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4.6 out of 5 stars102
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2011
If you have never read these stories before, then you must NOW. I discovered them in my late teens (I'm nearly 70 now) and now, long after my paperback copy has fallen apart, to have them on my fantastic Kindle means I can enjoy them at 'the touch of a switch'! They make me laugh and cry in equal amounts. Enjoy!!!
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on 27 October 2002
My two year old got this book as a birthday present. It was quite advanced and I didn't read it for months. When I did, under pressure from my daughter, I was sure that she would lose interest half way through. Somehow she didn't. The Oscar Wilde story is beautifully told, with lovely use of language and repetition "Swallow, swallow, little swallow' etc. The illustrations are magical. Jane Ray uses lots of gilt and so for the adult reader, every page is magical. I can read and reread this story and my daughter seems to know that it is my favourite book as when she is being especially sweet she picks it out for her nighttime read. It is for a more mature child though, I would recommend it for a five year old who enjoys language and detailed pictures.
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on 6 January 2012
These nine short stories by Oscar Wilde are most wonderful. I have read them several times, at long intervals, and they never pale or lose their magic. I feel that the trgic life of the author is, in a way, reflected in these morality tales in that he obviously put a great deal of himself into his fiction. "The Birthday of the Infanta" is quite heartbreaking. Oscar originally told these tales to his own two young sons, Vyvyan and Cyril, but in my opinion they are not suitable for very young children as much of the point of the stories is rather advanced.
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on 7 August 2001
The happy prince was my favourite book when I was little and still is now. It is about a statue of a prince that died and he is always happy, one day a sparrow fell in love so didn't set off to Egypt with his fellow friends, when he set off later than the rest, he got tired and stayed under the statue for shelter. he notices the prince is crying and the prince tells him because he sees the poor and poorly people, so the sparrow helps the prince to try and make these people happy. I enjoyed the book and find it a moving tale.I recommended this book to all ages.
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on 31 December 2012
I first read this stories as a wee kid. They moved me to tears then, and now as a gruff tough Scottish Bloke they can still move me to tears. These are wonderful stories. If you don't have tears rolling down your cheeks after reading The Happy Prince - you may well be dead. These tales are not just for children. They are for everybody with a heart which can still break. Beautiful stuff.
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on 21 December 2014
I totally agree with all the other reviewers but want to add - which is why I am adding my recommendation here - my admiration for Anton Lesser's narration which I first heard on radio and was wonder struck.

I also have the Gielgud version of the stories on 2 CDs from Nimbus - and while Gielgud can't be touched in Shakespeare, where he did much and many fine readings for Caedmon (Harper-Collins as it is now) but Anton Lesser is far more accomplished in these simple direct tales. I also think the music selections are more appropriate - in particular the choice of Tchaikovsky's broken heart music from his Serenade for Strings mirrors sensitively the story of the golden hearted prince.

Long practice and hard work conveying and bringing to life the Victorian world of Charles Dickens' novels and characters has burnished his voice and characterisations across a wide range so he can fearlessly and effortlessly bring out the different voices in Oscar Wilde's tales. All this experience in simple direct story telling pays off handsomely.

Above all this, there is in Lesser's voice a burning sincerity, and enthusiasm in his narration, whereas Gielgud seems to me to be rather veiled and reticent - even distant and disinterested. Certainly there is a far greater tone of commitment in Lesser's work.

This version is the one to get - and its down to the art and artistry of Anton and the genius of Oscar. Totally enchanting.
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on 13 April 2011
(NB this is a review of the Everyman's Classic edition!) In a world of kindles it is ever more important that children learn to engage with books as things of beauty, to be treasured as objects as well as doors to other worlds. This Everymans Classics series bids fair to do just that. The books are nicely made with glowing cloth covers and lovely pictures on the cover. They feel good to handle and will be the highlight of many a bookshelf. Well done Everyman!
As for the Happy Prince - of course every child should read him and every adult re-read him. The stories, while full of beautiful images, have such an acute ability to tell us about the cruelty of the world and the consolations life offers. The image of the Happy Prince, stripped of his finery and the dead sparrow at his feet never fails to make me come over all weepy!
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This Penguin 60s booklet contains four short stories written by Oscar Wilde for his own children: The Happy Prince, The Young King, The Devoted Friend and The Model Millionaire. In The Happy Prince, we earn that the prince of the title was always happy, enjoying life's pleasures, unaware of the pain and hardship in his town until he no longer had the power to do anything about it. That is, until a migrating swallow came along. In The Young King, we encounter a king with a love of finery, about to be crowned, clothed in the finest raiment, rubies for his crown of gold and pearls for his sceptre all the product of hard labour, suffering and death of his people. He is unaware of the suffering until it is shown to him in dreams, after which he teaches a lesson to his nobles. An excellent quote: "In war the strong make slaves of the weak and in peace the rich make slaves of the poor." In The Devoted Friend, a moral tale of a Miller and his friend, Little Hans, is told by a Linnet to a Water-rat, with predictable result. And in The Model Millionaire, a delightful fate awaits poor, romantic Hughie Erskine when he bestows his last pennies on a beggar. Charming tales.
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on 22 August 2014
The book I read was bought 2nd hand from a book shop.

This is one of those timeless classics that can be read by adults or too children.
I loved this book and I loved all the stories within it, but I couldn’t help noticing a recurring theme throughout.
There seems to be an extraordinary lack of faith in humans. Most of these tales contain hard and unfeeling characters that disregard the fragile feelings of others. Some are moral tales, the recurring moral being that life is tough and people are tougher. Sometimes the moral seems to be that ignorance is bliss.
Perhaps this is just my interpretation of it.
This book portrays the harsh reality of people, there is no fluffy story telling and some of the stories are downright heartbreaking.
The tale of the happy prince and The Nightingale and Rose are very poignant and leave you wanting to cry out,
“No! This cannot be!”
The stories themselves are beautifully written I would recommend that anyone should read these stories, young or old.
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on 5 October 2015
The story is a classic - I just wasn't terribly impressed by the copy of the book. Yes it was new but it was more like a fancy pamphlet than a book. The layout was poor and the font looked very Microsoft word. Could have printed a more inspiring copy myself. I had hoped there might be illustrations too but the whole thing was incredibly basic.
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