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The Selfish Giant

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  3,474 ratings  ·  163 reviews
This magnificent new edition of Oscar Wilde's beloved tale tells the story of the selfish giant who built a wall around his beautiful garden to keep children out. It was always winter in the garden, for no other season would venture there. Then one morning, a special child brought Spring back, and the giant's heart melted along with the snow.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 21st 1995 by Putnam Juvenile (first published 1888)
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Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Be...Cinderella by Charles PerraultThe Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian AndersenThe Snow Queen by Susan JeffersRumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
Best Classic Fairytale
23rd out of 71 books — 78 voters
Arrow of the Mist by Christina MercerThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingFire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa Petreshock
Magical and Mystical Creatures (Titles ONLY)
39th out of 497 books — 134 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeremiah Jones
Oct 15, 2007 Jeremiah Jones rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every child of God
It's good that this title appears at the top of my list--"The Selfish Giant" has long been one of my favorite stories. I remember listening to my mother read it as we sat on our front porch on a lazy California afternoon. Just as she did, I also cry when I read this touching story to my children.

There are few books outside the canon of scripture that I would count as spiritually powerful and fully illustrative of the love of God as this short story. Take the time today to read it to your childre
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Lisa Vegan
I own many books by Oscar Wilde, including a book of stories that contains a version of this story, but I haven’t read that book since my childhood years.

So, because of the Jesus allusions, it ended up being not my cup of tea at all. I assume that as I child I didn’t get the Christian/Jesus connection and I probably was able to enjoy it more because of that.

But, up until the end I appreciated and enjoyed the story and the illustrations that are in this edition.

It’s a lovely fairy tale and if the
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Conor
The Selfish Giant was one of my favourite books as a child, and upon reading it again there were a lot of themes and symbols that as a child i was oblivious to. The story is about a Selfish Giant who owns a home with a beautiful garden. Upon returning to his home he discovers the local children playing in his garden, the sun shining and birds chirping. The Giant was enraged that the children had been playing in his garden, so he chased them all away and built a huge wall with a sign saying 'tres ...more
Beccy
Utterly beautiful.

On the surface a traditional fairy tale, though Wilde wrote it as a religious parable, however as a five ar six year old it wasn't a subtext I was aware of.

The plot centres around a giant who puts a wall around his beautiful garden to stop children playing in it, and in doing so, stops Spring from entering as well as them. One day the children find a cranny though which to kreep back into the garden and duly Spring returns and the garden becomes a paradise once more. As the gi
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Katharine
My first time reading this beautiful story. I thought it was moving, but the stigmata message was inappropriate for my family and young children. I'm glad I read it first. I read the version illustrated by lisbeth zwerger.
Althea Ann
Oscar Wilde! Oscar Wilde is awesome, right? Not to mention decadent, unconventional...?
Well, you wouldn't guess it from this tale.

This is a saccharine, moralizing story with a bit of a priggish attitude. The Christian allegory could not be more blatant if this were a retelling of a Bible verse.

A selfish giant doesn't allow any of the children to play in his garden. Because of his attitude, the garden becomes a bleak place where spring never blooms. But he eventually learns to mend his ways, an
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Brad
Being reminded of this short story is a recollection of my childhood, or at least of the day when I was a 14 year old plowing through an Oscar Wilde complete anthology book. I remember thinking that it was so much better than the pithy and pathetic morals found in the Smurfs and for some really odd reason, I wanted a really great moral story with lots of protein when I at this one. I smacked my lips and felt full afterwards.
Of course, like many compulsive word-overeaters, I ignored my appetite a
...more
Mark Delaney
The Selfish Giant is a beautifully illustrated book which deals with themes of love and redemption. The story begins with the selfish giant returning from holidays to discover children playing in his garden. This makes him furious and he immediately banishes them. As winter passes and spring is near, the garden still remains dormant, there is frost and snow on the trees and grass, there is a loud strong North wind and hail bashes heavily off the roof. Summer and Autumn pass, but the garden still ...more
Jennifer
I read the Selfish Giant to a year one class on my first placement as part of a PSHE lesson. The book itself is beautifully illustrated and the themes of the book; selfishness and greed changing into selflessness, friendship, care and death, are approached in a gentle way, making it suitable for younger children.

The giant lives alone in a castle and when he leaves to visit friends, children from the village come to play in his garden which is large and full of beautiful trees. When the giant re
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Taylor Knight
That was a beautiful story.
El
(Read as part of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.)

I've probably read this one before, but since it didn't really seem all that familiar I read it again. It was okay. I was on board through most of the story until the end which seemed a bit... preachy for my taste, but I get the point of the story and that's what matters.

Although, I prefer the way the giant was in the beginning. I don't want kids playing on my lawn either.
Michelle
Oct 17, 2010 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Amy Koch, Amy Spear
Recommended to Michelle by: William Kilpatrick in http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/81...
Shelves: read-with-ds
A wonderful short story with a pleasant surprise at the end. Beautifully illustrated. The story generated an excellent conversation between myself and my son about the symbolism in the story and what Oscar Wilde was really writing about.
Katie Lee
I would not recommend this book for kids. The original story line is great but in the end the author throws in a religious twist. This factor threw me for a loop so I can imagine what would happen if a young student was reading it.
Rachel Fellows
I read this to Georgia for the first time today--her first Oscar Wilde! I thought the stigmata message at the end was a little too weirdly religious for my taste, but it's Oscar Wilde, so I was able to overlook it.
Tanya W
Great book, great message, interesting tie-in to Christ which I wasn't expecting and wouldn't have figured out without the obvious symbolism.
Jenny Wagstaff
I read this to my daughter at bedtime, we both really liked it. She immediately identified the little boy at the end as Jesus, bless her!
Cindy
It is the very end which makes the story worth reading. I am a sucker for this kind of story-- which I do not think is a bad thing.
Grady
A Triptych of Artists Honor Oscar Wilde,

Oscar Wilde wrote a large number of stories for children, a fact we often forget when the controversial author and playwright's is considered. But Wilde wrote charming and imaginative stories for his children and among those his most respected is THE SELFISH GIANT. It is a story that helps children deal with fear, with the unknown, and with understanding 'strangers' - as well as being a wonderful fairy tale. Composer Dan Goeller has enhanced this story by
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Melanie
An interesting tale of giant who does not want the neighborhood children to play in his garden while he is away. So he builds a wall about the garden and the children are very sad. Winter and snow comes and it stays and stays and stays...the giant does not understand and is angry that the spring won't come. One day the children find a way to sneak in and suddenly the garden transforms into spring. The giant takes an interest in a little boy who is trying to climb into a tree but is too short to ...more
Stefania Gartz
Κάθε απόγευμα, γυρίζοντας από το σχολείο, τα παιδιά πήγαιναν να παίξουν στον κήπο του γίγαντα. Ήταν ένας μεγάλος, πανέμορφος κήπος με απαλό πράσινο γρασίδι. Εδώ κι εκεί στο χορτάρι ορθώνονταν ωραία λουλούδια σαν αστέρια, υπήρχαν δώδεκα ροδακινιές που την γέμιζαν ρόδινα μαργαριταρένια ανθάκια, το φθινόπωρο βάραιναν από τους πλούσιους καρπούς. Τα πουλιά κάθονταν στα δέντρα τραγουδούσαν τόσο γλυκά, που τα παιδιά σταματούσαν τα παιχνίδια τους για να τ' ακούσουν. «Τι ευτυχισμένα που είμαστε εδώ!» φών ...more
William O



The Selfish Giant is a beautifully illustrated book which deals with themes of love and redemption. It tells the tale of a selfish giant who when returning in winter from holidays sees children playing in his garden. He banishes them from his garden but the season in the garden does not change as time passes.One day he hears a melody in the garden and when he investigates he sees the garden in full bloom with children playing; all except one corner of the garden. There is a boy struggling to cli
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Carolina
Este também é adorável, mas por outro lado acho que me escapou qualquer coisa naquele final.
Brenda
This starts off as the standard fairy tale and ends up being so much more.
Niradhip
This is a wonderful story with the legendary punch “trespassers will be prosecuted”. The selfish giant has an everlasting effect on all the reader’s mind. How magnificently the cruel selfish giant turned himself into generous, open minded and lovable. The turnaround from dark to munificent heart is spectacular and well written. The best gift from the god is children and god wants the giant to understand the real meaning of happiness is generosity and make others happy. Selfish giant gradually un ...more
Miss Abernathy
De mis cuentos favoritos, maravilloso.
Jennifer Fannon
I read the Selfish Giant to a year two class on my first placement. Every part of the curriculum was incorporated into the story. This book looks at different themes including; selfishness, greed, friendship and care. There are different versions of this story for alternative sad ending which I feel wouldn’t be appropriate at KS1 but it could be at KS2.
This story is about a giant who lives in a big castle all alone. He leaves his castle and when he returns children form the village are playing i
...more
Ray
The Selfish Giant is a book about a troubled giant, who returns from a long vacation to find children enjoying the delights of his garden. Upon seeing this the giant frightens the children away in order to have the garden to himself, however, this ends with changes to the garden that perplexes the giant.

This story was used to discuss empathy and investigate the use of similes and metaphors with a group of Year 5 school children. In fact this book opens up a whole realm of possibilities to childr
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Dominique
The Selfish Giant is not only one of the most lyrical and beautiful children's books I have read, but it is also surprisingly controversial. The version I am reviewing contains a musical adaptation CD and the illustrations by Chris Beatrice are magical and enthralling, full of colour and mystery in the beautiful giant's garden. This version also contains the original, controversial ending strongly associated with Christianity.

The reason I adore this book is not for it's relationship to Christia
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rasha ahmed
The Selfish Giant is a story about a giant who learned an important lesson about love and sharing.
A selfish giant had a beautiful garden. He went away for a long time, and children began to play in his garden. When he came back, he told the children to go away. The giant built a high wall. No one could go into the garden. Spring could not enter the garden. Only Winter could enter it. There were no flowers or birds. Then, things changed. The children secretly came back into the garden, and they b
...more
Craig
I don't think I understood the moral of this book. It's an Oscar Wilde story that I read translated into Spanish. It is presented as a picture book and the artwork is very nice.

In this story a selfish giant owns a beautiful garden, but he won't let the children from the neighborhood play in his garden. So when the rest of the town turns to spring and summer his garden stays in winter and the personified frost and snow and hail enjoy their time year round in his garden. Then one day he wakes up a
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being E ...more
More about Oscar Wilde...
The Picture of Dorian Gray The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays   An Ideal Husband The Canterville Ghost

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“And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, 'You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.” 9 likes
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