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Fiction

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

From this picture what did you see?

Make a guess while I continue the review…

It starts as a very playful, fanciful story: the adult narrator is disillusioned with the world of grown-ups, because whenever he shows them a picture he drew of a boa constrictor that had eaten an elephant, everyone thinks it is a hat. But one day, when he crashes his plane in the Sahara, he encounters a little boy in the middle of the desert who not only recognises the drawing for what it is, but claims he came from an asteroid. As the narrator gets to know the boy more, he pieces together his history.

Unfortunately, the little prince’s story is not without sadness. He has left behind a rose he cares about very much, and his travels since then have left him lost on the Earth, a planet much larger and more bewildering than the asteroids he is used to.

He then hops from one asteroid to another, meeting men who are conceited, drunk, business man going about “matter of consequence”, yet the little prince can’t find his rose.

The fox that the little prince met is truly a wise one as many wisdom sprout out of him:

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed” and “It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes your rose so important.”

The Little Prince is about what truly matters in life and the one person that you love in life.

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses….

“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you – the rose that belong s to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; ….because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.” – page 68

“The desert is beautiful,” the little prince added

and that was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dunes, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams..

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…..” – page 73

I haven’t read this book before but it was my other half’s favourite childhood story. Perhaps I have become the adult that was described in this book and fail to understand very quickly the beauty of the parable but if there is anything that I should take away from this little story it is that sometimes we should learn to see our lives through a little child’s eye, then we will learn to see something new and learn to appreciate life a little more.

Perhaps then we will see that the picture of a hat is actually a boa swallowing an elephant!

I love this painting of the Baobab trees

About the book:

Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, selling over a million copies per year with sales totaling over 200 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.

Saint-Exupéry, a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and a reserve military pilot at the start of the Second World War, wrote and illustrated the manuscript while exiled in the United States after the Fall of France. He had travelled there on a personal mission to convince its government to quickly enter the war against Nazi Germany. All of the novella’s simple but elegant watercolour illustrations, which were integral to the story, were painted by Saint-Exupéry. He had studied architecture as a young adult but nevertheless could not be considered an artist—which he self-mockingly referred to in the novella’s introduction.

To understand a little more about the metaphor and symbols that are told in this book inspired by real person in the author’s life, read The Little Prince.

About the author:

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, officially Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry (29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944, Mort pour la France), was an aristocrat French writer, poet and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars.

Saint-Exupéry’s last assigned reconnaissance mission was to collect intelligence on German troop movements in and around the Rhone Valley preceding the Allied invasion of southern France (“Operation Dragoon”). Although he had been reinstated to his old squadron with the provision that he was to fly only five missions, on 31 July 1944, he took off in an unarmed P-38 on his ninth reconnaissance mission from an airbase on Corsica. To the great alarm of the squadron compatriots who revered him, he did not return, dramatically vanishing without a trace. Word of his disappearance shortly spread across the literary world and then into international headlines.

Paperback. Publisher: Egmont 2009; Length: 91 pages; Source: Westminster Library copy. Finished reading at: 15th April 2012.

Have you read the book? What do you think about it?

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books.

Discussion

13 thoughts on “The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  1. I’m afraid to say it’s one of my favorites also! And not from childhood – from adulthood!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | April 30, 2012, 10:59 pm
    • Jill, It’s funny that it often took so long for our English Speaking world to pick up on French stories. I almost feel ashamed I haven’t read it until now!

      Posted by JoV | May 1, 2012, 8:14 am
  2. It’s one of my favorites too, from adolescence! I didn’t read it as a little kid, but I loved it when I read it in (in but not for) high school. I don’t know, it’s just a charming, sweet book. Everything about it charms me. I have a fondness for fables.

    Posted by Jenny | May 1, 2012, 11:35 pm
  3. I loved it Jov ,although of his books prefer night mail just a gem this one thou great one for all youngsters I think ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | May 3, 2012, 11:24 pm
  4. I keep meaning to read this book, and it is sitting on my shelf right now in French. I don’t know how much I’ll get of it, but I mean to try!

    Posted by amymckie | May 28, 2012, 2:56 pm
  5. This is a classic too for me as an African children’s and young people’s writer. Why? Because I believe that children’s stories should have a grain of wisdom that will see them through experience. I’m not a moralist though.
    With the help of IBBY Finland, we have introduced this book to rural children on Lake Victoria, Kenya. But domesticating it for a full understanding by African–hey, it happens on an African Desert–is also needed Part of my book, Adventure through the Great Desert Kingdom has been inspired or influenced–I don’t know which– by The Little Prince. In my blog, Osiri Beach Waves, I post an excerpt chapter: The Prince, the Fox and the Snake. You could have a look.

    Posted by Adrian Onyando | August 11, 2012, 4:32 pm
  6. The Little Prince has been the number one top book in my life since I first read it at age 11.
    It’s become even more of a treasure to me as I’ve gotten older.
    I’m now 62 and The Little Prince is still to me, THE most important book I’ve ever read.

    Posted by Kitty West | May 15, 2013, 4:45 pm
  7. I’m a latecomer to this book, although I was aware of the boa constrictor that ate the elephant many years prior. One of the advantages of working in a library is that it exposes one to a wide range of reading materials: no financial commitment is necessary to read. I hope to buy new (or good second-hand) copies for myself (because I know I will read it again…and again) and my friend’s daughter. How I wished I’d known about adults as a child; it would have made my life much easier!

    Posted by Jenny d'Arcy | August 28, 2013, 5:24 am
  8. Reblogged this on The Silent Angels and commented:
    Lee gives this to Casey to read while he is away in the evenings

    Posted by the nomadic angels | March 10, 2014, 10:44 pm

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  1. Pingback: It’s a wrap! April 2012 « JoV's Book Pyramid - May 1, 2012

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

2013 Reading Challenge

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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