Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Little Prince

Title: The Little Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Genre: Children's book
Published: 1943

Review: I saw this really pretty edition of The Little Prince in the bookstore and decided to buy it on a whim. This is a really gorgeous edition of the book: printed on thick paper, with lots of really cute colored illustrations, a bookmark, and gold-colored page edges.

I know many people for whom this was a classic when they were growing up, but I've never actually read this book until now. I think I've tried once upon a time, but didn't actually get into it and set it aside back then. Today, I just read the whole thing in one sitting and it was a really pleasant experience.

The plot of the story is that the narrator of the story (who is clearly de Saint-Exupéry himself) gets stranded in Sahara dessert because of a plane crash and meets the little prince who is visiting Earth from another planet.

The prince tells the narrator about the rose he cares about on his own planet, various personages he has met in his travels (each of whom is a personification of a human foible), and what the wise fox has taught him. The message is pretty obvious, but the story is told in a touching way with a lot of whimsy, and gives the impression that the author is laughing lightly at the people criticized. I enjoyed the style -- I wonder whether it's faithful to the original French version.

A few quotes I really liked:
Grown-ups never understand anything on their own, and it's a nuisance for children to have to keep explaining things over and over again.
This is my secret. It's very simple. You can only see clearly with your heart. The most important things are invisible to the eyes. 
It's a sign of a good children's book when you can read it as an adult and enjoy it, though I wonder whether I would like it as much when I was a kid. Either way, I am glad I've read it now.

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