Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is the first of a five-volume series of Russell's adaptations of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales into a comics format. The two retellings here, The Selfish Giant and The Star Child , adeptly capture Wilde's ability to bring a gentle, unexpected note of pathos to the conventional fairy-tale mix of anthropomorphic fantasy and whimsical moral guidance. In The Selfish Giant , the eponymous creature kicks a bunch of frolicking youngsters out of his garden, only to find that frosty winter moves in to take their place, refusing to leave because of his selfishness. In The Star Child, a beautiful but mean , narcissistic boy becomes physically repulsive when he rebuffs a ragged beggar who turns out to be his long lost mother. Russell matches Wilde's literary skills with his estimable artistic talent. His colors are brilliant and pure; his linework sure and fluid, at once cartoonlike and elegantly representational, reflecting both his art-nouveau and pre-Raphaelite influences and the inherent charm of Wilde's material. Ages 5-up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Oscar Wilde was a man who knew how to use language to express himself. His collection of fairy tales was undoubtedly written to entertain his children, but they have a deeper meaning. Wilde mocks the arrogant and self-righteous and lauds the virtues of kindness, generosity and caring. Illustrator Brent is a fitting choice for a man who loved to be fashionable and showy. Her gilded and intricate full-page art and the bordering on each page complement Wilde's rich prose. A magnificent book!
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up Lovers of Oscar Wilde's stories will delight in this new illustrated version of The Canterville Ghost if the picture book format does not keep them from finding it. Wilde's story of an American family who moves into Canterville Chase and annoys a weary ghost with their lack of belief in him is a wry commentary on the ways of British nobility and of their hard-headed American cousins. Like many of Wilde's tales, this one is filled with sophisticated allusions to his social and political milieu, but ends as sentimental romance. Zwerger's wry pictures highlight this tone beautifully. Her toothless ghost is round and comical, as would suit a ghost whom no one fears, and her heroine, Virginia, is young and sweetly boyish. All of the illustrations are set against misty gray watercolor backgrounds except for the climactic scene, echoed on the front cover, in which the tiny huntsmen on the wallpaper call out to Virginia to ``Go Back.'' This will make a fine read-aloud for audiences of secondary students who are prepared to savor Wilde's ironic humor and Zwerger's delicate watercolors. Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Janice Del Negro
The second volume in a series of comic book adaptations of Wilde's tales [see BKL Ja 15 93 for previous volume] gives "The Young King" and "The Remarkable Rocket" the Marvel-DC treatment. In elaborate underground "comix" style, Russell reintroduces the tales with an accessible if nontraditional approach to picture-book illustration and better-than-average adaptations of the original texts. Whether you believe circulating comics in the library is appropriate or not, this full-color book won't stay on the shelf for long, and it may well attract readers to a genre they might not usually find appealing.
ger for reading aloud. This beautiful volume features two or three illustrations for each fairy tale. Reminiscent of scenes from illuminated manuscripts, the pictures appear in brilliant colors and gleaming gold, surrounded by wide, decorative borders. Every page of text also has a narrow, vertical border in the same style. In the introduction, Philip contributes a thoughtful appreciation of Oscar Wilde and his fairy tales. Recom
mended for libraries where there's room for one more edition of these classic literary tales.
While Russell's precisely detailed, vibrantly colored cartoon art will certainly make this comic strip retelling of two of Oscar Wilde's short stories, "The Selfish Giant" and "The Star Child," a popular browsing item, there's some question about what age group the book will appeal to most. A juvenile-looking dust jacket makes it look a little too much like a picture book, while the yeasty dialogue and syntax used in "Star Child" will be too difficult for young children who use comics as a jumping off point for reading on their own. These children will find "Selfish Giant," the first story in the book, the more accessible tale, while older, better readers will love the suspenseful, multilayered "Star Child," about a beautiful, prejudiced boy who rejects his mother because she is ugly, only to become ugly himself. An uneven but attractive introduction to Wilde's tales, this is the first in a planned series.