Having never read this as a child I came across this book on Amazon and decided it was time I acquainted myself with The Little Prince. I am now very glad that I met him.
This is a book that I think can be read by anyone of any age, and people will take different things away based upon their age and experience of life. It can be read as a simple story of an explorer who meets a young boy in the desert and spends time learning about his life, or for an older reader it is a complex allegory of love and loss and a meditation on humanity. What everyone can take away is the simple and lyrical style of writing combined with beautiful watercolour illustrations.
For me, it was interesting to discover more about the author’s own background, at which point the pilot/narrator becomes a more obvious interpretation of the author himself, though he also has facets of the prince’s character. And given the era in which this was written (1943) it is easy to see some references to the rise of Nazism in the baobab trees that will destroy the planet if they are not faced.
But the real heart of the book for me is that it is a meditation on life, love, and death and how we must face these things to thrive. In particular the story of the prince and his rose is a lovely lesson is seeing in to the heart of things and beyond the superficial, that vanity and words can be used to hurt and hide away from real feelings. And equally important as a lesson is the final understanding on facing death and moving on from that – something that is capable of still upsetting me as I write these words…
This is not a book that takes time to read, but the words and imagery will stick with you long after it has been read. For those with children this might be a good book to read with them and then to discuss the meanings and symbolism.