The Young King and the Remarkable Rocket
by Oscar Wilde
illustrated by P. Craig Russell
This one was a bit better, for me. Wilde\’s fairy tales continue to sit a bit ill, but are nevertheless some compelling reading. Of course, the awesome illustrations draw me in as well. This volume (no. 2) contains two stories. \”The Young King\” is about a boy king enthralled with beauty- jewels, rich cloth, all sorts of lovely and costly objects. I thought it was going to be a story about greed but instead it turned a different corner. The boy king begins to learn how poor people have suffered and things been destroyed in order to make such riches available to him, and he then cannot bear to wear the robes or jewels. So he goes to his coronation dressed in sheepskin, holding a wooden stick for a scepter, with a crown made of thorns on his head. The court and common people alike are all shocked to see their king dressed so lowly- some in fact don\’t recognize him- and they mock him but he is surrounded by glory. This story again had a very obvious reference to Jesus but I didn\’t mind this time. Probably because it was introduced early in the story and built up gradually, instead of being thrown in suddenly at the end, like I felt with the earlier one.
\”The Remarkable Rocket\” is about a bunch of fireworks being prepared for the celebration of a royal wedding. The rockets are talking amongst themselves and the biggest one of all is haughty and full of himself. He thinks the fanfare is all about him, and he sounds very ridiculous in his bragging and melodrama but in the end no one pays him any attention at all, he doesn\’t even become part of the intended display. I rather liked this one, too. It was amusing and had a very good point. So maybe I will find more of this series, after all…
Rating: 3/5 …….. 48 pages, 1994