‘The Little Prince’ is the novella written and illustrated by French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The book has been named the best of the 20th century in France and it is the most famous piece by Antoine. This touching 89 pages story is styled as a children’s book; however, the author also makes observation about human nature and the life in general.
The story begins with the narrator elaborating on the nature of an adult life and their incapacity of processing extraordinarily important things. It touches on child-like vulnerability and imagination in terms of perceiving the world we are surrounded by and that the grown-ups are often missing and replacing it with the science and the reasonable things.
The narrator grows up and becomes a pilot, one day after his plane breaks in Sahara Desert he meets a golden-haired boy named ‘The Little Prince’. The Prince starts to describe where he comes from and says that once he lived on his small planet and could watch countless sun-sets and sun-raises a day. He describes spending his earlier days on cleaning volcanos, weeding unwanted seeds and pulling out baobab trees. The Little Prince was very lonely and the only precious thing for him was a rose that he was looking after.
The Prince has visited six other planets before he came to the Earth. Each of these was inhabited by a single, very narrow-minded adult and supposed to criticise an element of society. The people he met there are:
- A king of no one,
- A self-loved narcissist,
- An alcoholic who drinks to forget the shame of being drunk,
- A lamplighter who blindly follows the order of lighting the lamppost on and off every 30 second,
- A geographer that is not well-travelled and never went anywhere, however he recommends to the Prince visit the Earth.
The most famous citation from the little prince is “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”
In my opinion Saint-Exupery’s novel is a timeless masterpiece that stereotypes human behaviour and points out how closed-minded we could be not necessary knowing about it.
The publication has been produced in many variations, but the style and imagery, that the book is accompanied with, is kept consistent throughout all of them. Illustrations designed by Antoine are very simple and look more like for a children’s book. The use of watercolour gives them lightness and softness, but also a child-like vulnerability that makes them really easy to interpret. All of the pictures are well fitted within the story line and are enriching its core. Reading the story without them would be a very different experience, as by looking at them the author draws a picture in our heads, how he wants us to imagine his piece.