The Happy Prince and Other Tales – Oscar Wilde

I found this book in a charity shop in Edinburgh (children’s books are always a good find in a charity shop because they tend to be even cheaper than the adult books), and as I started reading it I realised that I’d read a couple of the stories before. When I was younger I had a large hardback book full of illustrated extracts of children’s stories. One of them was an amazing illustrated version of The Happy Prince and The Remarkable Rocket. The stories are of course full of Wildean wit. Some of them are pretty brutal, such as the last paragraph in the ending of The Star Child. In some of them, such as The Selfish Giant, he seems to use the language of the King James Bible. Many of the stories are satirical, with a humour that children would understand – for example, the water rat in The Devoted Friend who thinks he’s a literary critic and storms off when he is informed that the story has a moral. I think that adults and children alike would love these stories.

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