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The Selfish Giant Hardcover – March 21, 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gallagher's (Moonhorse) eerily stylized paintings lend a haunting resonance to this moralistic tale of a hardened man who learns to open his heart. When the curmudgeonly Giant denies the local children access to his expansive garden, a great chill descends on them all. Winter lingers and spring refuses to scale the garden walls. But the children find a way into the beloved spot and the trees, grateful for the company and attention, begin to bloom. Seeing such beauty, the Giant is transformed and befriends his young neighbors, allowing them free rein. Not long afterward, a special boy appears to escort the old man to Paradise. Wilde's lessons are easily deciphered, though children may be confused by the overt religious imagery at tale's end. The towering but somehow gentlemanly Giant on the book's black-bordered jacket cuts an intriguing and imposing swath. Meanwhile, Gallagher's gallivanting and ghostly-white Snow, Frost and North Wind characters and her warm and golden images of happy children and gorgeous blossoms create plenty of drama. All ages.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 6-8. The familiar Wilde tale is well served by Gallagher's illustrations, in which the clothing and the faces of the children who come into the blooming garden are in strong contrast to the costumes and figures of the people who rule the wintry landscape after the selfish giant has exiled the children. The giant's size is also well handled: it's clear that every adult looks like a giant to a child. The story's ending, which implies that the child has returned to take the giant to Paradise, should be noted as a departure from what some readers expect in the giant genre. Mary Harris Veeder
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; 1st edition (March 21, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399224483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399224485
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.3 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant's garden..." So begins Oscar Wilde's timeless classic. The children love the Giant's garden, its soft grass, beautiful flowers, tall climbing trees, and singing birds. But when the Giant returns from a seven year visit and sees all the children playing happily, he is angry. "My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant. "Anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." He selfishly builds a high, high wall around the garden and puts up a "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted" sign. The children were very sad. They had nowhere to play and spent their days remembering the Giant's wonderful garden. Inside the high wall, the birds stayed away, and the flowers would not bloom. Winter had come to stay. Snow, Frost, Hail, and the North Wind now lived in the garden. There was no Spring, Summer, or Autumn. And then one day, the Giant noticed a small boy had entered his cold and wintry garden, and he began to feel very sorry for what he had done. As the little boy began to cry, the Giant's heart melted..... Originally published in 1888, The Selfish Giant is as magical today as it was well over a hundred years ago. Oscar Wilde's simple, yet eloquent text, with its gentle message of love and generosity, is charming, engaging, and begs to be read aloud. But it's Saelig Gallagher's marvelously detailed and evocative illustrations that really make this picture book stand out and sparkle. Perfect for youngsters of all ages, The Selfish Giant, with its satisfying, happily-ever-after ending, is a masterpiece to share with friends and family now, and with future generations in the years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know very much about Oscar Wilde. I was drawn to the book by its illustrations. I purchased a copy for my then-four son and read it to him one evening. When I reached the end I was pretty stunned. The beautiful artwork conveyed the story so beautifully and at the end when I realized WHO the little boy was -- I had a hard time finishing the story.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I have purchased multiple copies as gifts. This is not a book you read once and leave on the floor in the kids' room to become damaged. It stays in a nice place where it will be passed from generation-to-generation.
WARNING - I may say something offensive here - I have absolutely NO problem with "the religious overtones" (as put by some other reviews - and for those who don't understand the significance, the one mention means nothing anyway). After years of academia's cold influence on the nature of man, sin, and redemption, a hint of Hope is not unforgiveable.
Beautiful, beautiful piece of artwork. My hat is off to the author and brilliant illustrator.
- Dr. T.A.B.
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Format: Hardcover
The story of the Selfish Giant is a wonderful book with a lot of deep meaning, I love the lesson it teaches. The illustrations in this book are amazing. I love to look at every detail of every picture. I have seen this book in other styles but they can't compare to the artwork of Saelig Gallagher. Thank you Oscar and Saelig for an amazing book!
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Format: Hardcover
This book came home from the library with us one day. My ten yr. old daughter had a load of chapter books to read for school goals, and I grabbed this easy-collection book just for fun. I read it aloud to her that evening, and hadn't pre-read it at all. I was pretty tired, and just assumed it would be a nice little read before bed. As I read, I was still feeling it was a nice, typical fairy tale. When the surprise came, my daughter and I were equally stunned. The magic jumped from the book to both of us at the same time. There is a genius to the simplicity! (Thank you, Mr. Wilde, Ms. Gallagher) What a treasure! My daughter wanted her own copy immediately, and it is a book she will take into her adult life, to share someday with her own kids (unless I read it to them first!) I can't believe I got to adulthood, as a reader, and never knew this book! But how nice to discover it!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This short story, written by Oscar Wilde, is actually written for children, but has a classic storyline even adults can enjoy. I'm not a religious person, but when you see how the story plays out you may be brought to tears.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book about a gaint whos garden is beautiful and when he comes back he finds children playing in it and he get mad but without the children it remains winter. And one day he hears the most wcnderful music and smell the sweet perfume of autumn and looks out his window and sees.the children playing and the trees are happy and its autumn . But in one corner its still winter a little boy to small to reach the branches is crying and the tree is bending its limbs as far as it can but the boy is to smal.So the gaints heart is filled with compassion and goes and helps the little boy So the boy hugs and kisses the gaint. So the giant knocks down the wall and makes his garden the childrens play ground.But he never sees the boy again.ONe winter mourning when the gaint is very old he sees the little boy and rushes down to meet him but is angered by the wounds in the boys hands and feet .But th boy says these are wounds of love in the giants astonishment he ask who the litte boy was and the boy says you ounce let me play in your garden now come and play in mine which is paradise. And the chidren find the gaint dead under a tree with blossoms all over his back. this is a really great book for kids of all ages i highly recomend it!
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