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Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince by Elissa…

Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince

by Elissa Grodin

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  Jwsmith20 | Dec 11, 2011 |
  Jamesandjustine | May 14, 2011 |
This book had a good theme of being generous but it was too sad for me to recommend to younger people.
  missi333 | Apr 16, 2009 |
It's been years since I read Wilde's The Happy Prince, so when I saw this sitting on the shelf at the library, I just had to check it out. Done in large, picture book style, Grodin's retelling of this classic children's tale is quite lovely. The book starts out with a bit about Wilde's life and ends with a page on homelessness and the virtue of "caring" which is nice, but well over the head or interest level of the children on the low end of the recommended age rage listed for this book (4-8), and though the story itself is fine for reading to children on the low end of the age range...my guess is that the subtleties of the message will be lost on most 4-5 year olds without adult prodding about the "lessons" of compassion and charity that this book has to offer. Still it's a classic and, I think a message worth giving and receiving.

Overall, The Happy Prince has never been a very "happy" book, that is to say, even in the original, the prince was melted down and the bird died...what's missing here is the bit where they get to go to heaven, chosen by one of God's angles as the two most precious things in the city. Grodin gave the book a more secular ending where the man charged with pitching them into the furnace decides they deserve better and buries them in the city center (presumably where the statue once stood), under a tree in a planter marked with the words compassion and kindness...so despite the loss of the direct Christian religious overtones of God and the virtues, Grodin manages to deliver the message of the original and I think that's wonderful. I give this version of The Happy Prince five stars, the text is lovely and the artwork is stunning and evocative of the story...at first dark and depressing and as the city becomes a happier, kinder, more compassionate place, it brightens and becomes lighter in look and feel. ( )
  the_hag | Dec 28, 2007 |
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abridged by Elissa Grodin. Please do not combine with the original work.
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A beautiful, golden, jewel-studded statue and a little swallow give all they have to help the poor.

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