The Little Prince

The narrator is a pilot who finds himself lost in the desert with a broken plane. The little prince approaches looking for a friend as he travels across planets. Oddly at first, the little prince asks the pilot to draw him a sheep. Throughout their time together, the little prince explains how he leaves his planet behind because of a vain rose that he did not understand but most likely has grown to love. In his travels, the little prince visits a vain man who only hears compliments about himself, a king who takes pride on giving falsely reasonable orders, a businessman who claims that he owns the stars, an ashamed alcoholic, a tired lamplighter, and a geographer who never leaves his desk to explore. The little prince learns what it is like to create friendships with others, including a fox, and begins to mourn the loss of his little planet with his volcanoes and plentiful sunsets. In the end, he returns home through an intentional and poisonous snakebite (an implied suicide).

Although many have tried, I do not think that I could possibly recommend this title for a particular age group except suggesting ten years old and up. The Little Prince, originally translated from French, has something for every generation. His purposeful death has many interpretations and although there is mention of drinking, this book is still suited for children. Some of the commentary may be abstract, even for teens, but the text and pictures tell a sweet and thoughtful story about exploration. Netflix took liberties to add a more juvenile plot in their animated movie. The playful, funny, and intuitive illustrations emphasize the importance of childhood. Readers quickly learn that the narrator does not have high opinions of grown-ups who are lost in their wealth and work. A story about love and finding meaning and happiness in life, The Little Prince is surely a heartfelt classic that takes on new meaning every time that I read it.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and translated by Richard Howard (Harcourt, Inc. 2000); originally published in 1943

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