Happy Birthday, Little Prince!

The Little Prince (M) is 70! Can you believe it? There is a debate that this is just a children’s book but I say pshaw.

It is one of my all time favourite books, one that can be read (or read to) at any age. At each age (and re-reading) you will discover something new that will touch your heart.

First published in April of 1943 in New York, this slim book has sold over 150 million copies worldwide. It has been voted the best book of the 20th century in France. The novella is one of the most read and translated books in the french language, having been translated in over 250 languages and dialects (you should see the braille edition, it is wonderful). It is also one of the very few modern novels that have been translated into Latin. It has also been transformed into plays, audio recording, stage, ballet and operatic works.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a writer, poet and an impoverished aristocrat and pioneering aviator. He was a successful commercial pilot before WWII when he joined the French Air Force. He flew reconnaissance mission until 1940. After being demobilized he flew to North America where he spent 27 months. During this time he wrote three of his most famous works. He joined Free French Air Force after this time even though he was far older than the maximum age for such pilots. He disappeared during one of his missions in July 1944 and is believed to have died.

For those who do not know this wonderful book it is the tale of a pilot who crash lands in the desert. There he encounters a young boy who he calls the Little Prince. The Little Prince has fell to earth from a tiny asteroid, B-612. Over eight days the pilot tries to repair his plane. During this time the Little Prince tells him the story of his life. His tiny home planet is the size of a house which has three volcanoes and various plants, one of which is a very vain rose. The Little Prince had traveled to six other asteroids discovering different foolish and narrow minded adults on each of them. When he lands on earth he believes it to be empty since he lands in the desert. There he encounters things that affects his life and in turn the life of the pilot.

That is a summary of the book but it is oh so much more. It is a tale of philosophy, satire, wonder, magic, and yet also a simple tale to make one realize “it is only with the heart one can see rightly”.

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