The Happy Prince
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The Happy Prince

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  9,431 ratings  ·  188 reviews
More than a hundred years ago, Oscar Wilde created this moving story for his children. Now shimmering illustrations, as bejeweled and golden as the Prince himself, give glowing life to the many dimensions of his tale. His story of friendship, love, and a willingness to part with one's own riches may be more important today than ever before. Full color.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Dutton Books (first published 1888)
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Ms Bubbles SockieP
Totally rewritten and expanded from the original short and succinct review in the light of some personally derogatory comments concerning my even daring to mention Wilde's anti-semitism. Nov. 18th, 2011

I've always liked Oscar Wilde's prose, if not his drama, but I thought this was an exercise in hypocrisy, or perhaps it was just Oscar Wilde, locked out of the gates of the wealthy aristocracy, just venting his spleen on them. You would think a man who lost everything because of the prejudice agai...more
Sketchbook
Written for children, between 1882-1891, these beautiful
stories of delicate charm are for literate adults who alone
can perceive the irony and awareness of life's cruelties.
A poetic wistfulness also mingles with the artless musical
imagery. One critic says they remind him of Fragonard and Rossetti. Another is impressed by the simplicity of Biblical language.

Reviewing the fables a rather hysterical GR slams OW for
anti-semitism because of a perfunctory aside 100 years before
Political Correctness. S...more
Lorraine
This book is about the friendship between a swallow and a statue of a Happy Prince. The Happy Prince truly was just that- happy- in life because he lead a sheltered existence. "My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness." This distinction foreshadows the story's intent to outline for us a deeper meaning in happiness. In life, the Prince was shielded from all misery. He passed, and was immortalized in the statue, which looked down upon the city.

We m...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
Having now re-read this, I still feel as though I cannot be sure if I read it once before. It's possible! But it's also possible that I only heard it read! Odd.

In any event, it is a lovely, simple fairy-tale about sacrifice, selflessness and the responsibility of rulers to care for their subjects -- but also about the ways in which good deeds can go unappreciated, and about the blindness which charitable people can exhibit in their desperate quest to serve the needy.

Also, here is the line which...more
Linda
Whatever I read by Oscar Wilde I really like, and it always gives me a bittersweet feeling. The pattern in Wilde's literature is so beautiful. This one is no different. Similar to "The nightingale and the rose" this one is about great sacrifices for people in need, sacrifices that go unnoticed by the shallow and rich people - which could really make a big difference.

My review
http://thereaderdiary.blogspot.com
Alexander
This story follows the friendship between the Happy Prince and a Swallow. The Happy Prince as a boy lived in complete luxury and happiness, unaware of the suffering outside his palace walls. The swallow by chance meets the prince after deciding not to migrate yet, because of his love of a reed. Upon meeting the bird the Prince tells the Swallow his story and of his sorrow for the suffering he now sees in his city. The Prince asks the Swallow to help different people in need by stripping away val...more
John Martindale
Oscar Wilde is sure an interesting character. For if the biography Frank Harris wrote about him is accurate and The Happy Prince was written before 1888. Then it seems "the happy prince" is completely out of character with Oscar. Supposedly during this time, Oscar Wilde, cared only for pleasure, beauty and fame, he was popular with the aristocrats, for he cared nothing for the poor. All that mattered was self-indulgence. Yet in such a state he wrote "The Happy Prince"? interesting. It would make...more
Maryam
The irony of it all lays in the title and it makes you laugh at yourself for thinking you'd read about a happy prince. The prince notices the sufferings of other people and decides to help them by giving away his processions. The sparrow helped him a lot into delivering these gestures and stuck with him throughout.
Jaehong
Before I read this story, when I saw the title of this book, I felt like it would be happy ending. Since I was young, I've hated sad ending. However, after I read this book, it made me cry. As the prince gave his all to the poor people even though he knew that he would be ruined. If we apply this story to our society, there would be no people like him. In my point of view, all mankind are selfish; we have an eye for the main chance. we have to change their mindset and then put their mindset into...more
Carolyn
The three-star rating is a rough average, as the amount to which I enjoyed each of these stories varies. My favourites - "The Nightingale and the Rose", "The Fisherman and His Soul", and "The Birthday of the Infanta" - made my heart swell and twist in lovely ways. Others, like "The Happy Prince" and "The Young King" were not unpleasant to read, but in the end I didn't see much purpose to them beyond vaguely Christian morality tales.

All the stories have beautiful descriptions, sometimes bordering...more
Jessica
Sleeping on my friend's couch, having come to school too early for my own room to be open, she offered me her childhood copy of "The Happy Prince and Other Stories" to further my on-going search for pieces to record for my research project. I hadn't known that Oscar Wilde wrote children's stories, much less these delightfully crafted and imaginative parables.

Much like Warner Brother's cartoons, Oscar Wilde's fairy tales have value for both children and the adults who read to them (I found value...more
Julie
This was an apt story to read today. It has the same themes of empathy, sharing and love as The Giving Tree, but executed in a much more successful way, in my opinion. It's a shame that I recently entered one of my own picture book manuscripts with this theme in a competition, and the judge's comments back were mainly that the theme was cliched. Sure, it has been covered before, but does that mean topics about love, mutual understanding and a lack of greed should not be covered any more? Sure, I...more
Dylan
Absolutely loved this story.

It truly moved me. It's the story of a swallow that one day, while migrating to Egypt, lands on the shoulder of a golden statue. The statue cries on the bird and tells him of the poor people in the city he watches over, and pleads that he help him alleviate there suffering.

This moved me and brought me to tears by the end of it. It's a thoughtful bittersweet story about helping others in need and caring for one another.
Lea
The feeling of overwhelming surprise and approval for the past me when I remember that I actually read this like seven or eight years ago and liked it. I was an awesome kid. I liked Oscar Wilde when I still had all of my primary teeth. How awesome am I? Sure I had no clue I was reading Oscar Wilde back then, and I'm pretty sure we were never told anything about that, but still, I was an awesome kid.
Marts  (Thinker)
So, was he really a "happy prince", well we could call him the once was happy prince and the gentle sparrow who befriended and regardless of his situation stuck with him till death. I guess if some who sit upon their golden thrones were to view the hardship around them they wont be so "happy" either.
Jane
Read this when I was a child in English and loved it. Read it recently again in French and had tears pouring down my face pretty much all the way through. It is incredibly moving and profound and, unfortunately still completely relevant with its depiction of self-righteous meddling bureaucrats.
Christine
This book is the most transformative book I read as a child. Every year, my children and I gather to read it together. Hopefully, my children will grow and live so that they too will be recognized as the most precious things a swallow identify.
Hannah
This is a beautiful and sensitive story. When you read Oscar Wilde's short stories you find out he could very serious when he wanted to be--more intensely serious than most people ever are-- and was as brilliant at sad stuff as he was at comedy.
Tara Lynn
I don't think I've ever read anything by Wilde that I haven't adored. His prose and characterization are brilliant, and it doesn't matter if he's writing for children, or for adults, his writing style adapts to the audience.
Kelly
I read this when I was in elementary school and loved it. I remember I cried and cried because it was such a touching story about love that was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice.
Louisa Klein
So many years have passed, but I still cry every time I read the end. Oscar, you leave me speechless (which is quite an achievement, trust me!)
Sid
Oscar Wilde's wit does come through in this collection of children's stories. However, I was not moved, and I was expecting to be moved.
Cora
I remember watching its animation as a kid.It's a charming,heart-wrenching story;it is the story of love.
Steven Farmer
I was drawn to this book as I recognised the illustrator, Jane Ray, from another book, The King of Capri. I find the colour, detail and depiction of city life long ago in the illustrations really appealing. The story is a fairy tale originally written by Oscar Wilde, about a statue of a prince and the swallow that befriends him.

The book tells the story of a golden, jewelled statue that sits on a tall column overlooking the city. Though happy in life, as a statue the prince sees all the misery in...more
Gale
“Giving until it Hurts”

This is my favorite short story by Oscar Wilde--author of the gothic horror tale “Picture of Dorian Grey,” 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--w...more
Sarah Sammis
The version of The Happy Prince and Other Stories I read is a Penguin 60s and only has half the stories of the original collection: "The Happy Prince", "The Young King", "The Devoted Friend" and "The Model Millionaire." The longer collection also includes: "The Nightingale and the Rose", "The Selfish Giant", "The Remarkable Rocket", "The Birthday of the Infanta", "The Star-Child" and "The Fisherman and His Soul." As I have not read these stories, my review won't include them except to say, I'm...more
Susan
I really didn't like these tales. There were several of Oscar Wilde's tales in it and the only one that didn't make me comepletely cringe was the Selfish Giant. I stopped reading after a few tales because they all depressed me. The sad thing is I think some of them could have been beautiful if they had been stopped earlier, but Wilde tacked on an ending that just made no sense and was cruel. It seemed the moral of the stories was very superficial: the only beauty that is worth anything is physic...more
Dee
A very, very, awesome book. The first story, "The Happy Prince", resembles some Chinese legend I know: about a monkey general/god who died then his people built a gold statue to honor him. This story and Wilde's story are pretty much the same. The gold statue watches the poor condition of the village and later asks a bird to peel the gold layers on his body one by one. There's just a little difference. Well, a clear difference, surely--Wilde has a prince and the Chinese a monkey general/god. Oh,...more
Laura Hawking
This is the tale of a marvelous friendship between the statue of a prince and a swallow. The happy prince had led a carefree life, full of joy and free of pain; but now he suffered terribly with all the pain he saw, all the ugliness and misery. One day he meets a swallow and he asks it to take the jewels from his sword and eyes, as well as the golden leaves that cover him, and give them to the poor. The swallow cancels its plans to go to Egypt and decides to stay with the prince forever.
The ill...more
Pauline
"The Happy Prince" is a story that reminds me of the parables in the New Testament, there are so many layers and depending on the reader's or listener's frame of mind they will either hear just a simple story or see a deep meaning embedded into the story.

The prince is a statue that overlooks the city and sees the poor and the rich and his heart aches to help the poor that he did not help when he was flesh and bone, so he implores a sparrow to help him. Through the sparrow and the prince the poor...more
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Born in London, Jane studied art and design at Middlesex University. Her main study was ceramics and she didn't start to illustrate until she left college. Her first published work was a series of greetings cards for Roger la Borde, followed by some book jackets, and eventually black and white illustrations for a poetry anthology with Orchard Books.
More about Jane Ray...
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“Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.” 26 likes
“Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, for can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.” 16 likes
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