The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Every so often a book comes along that changes your life, and The Little Prince is exactly that. The children's book was originally written and quirkily illustrated in 1942 by a French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It tells the story of a pilot who has crash landed in the Sahara Desert and meets a strange young boy who introduces himself as the Little Prince. The Little Prince tells him the story of how he grew up on a tiny asteroid before travelling across the universe from planet to planet before coming to earth.
The Little Prince's experiences, encounters and discoveries are retold with childish innocence, but they give us a profound, philisophical and thought provoking reflection on human nature. The book is rich in allegory, highlighting the strange behaviours and beliefs of mankind, told in a simple yet quite, extraordinary way.
The Little Prince has met many characters on his travels such as a vain, petulant but beautiful rose, which he loves and cares for; a lonely, authority-obsessed king with no-one to rule over; the perpetual streetlamp lighter who spends all day doing his repetitive job; the business who endlessly counts the stars, which he claims to own and the railway switchman stuck in an endless cycle of comings and goings. The prince questions everything and his curious, mysterious reasoning is just so thought provoking that we recognise our own traits and foibles and question ourselves in return. The book is a journey of self-discovery wrapped up in a beautiful, innocent and touching short story. We come to realise that grown-ups are indeed really odd creatures and it is the things we seek with our heart that will bring us true contentment.
The Little Prince is the most translated book of fiction ever, available in 250 languages, and it is one of the top five best selling books ever. If you haven't discovered it already then check out the new translation by Gregory Norminton published by Alma Classics, which is £6.99 in paperback. It includes a section of extra material for young readers and features all the original artwork. The book is aimed at ages 7 - 11, but transcends age restrictions. It's my 19 year old daughter's favourite book and at 46 I love it too.