Monday, April 23, 2012

Books: The Little Prince

The Little Prince
By Antoine De Saint-Expurery
Translated by Richard Howard
Copyright 1943
83 pages

This is not, I think, a children's book, though I suspect it is often considered to be one.

I believe it is an adult fable. It's about loneliness, heartache, and love. Perhaps it is also about finding yourself and how, really, in the end, only you can accomplish that task.

The book has lovely drawings in it, to illustrate the words.

The story begins with a narrator who has grown up and is not an artist. He wanted to be an artist, but he was surrounded by adults who had no imagination.

He would draw a picture of an elephant inside a boa constrictor's body, but the adults all said he was drawing a hat.

So he studied math and geography instead of art, so that he would be doing something useful (we can't be studying liberal arts, you know).

He grows up to be an airplane pilot. He crashes his plane in the desert, and the next day he is startled by the voice of a child. And The Little Prince comes into his life.

The Little Prince comes from another world. He is on a quest, of sorts, and has been to several different planets. Now he is on earth.

His own planet is so small that The Little Prince can see the sun rise or set over 200 times a day, if he only moves his chair. His planet has three volcanoes and one lovely and very selfish flower. The flower is the reason he leaves home.

The story is rich in allegory and pathos. It is truly quite lovely.

You can read this story in its entirety, and see the illustrations, at this link.

2 comments:

  1. You are so right. I read this book to my oldest when he was 3, and delighted in so many of the poignant passages.

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