Friday, July 12, 2013

Review Me Twice: Le petit prince by Antoine de St.-Exupery

As I mentioned yesterday, I read this book in French for this review. It takes considerably longer (for me, anyway) than reading it in English, but I like being able to keep the phrasing intact. Most of it is still beautiful in English, but you can read a grocery list in French and make it sound lovely, so it's just that much better.

This book is a classic for a reason. I think some of that can be attributed to the nostalgia factor, because a lot of people read this as children (it is, after all, a children's book). But I also love the ideas in it.

Let's take the first few pages as an example. You may have seen this picture before?
It's the first drawing in the book, and the narrator tells us that he would show this drawing to people and ask them if it scared them, but nobody could see why they should be scared of a hat. When the little prince sees it, he says he didn't want a drawing of a boa eating an elephant (which is, of course, exactly what it is). The whole book is full of stories from a perspective like this, and it's beautifully child-like but profound at the same time.

I am probably one of the very few people who didn't read this book as a kid (or if I did, I don't remember it.)  And I did read it in French the first time I ever read it (it's pretty much the standard book that High School French students read because it's easy and short but is still difficult to read for us English learning French readers.)

The book is beautifully written and very poignant.  St.-Exupery is reminding us that, as adults, we're too serious.  We forget the things that are actually important, as opposed to the things that really aren't important at all (Numbers is something that's mentioned.  Adults gauge everything by numbers and by its worth.)

It's also kind of a fun and fancy free book.  It's a little on the ridiculous side (a small "Prince" drops down from his planet, that he left because he had been fighting with an overly vain flower.)  It's just the kind of things that kids would find funny and love, so if you still find it funny then there's a good chance you're still a kid at heart.

My Bottom Line 4 out of 5


  1. I want to read this. I never read it in French class or at any point during childhood, but it sounds super cute. Of course I would go for the English version though because I remember maybe, 5 words of French.

    1. I read it in French once, but I couldn't do it now. I technically know about 110 words in French, but 100 of them are numbers, so I hardly think that counts. ;)