Skip to Main Content

Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant

Illustrated by Bill Bell

After seven years, the Giant has nothing left to say to his friend the Cornish ogre, and so he returns home to his castle—only to find that in his absence, the children have been playing in his beautiful garden. At once the selfish Giant builds a high wall to keep the children out of the garden. Winter turns into Spring all over the country—but not in the selfish Giant's garden. Across the country Spring turns into Summer and then to Autumn—but in the selfish Giant's garden, the trees refuse to bloom and the birds refuse to sing; they miss the children. The selfish Giant lies shivering in his large bed while Hail, Snow, North Wind, and Frost dance across the garden. But one morning the Giant hears a beautiful noise—what could it be?

An unexpected ending gives the story a poignant, wistful quality, and Bill Bell's dazzling illustrations breathe new life into this classic tale. And adults familiar with Oscar Wilde's work will enjoy seeing this gentler, softer side of Wilde. The Selfish Giant is a beautiful book for parents and children to read together during any season.

Oscar Wilde is one of the most popular writers of the late nineteenth century. Born in 1854 to Anglo-Irish intelligentsia parents, Wilde was educated at a very young age, quickly becoming trilingual and interested in philosophy. Throughout his career, he wrote many essays, plays, and short stories but only one novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was criticized by contemporary reviewers for its homosexual undertones as well as its themes of self-indulgence and immorality. Although a failure during its time, the novel was later heralded as a classic. His other well-known works include Lady Windmere’s Fan, De Profundis, and The Importance of Being Earnest. At the peak of his career, Wilde was arrested on the grounds of “gross indecency with men,” tried, and sentenced to two years in prison. Upon his release, he was exiled from Britain and never returned. He died in Paris in 1900, impoverished and alone, at the young age of forty-six.

More books from this author: Oscar Wilde

More books from this illustrator: Bill Bell