'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Review: The Little Prince

There are books that are engaging. There are books that are amusing. There are books that are memorable. And then, there are books that are sublimely serendipitous.

I recently rediscovered the classic tale of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. The Little Prince is an intergalactic story comprised of planetary follies, the love of a rose and a mysterious friendship between a pilot and prince.

The Little Prince occupies a tiny asteroid called B612 inhabited by three volcanoes, weed-like Baobab trees and a high maintenance rose. The Little Prince diligently tends to his planet and finds solace in sunsets.
One day, spurned by the vanity of his rose, the Little Prince sets out on a journey that shows him the complexities of adults. Along the way, he encounters a King who rules nothing, a drunk that drinks to forget and a businessman who counts “those little golden things that make lazy people daydream”. Each meeting furthers the Little Prince’s frustration with grown-ups until his fated and surprising friendship with a human stranded in a desert.

The Little Prince mocks the blindness of grown-ups, however it is his own near-sightedness of love that leaves the Little Prince lonely. It is not until he meets an insightful fox that he empathizes with his pilot companion and begins to understand the significance of his tiny home on B612.

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me..."

In the end, the Little Prince concludes that “anything essential is invisible to the eyes” however it is the heart that truly sees everything. 

Title: The Little Prince

Author: Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Translated by: Richard Howard
Illustrator: Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Publisher: Harcourt Books
Format: Paperback
Language: French (original) Translated to English
ISBN: 9780152023980
For ages: 7+
Type: Junior Fiction