cover image Stories for Children

Stories for Children

Oscar Wilde. MacMillan Publishing Company, $15 (94pp) ISBN 978-0-02-792765-8

The familiar cast of characters in this handsomely illustrated volume includes kings, princesses, a greedy giant, a penniless gardener and a foolishly lovesick student. Six fable-like stories, first published in 1888, exhibit flashes of the prolific Wilde's wry humor--together with an occasional dollop of moralizing. In ``The Selfish Giant,'' an innocent boy who shows the ogre the error of his ways turns out to be the Christ Child claiming him for Heaven; while ``The Devoted Friend'' celebrates the cleverness of a linnet. The arresting poignancy of ``The Nightingale and the Rose,'' with its lament for the sacrifices of misguided love, cannot fail to captivate. Strangely ill-suited to this collection is ``The Remarkable Rocket,'' a tiresome tale of bickering fireworks that strains even the most fertile of imaginations. Ranging from somber nightscapes to lively fantasies, Lynch's ( Melisande ) elegant paintings perfectly capture the variety of moods in these resonant fictions--ideal for read-aloud enjoyment. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)