The Happy Prince

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Overview

Do your students enjoy a good laugh? Do they like to be scared? Or do they just like a book with a happy ending? No matter what their taste, our Creative Short Stories series has the answer.

We've taken some of the world's best stories from dark, musty anthologies and brought them into the light, giving them the individual attention they deserve. Each book in the series has been designed with today's young reader in mind. As the words come to ...

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The Happy Prince

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Overview

Do your students enjoy a good laugh? Do they like to be scared? Or do they just like a book with a happy ending? No matter what their taste, our Creative Short Stories series has the answer.

We've taken some of the world's best stories from dark, musty anthologies and brought them into the light, giving them the individual attention they deserve. Each book in the series has been designed with today's young reader in mind. As the words come to life, students will develop a lasting appreciation for great literature.

The humor of Mark Twain...the suspense of Edgar Allan Poe...the danger of Jack London...the sensitivity of Katherine Mansfield. Creative Short Stories has it all and will prove to be a welcome addition to any library.

A beautiful, golden, jewel-studded statue and a little swallow give all they have to help the poor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ray's Magical Tales from Many Lands; The Story of Christmas folksy, gilt-laden artwork graces this somewhat formal abridgment of Wilde's tale about an enchanted statue. The Happy Prince, who had lived a happy life and died a happy man, is now immortalized high above the city as a golden and bejeweled statue. For the first time the royal sees the suffering, poverty and misery of the common people. Sharing his sympathetic view with a sparrow, the prince persuades the bird to postpone its migration and instead to deliver his gold leafing, his sapphire eyes and ruby belt to those who need them. Soon the sparrow dies of cold and the prince, now shabby, is removed from its pedestal and melted down. Though young readers may appreciate the lessons of selflessness and sacrifice here, the telling may seem to them stilted and even occasionally disjointed. Ray's characteristically rich palette and her delicate borders and backgrounds provide the visual magic that keeps this sentimental tale afloat. Ages 7-up. Jan.
Children's Literature - Pat Simon
Jane Ray's beautiful illustrations bring to life the story of a statue known as the Happy Prince. He is a most elegant figure, bathed in fine gold from head to toe, seeing through sapphire eyes and carrying a ruby on his sword. His wealth brings him little comfort because he is, after all, only a statute and cannot help the people of the city who are so unhappy. But the Happy Prince meets the gentle, caring Swallow and together they make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate. With brilliant colors in the folk art tradition, Ray retells a story of friendship and compassion suitable for readers and listeners of all ages.
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
High above the city stood the statue of the Happy Prince. "As beautiful as a weathercock, " said one of the town councilors, "but not so useful." The Prince is beautiful indeed, but no longer happy as he was when he lived in the palace of Sans Souci. Now from his pedestal, he can see all the misery and ugliness of the city. With the help of a little sparrow, the Prince sacrifices his beauty to make the lives of his people better. The ruby in his sword hilt, his rare sapphire eyes, and the gold leaf covering his body are carried away by the sparrow and given to those in need. When the Prince is no longer beautiful, his statue is pulled down. "As he is no longer beautiful, he is no longer useful," said the Art Professor. From the "Creative Short Stories" series, this fairy tale would be appropriate to read aloud to younger children, but is, in fact, written for older readers. A brief discussion of aestheticism—an English artistic movement that believed that art should be concerned solely with beauty and not with any moral or social purpose—is included. Wilde was a leading proponent of this movement. There is also a short biography and photography of Wilde. The text is illustrated with colored drawings. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

These volumes present classic American and British tales that are commonly covered in high school and college literature courses. The stories are all ripe for classroom discussions on irony (The Ransom of Red Chief ), social conventions (The Lottery ), unreliable narrators (The Cask of Amontillado ), and aesthetic philosophy (The Happy Prince ). Each slim volume has a well-spaced typeface with notable passages printed in brightly colored font. A short essay of literary criticism citing textual evidence follows each tale, along with a concise author biography with photographs or paintings. The literary essays may be used as examples for student writing assignments. However, the spot artwork is more decorative than illustrative, and the books' textbooklike appearance will not win any fans among students. Seek more attractive editions if these tales are absent from currently owned anthologies.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Ray has done a masterful job of retelling and illustrating one of Wilde's more accessible fairy tales. Using most of the author's words and all of his intent, she has omitted the more flowery and verbose prose and subplots. The result is a tightened tale that expresses compassion in a simple, heartfelt story of a statue and a little bird. Alternating full-and double-page illustrations with panels, Ray has put enormous detail into her paintings, and each one is burnished with a kind of verdigris gold. Readers will especially appreciate the pictures that depict the wonders of Egypt. Not piteous or sentimental, The Happy Prince is a balanced tale; in fact, Leo Lionni's modern classic, Tico and the Golden Wings Knopf, 1975, seems to revisit its universal themes.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781492178408
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/16/2013
  • Pages: 72
  • Sales rank: 799,211
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Oscar Wilde was a playwright, essayist, and novelist. He was the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Carole Bloch is the central coordinator of the Stories Across Africa Project, which is developing shared anthologies of stories for children in the many languages of Africa. She has written extensively on early literacy and multilingual education in South Africa and Africa, as well as writing several picture books for young children. Joan Rankin has illustrated more than 30 children’s books, including A Frog in the Bog and Off to First Grade. She is the recipient of the Katrina Harris Award for Children's Book Illustration and the ME Rothman Prize for best illustrated children’s book.

Biography

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, to an intellectually prominent Dublin family. His father, Sir William Wilde, was a renowned physician who was knighted for his work as medical adviser to the 1841 and 1851 Irish censuses; his mother, Lady Jane Francesca Elgee, was a poet and journalist. Wilde showed himself to be an exceptional student. While at the Royal School in Enniskillen, he took First Prize in Classics. He continued his studies at Trinity College, Dublin, on scholarship, where he won high honors, including the Demyship Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford.

At Oxford, Wilde engaged in self-discovery, through both intellectual and personal pursuits. He fell under the influence of the aesthetic philosophy of Walter Pater, a tutor and author who inspired Wilde to create art for the sake of art alone. It was during these years that Wilde developed a reputation as an eccentric and a foppish dresser who always had a flower in his lapel. Wilde won his first recognition as a writer when the university awarded him the Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna."

Wilde went from Oxford to London, where he published his first volume of verse, Poems, in 1881. From 1882 to 1884, he toured the United States, Ireland, and England, giving a series of lectures on Aestheticism. In America, between speaking engagements, he met some of the great literary minds of the day, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Walt Whitman. His first play, Vera, was staged in New York but did poorly. After his marriage to Constance Lloyd in 1884 and the birth of his two sons, Wilde began to make his way into London's theatrical, literary, and homosexual scenes. He published Intentions, a collection of dialogues on aesthetic philosophy, in 1891, the year he met Lord Alfred Douglas, who became his lover and his ultimate downfall. Wilde soon produced several successful plays, including Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) and A Woman of No Importance (1893). Wilde's popularity was short-lived, however. In 1894, during the concurrent runs of his plays An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, he became the subject of a homosexual scandal that led him to withdraw all theater engagements and declare bankruptcy. Urged by many to flee the country rather than face a trial in which he would surely be found guilty, Wilde chose instead to remain in England. Arrested in 1895 and found guilty of "homosexual offenses," Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labor and began serving time in Wandsworth prison. He was later transferred to the detention center in Reading Gaol, where he composed De Profundis, a dramatic monologue written as a letter to Lord Alfred Douglas that was published in 1905. Upon his release, Wilde retreated to the Continent, where he lived out the rest of his life under a pseudonym. He published his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, in 1898 while living in exile.

During his lifetime, Wilde was most often the center of controversy. The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was serialized in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890 and published in book form the next year, is considered to be Wilde's most personal work. Scrutinized by critics who questioned its morality, the novel portrays the author's internal battles and arrives at the disturbing possibility that "ugliness is the only reality." Oscar Wilde died penniless, of cerebral meningitis, in Paris on November 30, 1900. He is buried in Paris's Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Good To Know

To make ends meet, Wilde edited the popular ladies' periodical Woman's Day from 1887 to 1889.

When in exile on the Continent, Wilde was forced to live under the alias Sebastian Melmoth.

It is rumored that Wilde's last written words were found in his journal, left behind in the Left Bank flophouse where he died: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has got to go."

Wilde is buried in the Paris cemetery of Père Lachaise; there, he keeps company with other famous artists, including Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 16, 1854
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 30, 1900
    2. Place of Death:
      Paris, France

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