Introduced by Jeanette Winterson
Illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith
A complete collection of Wilde’s enchanting fairy tales, introduced by Jeanette Winterson with illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith.
Novelist, playwright and satirist Oscar Wilde was also an incomparable teller of fairy tales. In these stories, written for his two sons, he takes the elements of faerie since time immemorial – giants and princes, fishermen and mermaids –and creates enchanting, heartfelt fables that rank amongst his best-loved works.
‘I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground for ever and ever.’
This complete collection sparkles with Wilde’s characteristic wit. In ‘The Remarkable Rocket’, a vain and self-important firework declares: ‘I am always thinking about myself, and I expect everybody else to do the same. That is what is called sympathy.’ Like all the greatest fairy tales, these contain sorrow and heartbreak as well as love and redemption. In ‘The Selfish Giant’, the Giant drives the children out of his garden, and is punished by a perpetual winter until he lets them play there again. Sacrifice is a recurring theme: in ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’, the nightingale gives her heart’s blood to create a red rose for a student, who ends by throwing it away. In ‘The Happy Prince’, a royal statue allows himself to be stripped of gold and jewels to provide for the poor people of his town, with the aid of a swallow who delays his migration to Egypt to help the prince. In the end, the denuded statue is melted in a furnace, its leaden heart thrown on a rubbish-heap – until an angel claims it for heaven.
‘They have everything: love, betrayal, selflessness, purity, evil, sacrifice, beauty, brutality and truth’
Grahame Baker-Smith is one of the leading children’s book illustrators working in Britain today, winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal and illustrator of several Folio Society editions. For this collection he has created enchanting mixed-media images including several that incorporate the face of Wilde himself. Award-winning author Jeanette Winterson has contributed a new introduction, placing these stories at the heart of Wilde’s career and describing how ‘fairy stories tell us what science and philosophy cannot and need not’.
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Review by anon on 9th Jan 2015
"This is a beautiful book, but it is most oddly portrayed between the web site pictures and its actual production product. First of all the margins in the book are very odd. They are fully 1.63 inches ..." [read more]
Review by anon on 1st Oct 2013
"Be reinspired and amazed by the talent of Oscar Wilde. These stories are extraordinary. Not least the wonderful 'The Fisherman and his Soul' - I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Italo Calvino ..." [read more]