Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 96 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books
Release Date: May 15, 2000
ISBN: 978-0156012195
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Gift
Rating: 4/5 stars

I’ve had this book around for ages and never read it. I finally sat down with my 5 yr old son and started reading this. I thought it was an interesting read, but my son thought it was incredibly boring...so I ended up finishing it on my own.

The story is about a Little Prince who ends up stranded in the desert with a man whose plane has crashed there. The Little Prince tells the man about the little planet he calls home. Then he talks about the journey he took to get to Earth through a variety of different planets, each one inhabited by someone more silly than the last planet.

The book basically is using all these different planets as a way to look at the strange things adults do. For example one planet is inhabited by a drunkard (which wasn’t all that easy to explain to a 5 yr old), one is inhabited by a businessman, and one is inhabited by a vain man. The whole book basically looks at the things we do as adults (business, vanity, amassing power) and at how silly that looks to a child and at how small these goals are in relation to the whole world and life.

It’s a decent story but one of those that is so very obviously packed with additional messages that you can tell it’s more of a social commentary than a fantasy story. Which is fine. As a children’s book though it left a bit to be desired. The pacing is very slow and many of the things discussed were things my son didn’t understand. For example drunkards and vanity. It did give us a chance to discuss these things.

Initially my son was intrigued by the idea of the Little Prince traveling to so many planets, but as time went on even he realized this was more of a social commentary than a story. It got to the point where even he was all like, “Oh so now this planet is about someone who is selfish”. He got what the book was doing, but after he learned that each planet wasn’t a cool new place but instead another example of adult foolishness his attention started to wander and I ended up reading the last twenty pages or so on my own.

The illustrations are well done and match the tone of the story well. The story is decent but obviously meant more as a social commentary than as a fantasy story.

Overall this is a decent read, but not something I would read again. It’s more of a social commentary than a fantasy story, even my 5 year old recognized this. The pacing is fairly slow as well. The book has aged okay over the years but some of the terminology was out of date and I had to explain it to my 5 year old. This is one of those classics that is interesting to read, but I didn’t necessarily find it all that enjoyable of a read.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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