this is a must have and not just for little ones. Like I said, mine is 10 and it held his attention for 30 minutes. Well done. ( )
  blueshelled | Feb 27, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilde, OscarAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beatrice, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danska, HerbertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parazzoli, P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimdars, BertaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0907234305, Hardcover)

A once selfish giant welcomes the children to his previously forbidden garden and is eventually rewarded by an unusual tiny child.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A once selfish giant welcomes the children to his previously forbidden garden and is eventually rewarded by an unusual tiny child.

» see all 5 descriptions

Legacy Library: Oscar Wilde

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