The Little Prince is the most wonderful, charming book. I’m not really sure how best to describe it. Though it’s often marketed or portrayed as a children’s book, really I think it’s the kind of story that can be appreciated more by adults. It’s the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meets a strange little boy, who he refers to as ‘The Little Prince’. The Little Prince tells the pilot how he has come from a different planet (asteroid B-612). His home planet is extremely small with three volcanoes (two active, one extinct) and a lovely rose. He has visited many other planets before reaching Earth, and met many strange people and creatures (including a geographer, a drunkard and a fox who wishes to be tamed), and would like the pilot to draw him a sheep which he can take back to his planet to eat all the baobab trees.
It’s a very sweet story, with all kinds of heart-warming, moral messages. My favourite aspect of the story, and a belief I wholeheartedly subscribe to, is the idea that being a grown up is purely a state of mind (which means it can be resisted at will, and I’m resisting as hard as I can). The Little Prince is spoilt and demanding, and really quite precocious, but I love the pilot’s fondness for him, and his desperation to see The Little Prince again. I enjoyed every aspect of the story. I felt like a child again when I read it (again, resisting the urge to grow up), and I liked descriptions of all the different planets and odd encounters (which actually didn’t feel too dissimilar to the form of ancient Greek novels – i.e. exploring unknown lands and documenting the unusual people/creatures along the way). I especially loved the sequence of sheep drawings, and the idea of trusting innocents being able to see the sheep within the box. All of the illustrations were wonderful, and I can see why so many people have cherished this story for so long. The only thing that makes me feel a bit sad is that it’s taken me until twenty four years old to discover it, although I think I probably enjoyed it more at this age than I would have done as a young ‘un (even if I did spend the rest of the afternoon anxiously worrying whether the sheep had eaten the rose or not).
See also My Culture Mission, or read previous Book Review featuring Miranda Hart’s Is it Just Me?