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review 2014-12-25 01:31
Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - also Some Holiday Cheesy Film (Links)!
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,Katherine Woods

Well, Saint Exupery, you've made me cry again. Though I don't think I cried in my first reading of this as a child, which tells you something about how differently you read things as an adult I suppose. I did get misty when I saw the movie years ago. But that has everything to do with the Fox being played by Gene Wilder, and also because that bit uses more of the words of the book. (Youtube links further on. Also quotes from the book, of course.)

And look, here I am again referring to the 1970s film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (First time today was here.) Because there's a quote from The Little Prince in that film that I'll post now. Though it's the heart of the book, it's not exactly spoilery since you don't know any of the context:

p 87: "Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

I think one reason Willy Wonka fans still refer to the film is that it was full of great quotes, and when you'd bump into them later in other literature (or the original work) you'd think "ah, that's where that was from!" I'm not sure if I recognized the quote when I first read The Little Prince though. But is is particularly fun that Wilder is the one who says the line in both films. (Again, clips further on.)

For those who haven't read the book:


Wikipedia: The Little Prince (novella)

Wikipedia: Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Saint-Exupery had a fascinating life, so perusing his bio is worth it. Read the wiki on the book for details on possible real life events that inspired it - not that you need to know any of that to enjoy the book.

A short version of the plot, that I've written to sound as book blurby as possible: a pilot crash lands in the Sahara desert and is trying to repair his plane. A boy walks up to him out of nowhere, and asks that the man draw him something. Over the next few days the man pieces together the story of where the boy cames from, and his previous life on a tiny planet the size of a house. However mysteriously the boy has traveled to Earth (details are vague), traveling back to his own planet will be much more difficult.


The actual blurb on the back of my book, which has a black and white photo from the 1974 film under it (again, more on the film later, I know I keep mentioning it!):


"The man can't believe his eyes! A little prince has suddenly appeared in the desert! Where did he come from? Why is he here? Why is he looking for the deadly golden snake? Learn the incredible truth about THE LITTLE PRINCE."

The book is a combination of memoir, pseudo-memoir, fairy tale, surrealism, fantasy, scifi, allegory - and loads of other genres that I'm probably not aware of. As a child it was another fantastic story, only with an author who seemed to be talking to me, and who seemed to understand how children think. I'm not able to put my finger on exactly what I like out of the whole - so as usual I'll just post some quotes that I particularly like and let those speak for themselves. (Except when I feel I must chat about them.)

I think child-me truly fell in love with the book for the first two pages where the author shows how he drew a snake that has swallowed an elephant and all the adults thought it was a picture of a hat. I adored that. But I that bit I can't quote because you need to see the images.

I'm reading this via the same 1975 Scholastic paperback that I used for my first read through. Which is somewhat fun. I didn't realize we still had it - it had been used in my mother's classroom when she taught elementary school, where a lot of the books I wasn't emotionally invested in keeping were loved/read to death. (Not a sad fate.) 


[Look out, I'm about to get all quote happy!]

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