Julie's Reviews > The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-books-for-elementary-age

The Little Prince is the one book of my childhood that truly wrecked me. Wrecked me, irrevocably.

It is the one story that I swore I'd never read again.

I didn't. I hadn't. I never read it to my son, either.

Then, last week, my middle child, my oldest daughter, discovered the 2015 film of it, and came to me, sobbing, and said, “Mommy, you've just got to watch this movie. It's so beautiful.”

I did. I watched it. It was a good movie, but, as usual, they added parts, they took away parts, they created violence where it wasn't necessary, etc. So, purist that I am, I marched into the library, checked out the book and told my girls, “If you're going to know a story, then learn the original version.”

My hands were shaking this weekend, as I cracked the cover to read it, and the first thing I did was read the backflap, where I was reminded that the author himself went missing a year after the book was published in 1943. I immediately pictured Antoine De Saint-Exupery in his little airplane, crashing somewhere, alone, in the Mediterranean Sea. Pretty disturbing, if you know the premise of this fictional story. The tears started early.

I don't know what it is about these desert stories, but they wreck me, every time. I have never cried harder than after watching Ralph Fiennes in that red airplane, flying over the desert in The English Patient, or after meeting Claudia, in Moon Tiger, and realizing what she has lost, what she will never find again, in those desert sands.

The desert seems to magnify desolation, naturally, by its isolation. It can be a setting for great reflection, great stories, and even greater loss. And, it is here in this desert setting that our crashed pilot meets the little prince, whose life experiences illuminate almost every important lesson we could learn in a lifetime.

Of course I was crying again, but in a good way.

I could just sit here, adding quote after quote from this book on this review. I could advise all men that everything they need to know about women is available to them in the passages between the little prince and the rose. I could advise all parents of young children that this is one of those rare books that reminds you how precious and fleeting your time is with your kids.

But, “language is the source of misunderstandings,” and I'd be better served to invite you to crash in the desert yourself. See if the little prince shows up to speak to you. See what he has to say.
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Reading Progress

April 1, 2011 – Shelved
April 1, 2019 – Started Reading
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: favorite-books-for-elementary-age
April 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 67 (67 new)

message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Valdez I’m unfamiliar with this book, but it doesn’t surprise me that you would be, Julie. Your comments reminded me of The English Patient. Only Ralph Fiennes narration on audio could improve this for you. Lovely review. What did your girls think?

Julie Joe,
For me, the word "desert" conjures not sand, but Ralph Fiennes's face. I know, in my heart, that I, rather than Kristin Scott Thomas, sat in that jeep with him, holding his hand during that sand storm because I was scared. . . scared that we'd be forced to get out of the jeep.
Don't even joke with me about that audio version; it is the carrot I dangle before my face, helping me get through long days of PBS Kids programs and math homework for 5th graders.
I am actually surprised that you don't know this book. Do you remember the 1974 film that was made of it? It was a much more literal interpretation of the book, but still didn't quite capture the magic of the written version.

Stephanie Nicholas One of my favorite stories, in French and in English!

message 4: by Tatevik (last edited Apr 01, 2019 09:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatevik Najaryan Julie your review made me want to have both books with me right now, and I am away from home for a while.
By the way which Moon Tiger is mentioned in the review? I searched, and there are about ten Moon Tigers.

message 5: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Absolutely stunning review, Julie! Thank you!!

message 6: by Debbie (new)

Debbie You have the power to make me read books I would never go for! Now you have me all desert-y. Loved that you include the story of how you came about reading this one again. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom!

message 7: by Fran (new)

Fran Stellar review, Julie!

Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader Lovely review, Julie! I love everything about this. The Little Prince was a book on the shelf at my grandparents’ house, and one I read most every time I visited. Many of their books were classics with stuffy, uniform covers that didn’t appeal to a young child... The Little Prince was a well-worn paperback with a child depicted on the blue cover, so it’s no wonder I picked it up...and the story inside kept me picking it up each time I visited. I completely understand what you mean by wrecked. Thanks for bringing back those memories. ♥️

message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I first read this as an adult, and still cried. Your daughter was right, the movie was beautiful.

Angela M Julie, I love this book . Thanks for your review which brought me back to it.

Greta Nice review, Julie, although I’m surprised with your advice to men that everything they need to know about women is available to them in the passages between the little prince and the rose. It’s the only female character in the story and as stereotypical as they come.

Julie Stephanie,
I'd love to be able to read it in French, but, alas. Perhaps I'll put on some French music today instead?

Julie Tatevik,
Any chance you're in the desert? The Moon Tiger I've mentioned here is the Man Booker Prize winner by Penelope Lively.

Candi One of my absolute favorites, Julie! In fact, I recently came across my copy of it and hauled it out of a small stack of books I've carried with me from my childhood home to this one. It's made the cut every time :) I haven't re-read it since uncovering it, but you've inspired me to do that ASAP! Maybe I'll read it with my daughter over the upcoming spring break.

Julie Kristina,
You are so kind. Thank you!

Julie Debbie,
After the lecture I gave my middle child over breakfast this morning, I don't think either of my daughters are feeling particularly lucky about having me as a mother today.
I laughed out loud about you feeling all desert-y. Only you can make up words that are perfect for every occasion.
I still remember my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Funk, teaching us that we can always remember how to spell "desert" versus "dessert." You'd never want more than one desert, thus the one "s," but most of us would love to have more than one dessert, thus the two "esses." Stuck with me forevermore!

Gabrielle I adore that book! Such a lovely review, Julie! I hope your girls liked it :-)

message 18: by Tatevik (last edited Apr 02, 2019 07:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatevik Najaryan Julie wrote: "Tatevik,
Any chance you're in the desert? The Moon Tiger I've mentioned here is the Man Booker Prize winner by Penelope Lively."

I wish! Unfortunately no :( But I am in France, so I am going to buy the original of Little Prince. I wonder why I never read it in french! Thanks for recommendation, adding :)

Numidica Thanks Julie. I loved this book as a child and still do.

message 20: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara Superb review, Julie. You always bring your heart to your reviews, and I love that!

Jenna Such a lovely review, Julie, and what a good mom you are to make sure your kids know the "real" story and not just the movie version! I've not seen it but can't imagine it living up to the book. So glad you enjoyed it more this time around.

Julie Fran,
Thank you!

Julie Jennifer,
I don't know what I would have done, as a child, in your shoes, at your grandparents' house. I wouldn't have wanted to read the boring looking books, but I wouldn't have wanted to brave this one, over and over again, either. I sobbed so hard over this book as a child, it was almost a torture for me. It was lovely to reread it as a grown-up, though. Truly lovely.

message 24: by Pedro (new)

Pedro Beautiful little story, Julie.

Julie Diane,
I can totally understand. Why is it, though, that I cried when I read this as a child AND when I read it as an adult? My daughters absolutely enjoyed it, but didn't cry, when I read it to them.
My favorite part of the 2015 movie were the French songs that were playing at the pilot's house, in the background. Nice, subtle touch to remind us that the story was originally a French one.

Julie Angela,
Your comment makes me happy.

message 27: by Julie (last edited Apr 02, 2019 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie Thank you, Greta.
You're so right; the rose is a "stereotype," but then, so is every character in this book. Personally, I prefer to think of them as archetypes, rather than stereotypes, but they're all here:
the maiden
the hero
the ruler
the clown
the business man
the worker
the scholar
To me, the little prince himself represents innocence, and the fox, being his counterpoint, represents wisdom.

What I'm referring to, regarding men reading this as a way to better understand women is the interplay between the little prince and the rose. She preens and speaks vainly to him, only because he doesn't understand that it's important for him to give her praise and acknowledge her. She feels invisible and unprotected, which makes her feel increasingly vulnerable, and, ultimately, she accepts her abandonment as a natural result of what appears to be his disinterest.
He loves the rose, but he doesn't understand her and her behavior renders him silent. He doesn't understand her need to be noticed and he is incapable of expression with her. He can not find a way to communicate his frustration to her, so he leaves. It is only after he meets the fox that he is finally able to understand that the rose had made herself vulnerable only to him, and her silly vanity was only a result of her insecurity. He realizes, too late, what he had and what he lost.
Ack!! It just makes me want to start crying again!!

JV (semi-hiatus) This was one of the best life-changing books that I've ever read in my life, dear Julie! I loved this so much! I couldn't stop crying after reading this precious book. Hugs to you dear Julie! Love your review! 🤗🥰

message 29: by Virginia Ronan (new)

Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥ This was such a heartfelt and beautiful review! *sends hugs*

Jaline - (on partial hiatus) Beautiful, thoughtful, and completely moving review, Julie! I read this many, many years ago and have not been able to read it since for fear I would 'lose' something with the passage of time. Now, I'm re-thinking those thoughts. ;)

Julie Candi,
I'm not surprised to learn this is one of your favorites. I'd actually be very curious to hear your daughter's reaction to it. She's at a particularly interesting age for this type of read.

message 32: by Julie (last edited Apr 03, 2019 07:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie Gabrielle,
I adore your review of this book, and I'm also a little jealous that you can read it in the original French.
Now that I've reread it as an adult, this is what I decided the pilot looks like:

message 33: by Katie (new)

Katie Magical, Julie. I've often felt deprived that I'll never experience love in the desert. Anne Michaels' A Winter Vault is another good 'un set in the desert.

message 34: by Julie (last edited Apr 03, 2019 07:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie And this is what the pilot looks like, after I wash all of the sand off of him:

Julie Tatevik,
Hmmm, let's see. . . the desert or France? The desert or France? It's a tough call, but unless Ralph Fiennes is in that desert, I'm going with France!
Can you bring me back some French music and a baguette? (gluten free, of course)

Tatevik Najaryan Julie wrote: "Tatevik,
Hmmm, let's see. . . the desert or France? The desert or France? It's a tough call, but unless Ralph Fiennes is in that desert, I'm going with France!
Can you bring me back some French mus..."

Oh Julie, I really want my English Patient copy, even to hold in my hands for a while!!!
I'm bringing you some new books from my favorite bookstore here




Julie Tatevik,
My mouth is hanging open!! Love at first sight!!

Tatevik Najaryan Julie wrote: "Tatevik,
My mouth is hanging open!! Love at first sight!!"

As was mine, Julie, mine too!

message 39: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara JULLLIIIEEEE I don't wanna read this again!!! Why why why!!!! Why do you do this to me!!!!

Greta Julie wrote: "Thank you, Greta.
You're so right; the rose is a "stereotype," but then, so is every character in this book. Personally, I prefer to think of them as archetypes, rather than stereotypes, but they'r..."

Something to ponder over... Thanks.
By the way, I didn’t see the movie, but isn’t there a girl in the movie version? And was the rose in the movie faithful to the original?

David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party This is such a wonderful and heart-felt review, Julie! :')

Julie John,
I'm so happy that you know this book. A pilot is not so different from a sea captain, is he?

Julie Sara,
Who loves you, baby??

Julie Jenna,
The movie did not live up to the book, but it was good, or at least until the messy left turn it took.
Thank you for your kind words. My children are all turning out to be purists like their mother. Tough crowd over here!

Julie Thank you, Pedro. Ever notice that the most precious books are the most awful, too? Painful?

Julie JV,
It sounds like we experienced the same problem with this book. It's so bittersweet for me, I actually can't wait to get it out the house and back to the library. I can barely look at the cover!

message 47: by Pedro (new)

Pedro Julie wrote: "Thank you, Pedro. Ever notice that the most precious books are the most awful, too? Painful?"

I did notice that, Julie. I guess there’s no beauty without pain. 😗

message 48: by Cheri (new) - rated it 1 star

Cheri I read this when I was really, really young, Julie, and I hated it, but I don't remember why - I remember nothing about the book, but I do know it is a much beloved book. Now you've made me curious... Wonderful review, Julie!

Julie Virginia,
Thank you!

Julie Jaline,
Thank you for this kind comment. I DID NOT want to reread this, but I'm glad I did. (If that helps!).

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