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Children’s book: The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Whilst reading The Girl From Provence this week, I was intrigued by the inclusion of a real life character, the pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In this, his children’s book, The Little Prince, is used by the resistance to code messages so I thought I would find and read the original 1940s book.
The Little Prince plot centres around a pilot who crashes into the desert (an incident that really happened to Antoine). The pilot meets an alien who tells him stories about his journey to Earth.

The Little Prince book cover

The book is written from the pilot’s first person perspective as he recounts his encounter with the alien and the stories he is told. The tone and style surprised me due to the humour, insight and modern personal narration that I felt was unusual from a book written in 1943.
There are some very powerful messages in the book. I was particularly struck by the narrator’s description of how his childhood art was dismissed as unworthy by adults which resulted in him losing faith in himself. The Little Prince has an innocence about him that is not tainted by the negative elements of adulthood as he ventures to other planets inhabited by drunks, greedy businessmen etc.
The Little Prince is a children’s book but the themes are more suited to age 12+ in my opinion. I enjoyed the audio version and the foreword by the translator, but I wish I had seen the illustrations in a physical copy.

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