[Review] The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Title: The Little Prince (This link goes to Amazon), originally in French: Le Petit Prince
Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated by: T.V.F. Cuffe
Page: 118 pages
Genre: Classics, Children's
Subject: Fable, Philosophy
First Published: Penguin Books (1943)


A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. "Please," asks the stranger, "draw me a sheep." And the pilot realizes that when life's events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out pencil and paper ... Thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed the world forever for its readers. Often seen as a symbol of childhood innocence, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's best-selling book The Little Prince is cherished by children and adults alike across the globe.

- Synopsis from www.bookdepository.co.uk 

My copy of the book is actually a collection of two stories; The Little Prince and Letter to a Hostage. Both works was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry during his wartime exile in the United States. 

The narrator in The Little Prince is a pilot, who after an engine mishap found himself alone and marooned in the solitude on the Sahara desert. There he encounters a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe and eventually lands on the Earth.Through a series of encounters (the king, the conceited man, the drinker, the businessman, the lamplighter, the geographer), he learns the vagaries of adult behavior - from which he concludes - "Grown-ups are very strange/odd/extraordinary."

The Little Prince is obviously a children's fable (with fun drawings included), I think the story speaks for everyone. It makes several profound and idealistic points about life and human nature as well as portraying children's view of the world around them. It is full of symbols, vivid imagery and valuable lessons in life. It reminds me of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. My favorite quote in the book is the one mentioned by a fox, whom the little prince encountered during his voyage:

"You can only see things clearly with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes."

If you appreciate the simple things in life or just want to indulge in a light and fun read, I recommend you this book.

The second story, Letter to a Hostage was written two months before The Little Prince. It contained some of the themes that were to appear in the latter book so it is fitting that both stories are featured together on the same book as this one. While The Little Prince was a children's fable, this one was far more serious - it was about the author's optimistic and humane open letter to a Jewish intellectual hiding in occupied France in 1943 - work that is more fitting to the current situation at that time.

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