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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 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.
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.
"Russell matches Wilde's literary skills with artistic talent." —Publishers Weekly
"Smartly adapted by master craftsman Russell. Conveyed with great heart." —Miami Herald (July 8, 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." —Minneapolis Star Tribune (June 28, 2012)
"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." —Library Media Connection (February 2013, STARRED REVIEW)
"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." —Seattle Post Intelligencer (August 11, 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." —School Library Journal (September 2012)
"Russell's illustrations slip delicately between the terrific pain the prince sees and the fragile joy the bird helps him deliver." —Teacher Librarian (December 2012)
"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." —www.BooklistOnline.com