Synopses & Reviews
Arguably the most famous and beloved of Oscar Wildes nine fairy tales, this particular rendition stands apart from the others due to its brilliant illustrations by a master of comic art. After dying young, the Happy Princes soul inhabits a beautiful ruby-encrusted statue covered in gold leaf which is perched high above the city. But when he sees the poverty, misery and desperateness of his people, he enlists the help of a barn swallow to remove the gilding of his statue and shower the riches on his people. In the spring, the townspeople are saved, but find only a stripped down and dull statue alongside a dead swallow. The remains are tossed into an ash heap, but an emissary of God recognizes their sacrifice, and escorts them into the gardens of Heaven. Perfect for middle school students as an introduction to the world-famous author, the dazzling illustrations in this book suit the timeless writings of Wilde.
"While best known for The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays, like The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde also penned popular fairy tales, which the Eisner Award winning Russell has adapted into graphic novel form. 'The Happy Prince' uses Wilde's own words for the text, so readers can still appreciate his elegant style. The melancholic story follows a swallow who befriends the statue of the Happy Prince, who was indeed happy when he lived a sheltered life. Now, however, the prince stands over the city as a statue and sees all the suffering. With the help of the swallow, he breaks down the pieces of himself, his rubies, sapphire, and gold, to feed the starving people. While much of the story is pensive or even outright sad, Wilde still pops in with some sharp satiric wit now and then. This is not a fairy tale with a happy ending, or at least what we would normally think of as a happy ending, but it certainly makes its point. Russell's sensitive, belle epoque inspired artwork brings the story to life with a matched sensibility that makes other comics adaptations look clumsy. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About 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. P. Craig Russell is the author of several comics, and has adapted other fairy tales written by Oscar Wilde, as well as operas composed by Wagner and Mozart. He has won multiple Eisner, Harvey, and Parents Choice Awards. He lives in Kent, Ohio.