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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated from French, is a touching, amusing and sharply observant tale loved by both adults and children the world over. This is a tale with many hidden morals in it, told beautifully in its simplicity, with simple but endearing illustrations to go with it.
The story begins with the narrator telling us of his childhood dream to become an artist, which was dashed by criticism from 'grown ups' who were unable to appreciate his art. From the start of the book we are introduced to the folly of fixed ideas and a narrow mind, as the narrator gives up his passion for drawing and becomes a pilot instead. He keeps the original drawing that was rejected by the grown ups to use as a test on other people - when a person cannot appreciate it for what it is, the narrator knows to 'talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties.'
On one of his many journeys our narrator's plane crashes in the Sahara desert, where he is awoken suddenly by a very small person's demand to 'draw him a sheep'. This is how we are introduced to the little prince, and the rest of the book is about their exchanges, which are often funny and sometimes starkly profound. The two decide to travel together to various different planets, and without giving anything away I will mention that each planet harbours a single individual- a grown up- who is going about his business, yet who is clearly missing something in life. We see the folly of our own ways through the eyes of the little prince, who asks poignant questions regarding the busy occupations of each of the men.
Although this story is told very simply, there are many levels to it. On the one hand it is about appreciating the little things in life, and about friendship, and love, and life beyond death. On the other hand it is a profoundly poignant lesson in meditation, a sharp look at ourselves as human beings, perhaps now even more than in the 40s when Saint-Exupéry wrote the book, since the roads of men have only grown longer and busier in that time.
Some of my favourite quotes in this book have stayed with me for life. Occasionally I remember suddenly 'It is such a secret place, the land of tears', or 'And all roads lead to the abodes of men', and the teachings of the little prince come back to me as if he was some Buddha or spiritual guide.
The Little Prince is a reminder of the important things in life, and once the reader settles into reading it he may find it to be beautifully zen and refreshing for the mind (as I did). The prince offers us a fresh perspective on the way we live and think, and in this way he offers us a second chance. You can choose to immerse yourself in your work, continue rushing here and there, or you can pause for a moment and consider a flower, or the stars, or your own insignificance. And we know deep down that we'd certainly be better off doing those things, than becoming grown ups.
Whilst tidying the book cupboard at home, I found this small book titled "The Little Prince". I had heard about this before and how amazing people say it is, so immediately turned to the first page and to read.
The cover is beautifully illustrated and colourful so definitely something that will catch people's eye and likely to attract. For me, it is the title itself, and the well known name of the book; the cover illustration is secondary.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
A pilot is stranded in a desert and comes across a glowing yellow boy who he calls the little prince. The pilot is told to draw a sheep for the little boy and subsequently stays with the boy and listens to his stories and how he came to Earth, the people he has met and the things he has seen.
I know there is meant to be some sort of message or insight that comes through this book which isn't immediately obvious, but as you start to progress through it comes to you slowly. After reading the whole thing, I don't really feel any different; perhaps slightly mesmerised but the messages will slowly come to you.
The subtlety in the story is fantastic, and whilst it is classed as junior fiction, I think it will be the teens and adults that will get the most from this book. Personally as a young adult, this book is perhaps most meaningful as I am going through a transition into adult hood.
The book itself isn't astonishingly gripping, and I would say it was quite easy to put down, but once you do get to the end, the book will grip you as having some personal meaning and everyone can get something different from it.
The book can be purchased for under £5 in most book stores and online. We picked ours up from a charity shop years ago for about £1.
I would say I enjoyed the book overall and it is nicely presented and easy to read. The illustrations are also charming and it can provide multiple reads so it is definitely worth it. The best part is the messages that come through and a personal response is evoked. A classic tale indeed.
On opening this book at the first page, I was immediately enchanted. The narrator draws us into the world of the Little Prince, just as he himself is drawn into it, through language that is simple yet magical, drawings that are rudimentary yet beautiful. The Little Prince's commentaries on the world of "grown-ups" open our eyes to the "strangeness" of our day-to-day lives. He helps us to reconsider our priorities, and shows us that the "grown-up" viewpoint is not necessarily the sensible one. He questions the value we place on money, power, and status, which for him are bewildering trivialities. For him, beauty and truth are all that matter, and this is expressed in flowing and bewitching prose, particularly in the original French. This book has changed my perspective on life, and is refreshing to anyone jaded or disillusioned with the daily grind. The Little Prince reminds us that there are far ore important things. This is an essential read: it will make you cry with sorrow, with joy, and for the beauty both of the story and of the everyday things in which the Little Prince reveals it.
This is a beautiful book, written superbly for children....If I remember rightly Saint Euxupery wrote this book based on his hallucinations in the dessert when he crashed his plane - I believe that the "adult" version of this book is called terre des hommes.
Anyway, back to the book in hand....I have managed to convince many people to read this book in the last year or so, there are two different opinions you can get from this book, the opinion you have as a child under 10 and the opinion you get once you hit 17 or so....
...I first read this book as a child, and thought it was wonderful, it felt like reading a grown up book, the way it was written was wonderful, it almost understood a childs point of view...the characters to me where amazing, a flower that lives in a glass, the little prince on his tiny plant that watches the sun set all day, just by swivling his chair round! superb!
....I later read this book when I was about 17/18 in french, how it was originally written, and could not believe what a masterpiece it was, I now buy it when any of my friends have children (the need to have this book) and if any of my friends are feeling down, or I want to give them a particularly wonderful gift.
Reading the book as an "adult" you get even more from it, you realise that all these weird and wonderful characters are representing something in life, the book is written in such a wonderful innocent manner, from a childs point of view - take the first page, there is a picture of what appears to be a hat - the author asks the adults what they see and if they are afraid, and the adults wonder why they should be afraid of a hat - later he draws a picture of the animal "open" and it turns out that it is a picture of a boa constrictor that has eaten an elephant!!!! This first page just reminds us of the innocence and imagination that we have lost, as you read more and more of the book, he inspires your imagination and starts to make you look at things differnently.
I should stop boring you now, this review is almost as long as the book itself, all I can say is that this book inspires both the young and the old alike and I never thought that you could learn so much from a childs book, and really opens your eyes to the innocence and imagination that we loose as we go through life, brilliantly heart warming, it makes you cry because it is so sweet, so true, so sad and so beautiful....
The story is basically the adventures of the little prince, and the relationship that develops between the author and the prince (his hallucination) and what the author starts to learn from the prince...there is not much to tell story wise, it is more the little scenarios that occur and all the different characters that you meet along the way!
...what more can i say....buy it & if you have a good standard of french buy the french version, it is so much more beautiful!
The book is a unique work of art, as it provides the reader with the unique point of view of a child that sees the world through the eyes of innocence.The child is full of healthy curiosity about everything that surrounds him and he is not only a passive listener to people's opinions, but also an active member of the world, following his heart that strives for Beauty."The Little Prince"is a journey through people's lives, where in every stopping place the reader together with the prince meets a different character with different goals, opinions and obsessions.The dialogues in this book, apart from enriching the story with a strong sense of liveliness, invite the reader to take the place of the Little Prince and see the world with that certain degree of innocence that is free of prejudices and solid evaluations, but full of sympathy and kindness towards everyone's desire to narrate his own story. This book teaches us how to bear a healthy attitude towards the peculiarities that characterize every individual of this world.
Here should be the bedside book of any human being concerned not to miss its passage on Earth. There is the Bible and there is the Little Prince. It is often said that the main sentence of this book is "the essential is invisible for the eyes". It is true, but to my opinion, we don’t grant to this sentence the direction the author wanted to give. Saint-Exupery doesn’t give instruction or rule of life. He notes and helps us to do so. He notes that our perception of the world depends entirely on our heart. Each page, each line repeats us this report in different words: the elephant in the boa, the sheep in the box, the flower and the garden, not the laughing cow but the laughing stars. You’ll see what I mean once you’ll start the reading. And Saint-Exupery managed to write a simple tale and to communicate us his treasure of simple and deep wisdom he accumulated during the years. It is purely wonderful to enter his thoughts and in a way being part of his life for a short while. It is a story touching reality nobody wants to admit. Written like a story for children, the Little Prince is a message of Saint-Exupery impregnated of bitterness but fully addressed to the adults. It’s well known story. It is about a naïve and innocent walking from planet to planet and meeting different people. Progressively, the Little Prince learns how to appreciate what he sees in each one of these people, either good or bad. Something many of us still find difficult to do. Approaching people is one thing but truly value them for what they are or what they do is another deal. What is also interesting is the fact Saint-Exupery wrote this book when going through a depression. Apparently his editor advised him to write a tale for children. However, after having written the Little Prince, Saint Exupery made apologies to the children because he had not written a story for them but a warning for a
dults. The Little Prince has no name or first name. He is a Little Prince like the title of the book says. He is a Prince with little importance reigning on a planet made up to his dimensions. It is however difficult to draw a line in the case of this book. I mean that I would be tempted to refer it as a myth and not a tale but it is actually a bit of both: A tale is about the destiny of one individual, the myth is about the destiny of humanity. So if we try to put this into a sensitive and evident order, this is what will come out and I hope something clear to your eyes: #The hero of a tale – in this case the Little Prince – has no name, because he is common and so that each one can identify to him #The hero of a myth is clearly defined, it’s a singular being >The hero of the tale gains a microscopic and familiar victory >The mythical hero gains a triumph to a universal level: he brings back from his adventures a general message addressed to the whole world. Here is the main difference between tale and myth. The no name Little Prince treats great existential questions; then he takes cosmic dimensions; and finally he bathes in an indefinable and unspecified atmosphere, worrying and distressing. The Little Prince is attached to the tale by his microscopic side and to the myth by the great lessons he delivers. For me definitely a 5*.
At the simplest level, The Little Prince is the story of a pilot whose plane has crashed in the Sahara Desert. There he meets an "extraordinary small person", the little prince, who shares stories about his travels in the following days they spend in the desert, as the narrator attempts to repair his plane. Like all the best children's books (and I would question if this one is actually intended for children at all), the story deals with deep themes and is ultimately an incredibly moving allegory on friendship, love and death. The narrator begins by explaining how as a child, and later as an adult, he realised that most 'grown-ups' (the scathing term used throughout the book) were too 'concerned with matters of consequence' to understand anything that was beautiful or true. He uses some wonderfully cutting examples to portray the gulf between the day-to-day prosaic matters that adults are focused on, and the magical, spiritual world of the child. The narrator (like all of us?) has learnt to put away childish things and 'bring himself down' to the level of the grown-ups, in order to be accepted by society. When the mysterious prince appears from nowhere, we learn that he comes from another planet, such a tiny one that he can circumnavigate it in only a few steps. This enables him to enjoy his rather melancholy pleasure - watching the sunset - as many times a day as he wishes. He has only to move his chair back a few paces. His main concern is the care and tending of his flower, a rose - to us a rather scheming if vulnerable creature - to him the most important thing in the universe. The narrator recognises a kindred spirit. The question is, has he spent too long among the grown-ups to be able to truly relate to his new friend? As the pilot struggles with his life-and-death effort to mend the plane, the little prince describes his journeys on other planets. The author uses his descriptions of t
he characters he meets: a king, a drunk, a businessman etc., and the prince's innocent reactions to them, to further satirise the ultimately pointless preoccupations of humanity. "The grown-ups are certainly very, very odd." Then the prince comes to Earth. He meets the sinister golden snake who talks in riddles, but also promises to solve them all with it's venom. Most shatteringly for the prince, he finds a garden containing thousands of roses. Having believed his rose to be the only one in existence, this discovery shakes him terribly, until he meets the fox (in probably my favourite part of the novel), who asks the little prince to tame him. The fox is something of a philosopher, who understands what makes a friendship special, and what makes a loved-one unique in all the world. The prince is reassured that his flower, however proud, vain or manipulative we may find her, deserves his devotion and love because of the unseen bonds that tie them together. I'll leave it for you to find out, if you want to, whether the little prince returns to his planet, and if the pilot escapes from the desert. Before the book ends, both narrator and reader have been reminded of some important truths we often forget - that work makes pleasures sweeter, that it is the time we waste over things that makes them precious, that terrible things grow from tiny seeds if we are not vigilant to root them out, and that life is too short to bother with 'matters of consequence'. The author's illustrations complement the story perfectly. Very simple and slightly naive, without being mawkish. In a nice piece of self-reference, the little prince pokes fun at them during the book (they are the sketches the narrator has made during their time in the desert). The final illustration consists of only three lines, but manages to have heartbreaking connotations because of the skillful and subtle build-up of feeling the author achieves. I hope I have managed to put across some of the emotion and magic that this story contains. Some of the ideas and images may sound sentimental or twee, and in other hands I'm sure they could be, but the author's lightness of touch and sincerity transport a simple story into something that will stay with you for a long time. I must have read this book about twenty times, and each time find myself moved, gripped, and usually in tears by page 89! This book is now available in the Wordsworth classics series for the sum of **£1**. So no excuses, for the price of a pint you could get this, and a box of tissues too.
The little prince is, paradoxically, an extremely famous book which many people reading this will not have heard of. It is a delightful story, which was originally written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery in 1943. He did not live to see it translated into English and published here the following year, for he died in 1944. Yet despite this, he is a national figure in France. He wrote many other books and essays, and during the occupation of France he was exiled to America, where he wrote this book, but he flew as a reconnaissance pilot, winning three 'Croix de Guerre'. He also had successes as an inventor, and made long distance flight record attempts amongst other things: yet he is most famous for the Little Prince. You may have seen a picture of the little prince himself already, as he also resides upon the 50 franc note, alongside his author. (The sleeve notes of one version of this story say that the 50 franc note is known as the 'Saint-Ex' apparently!) Those of you who studied French to a higher level than I did may have been introduced to the story in its native language, but for those who haven't, I want you to be able to do so now. Antoine de Saint-Exupery was, as his sleeve notes will tell you, a 'novelist and professional air pilot'. It adds to the closeness of the story then, to find that the narrator and co-star of the story is himself an 'air pilot' who crash lands in the middle of the Sahara desert. At sunrise on the first morning of his time in the desert, he is surprisingly woken from his sleep by the voice of a boy who demands that the pilot should draw him a sheep! This is the Little Prince, and he fascinates the pilot with his curiosity and his tales of the planet he came from (Asteroid B-612 we are told, for the sake of the grown ups who find such details important). He tells stories that show his innocence and his character, particularly those of his love for a flower which he strives
to protect, despite its vanity and haughtiness towards him, which eventually lead to his journey away that ended in the desert. However, as time passes, he longs to return to his home and his flower, just as the pilot longs to return home. Yet how can the Little Prince make such a journey..? The ending is very moving, and is guaranteed to stir something in the heart of every reader. I would like to describe it in further detail here, but for the sake of those who do not yet know the story, I can not spoil it. The book does not start with the story itself however. It begins with a tale from the narrator of Boa Constrictors. This may seem odd, but if I were to tell you all about it, it would spoil the surprise for you. Suffice to say, it tells you a lot about the power of imagination that children have, but is gradually extinguished by the time most reach adulthood. That, fundamentally, is one of the most important ideas contained within this book. It is covered again at the end in a different manner, perhaps for us adults, because, as the book says, "grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be forever explaining things to them" This is a book of imagination, joy and delight, with so many poignant and touching stories and ideas in it that it becomes difficult not to quote them all. "It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Oops- see what I mean? I own two different versions of this book- the original translation by Katherine Woods (Piper, 1945) and the more recent translation by Alan Wakeman (Pavilion, 1995) with additional illustrations by Michael Foreman. The latter claims to be a better and more definitive version- the language is obviously different, but I didn't feel that the language in the original translation caused a problem. While it may have been harder to read for younger children, part of this seems also du
e to its age too. I thought the newer version was just as good, though I enjoyed the extra illustrations by Foreman. Thankfully, the beautiful, simplistic original artwork by Exupery is still retained, as the simplicity is part of the appeal of the book, in the writing and the illustrations. This is a book for children, but also for adults. Younger children may like to hear the story, finding the Prince funny and odd, though they may miss the finer points of his messages. Older children will begin to appreciate the story at new levels; as with many great stories, it operates on varied levels simultaneously. Grown up children will probably love it best for the reasons I have described here. The wonderful closeness of the two characters is portrayed beautifully, and the helpless dismay I felt as the portents of the end of the story suddenly became apparent was crafted so well, you really felt for the Prince and the pilot. There was a film made of this book too. It was made in the mid 1970's, and featured Gene Wilder, Joss Ackland and Victor Spinetti. I saw it a while ago, and it was quite good, but I felt a little disappointed, because it wasn't as good as it was in my imagination when I read the book. But then, I believe that could be just proving something of the point made by the Little Prince at the start of the book...... Get this book. Read it. Tell me you liked it.I have no doubt you will . Go on then . One more.. " 'You are a funny animal', he said at last.'You are no thicker than a finger..' 'But I am more powerful than the finger of a king' said the snake........'I can carry you further than any ship could take you...' "