cover image The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant

Oscar Wilde, illus. by Jeanne Bowman. Familius, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-64170-126-6

In a modern reimagining of Wilde’s classic tale, schoolchildren find refuge in a beautiful garden, but when a snarling, ginger-haired giant arrives, he angrily chases the children away and builds a “high wall” to keep them out—“He was a very selfish Giant.” But while spring flowers bud beyond the garden, winter persists inside. Bowman personifies the snow and frost as two vulpine figures clothed in garments of snowflakes and ice, the North Wind as an owl with bright blue eyes, and hail as a basket-toting baboon. As the seasons pass, the Selfish Giant hunkers down, wishing for spring; eventually, he hears music outside his window. The children have returned to the garden, now blooming, and the giant knocks down the wall. While Wilde’s unsettling ending and introduction of a Christ-like child bearing “the wounds of love” may prove perplexing for today’s readers, this remains a hopeful—and strangely timely—story about generosity and redemption. Ages 5–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]