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The Happy Prince Hardcover – January 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st American ed edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525453679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525453673
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 9.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,693,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 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
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love this book so much that I can't believe I haven't reviewed it before now.

When I was about six years old, my great-aunt gave me a story collection. The book had a bright red cover and about 1000 gilt-edged pages. My favorite story in that collection was "The Happy Prince". We moved around a lot when I was a child, and that book was lost. Years later, I discovered Oscar Wilde's plays, but in no way connected them to that story from my childhood. Then I happened on this gorgeous version of the story.

I love the story of the Happy Prince, but I never used this story for story time at the library -- I couldn't, and still can't, get through it without tearing up. The story, even now, is deeply moving.

I wasn't sure about Jane Ray's illustrations when I first saw this book, but somehow the naivete and bright color and gilt do work wonderfully well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on August 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite short story by Oscar Wilde--author of the gothic horror tale "Picture of Dorian Grey," many outrageously witty Victorian quips, and delightful comedies for the stage. Once a happy prince and then a contented man ruling his people wisely, now all that is left of his beneficence is a gilded statue which overlooks the city. But this is no ordinary statue, for of far greater value than the gold and jewels that honor his memory resides the Soul of the statue--which no one realizes exists. From his lofty perch the compassionate young man witnesses the true conditions of poverty, squalor and thwarted dreams which are rampant beneath his stationary feet. His heart--such as it is--is touched to the core to witness such misery, which he never realized existed during his lifetime.

When a migrating little bird pauses to rest on the statue, the happy prince shares his sadness with him and begs a boon. The kind-hearted sparrow agrees to remove one jewel from the statue and deposit it where the prince has ordained it be left. Each day the bird delays joining his flock, in order to deliver a surprise gift to the neediest of the prince's people. As the bond between prince and bird grows---so closes the window of opportunity to fly south--a sacrifice the bird is willing to make for the sake of the generous prince and the humans who are suffering. Finally it is too late to depart, so the little bird calmly curls up to die at the feet of his friend, the Happy Prince.

There is a little more to the story--which I do not want to spoil for first-time readers, but I freely admit that I can not read this delicate story of unconditional love without tearing up. A morality tale for children of all ages, which demonstrates the virtue of Compassion.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Aloha on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although the editorial reviews do a good job of describing the story and beautiful illustrations, I feel they left out a couple of important details. First, the ending is SAD...the bird dies and the prince's heart breaks in half. And second, the last page talks about God and his angels. This seemed out of place to me as the rest of the book did not have a religious tone. I thought a potential buyer might like to know that.
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