cover image The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant

Oscar Wilde. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22448-5

Gallagher's (Moonhorse) eerily stylized paintings lend a haunting resonance to this moralistic tale of a hardened man who learns to open his heart. When the curmudgeonly Giant denies the local children access to his expansive garden, a great chill descends on them all. Winter lingers and spring refuses to scale the garden walls. But the children find a way into the beloved spot and the trees, grateful for the company and attention, begin to bloom. Seeing such beauty, the Giant is transformed and befriends his young neighbors, allowing them free rein. Not long afterward, a special boy appears to escort the old man to Paradise. Wilde's lessons are easily deciphered, though children may be confused by the overt religious imagery at tale's end. The towering but somehow gentlemanly Giant on the book's black-bordered jacket cuts an intriguing and imposing swath. Meanwhile, Gallagher's gallivanting and ghostly-white Snow, Frost and North Wind characters and her warm and golden images of happy children and gorgeous blossoms create plenty of drama. All ages. (Mar.)