Review Blog

Oct 15 2010

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Translated by Richard Howard. Egmont, 2005. ISBN 9781405216340
(Age 7+) Recommended. A new translation by Richard Howard, this edition uses more contemporary language than previous editions to bring to modern readers the iconic story of the stranded pilot who finds in the desert the mystery and enchantment of childhood again. When the pilot, whose plane has come down, is found by the Little Prince and asked to draw a sheep, he re-enters the world of children where listening and understanding, comfort and sharing are values that have been lost by adults who are confined by rules and restrictions, logic and control, property and power. As the Little Prince describes his love for his rose and for the stars, the pilot learns to give, and learns that the mechanical concerns of life tend to work out when the important matters of the heart are dealt with first. The story also shows that sorrow is as much a part of life as laughter, the prince eventually having to leave. The language in this translation is more natural and logical, with, for example, 'put away' used rather than 'lay aside', 'crash landing' rather than 'accident', 'struck by lightning' rather than 'thunderstruck' in the Katherine Woods translation, thus perhaps bringing a wider contemporary audience to the story. The drawings, the author's own, add a visual dimension to the story and also link to the theme of children's special understanding of the world; as a child the pilot was told to stop drawing, to stop understanding the world visually; he now has to learn again the act of creating life through art. This is a book everyone should read several times, and it lends itself to being read aloud.
Jenny Hamilton

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