A beautiful, golden, jewel-studded statue and a little swallow give all they have to help the poor.
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott FordThis updated retelling of Oscar Wilde's famous story is beautifully done. Little Swallow doesn't join the flock as they head south, preferring to spend more time flitting through the trees and reeds in the warmth of the autumn sun. Finally, he decides it is time to go, but as he heads south, he stops for a rest in the Great City. He finds shelter for the night at the feet of a statue of the Happy Prince, and then suddenly feels drops of water falling on his head. He is surprised to find it is not rain. The golden statue, encrusted with magnificent gems, is crying. The Happy Prince tells his story to Little Swallow. He had lived a wonderful life in the palace, never seeing beyond the walls, but now he was able to see the sadness in the world and wanted to do something to help others. The prince asks the Swallow to help by plucking out the gems and then peeling off the gold leaf and giving it to the poor. Winter sets in, and Little Swallow finally falls with cold and exhaustion at the feet of the statue, whereupon the prince's leaden heart breaks. When the statue is junked, those who know of the good deeds put the bird and the heart in a place of honor. Information about Oscar Wilde is included in the book, and the realistic paintings illustrating the story are a perfect complement to the text.
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