I am so excited to share my review of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This book is the most translated work in the French language. I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself.
I have heard of The Little Prince for years, but this was my first time reading the book. I’m not sure what I expected, but this book surprised me in really lovely ways. I was surprised by the plot and even more so by the little prince himself.
This is such a simple book but with complex, compelling themes and ideas.
- This is the type of book you need to read at least twice to really understand it. It’s not long (my edition was under 100 pages) so that’s not too large of a task. It reminds me of The Alchemist because it’s a simple story with a depth of meaning buried within it’s pages.
- I loved the beautiful illustrations that the author created for this story. It’s so childlike and innocent yet says a lot about the power of dreams (de Saint-Exupéry wanted to be an artist as a boy) and art.
- This is a great book to read aloud with kids. It’s not too scary, there’s no violence, and the plot is easy to follow. I’d be curious about the responses my kids would have to this book in a few years. I wonder what they would think about the little prince and his adventures.
According to Goodreads, “Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.”
The little prince himself is simple yet complex. He is simple in his childlike innocence in how he sees his planet and others. On the other hand, he is more complex in the intricacies in how he wants the sheep to be draw and why he is helping his flower. I was surprised that he is from another planet yet he seems so human. In fact, he is rather wise about life on any planet. I loved his childlike explanations of his journey visiting other small planets and the interesting characters he met there. The king, the business man, the lamp lighter, and others all had a lesson to teach the little prince and me as a reader. I think I could devote a blog post to each of those encounters. And I’m sure I would still miss details. Throughout the novel, I felt an emotional connection to the little prince much like the narrator did. It is a talented author indeed that can build that sort of emotion in such a small novel.
Everything was presented so simply in this book. The story was simple. The characters are simple. Even the ending is simple. But it seems to all have a depth of emotion and meaning that would take me several more times reading to understand. I’m sure there were several parts that I didn’t completely understand. But there were others that I loved and many quotes I wanted to write down. I think the value of a book like this is especially in the ways readers can experience the same story in different ways–as a simple fairy tale for children, as a commentary on society, as an experiment about identity, and many more possibilities. Simple? Perhaps that’s the wrong word after all.
The ending was both satisfying and unsatisfying for me. I was left wanting more from the little prince. I wanted to hear more about his journey, more about his flower, more about his volcanoes and if the sheep liked its new home with him. But it also fit that we have to use our imaginations to know what happens to him. I like the way this book augments reality and leaves room for belief in magic and space travel and other-worldly experiences. I like that the ending leaves another visit with the little prince open, and I am left hoping to see him one day myself.
A book for children, a book for adults, a book for us all.
What did you think of The Little Prince?
What other allegorical novels have you enjoyed?