This month, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novel The Little Prince hit the big screen. The trailers and animation for the movie look delightful and have sparked new interest in an old classic. My husband has had the novel out for months, trying to find a chance to reread it. I must confess that I’m unfamiliar with this novel (I can only say I didn’t study any French literature during my English degree) so I was delighted to receive a package of The Little Prince books from Raincoast Books.
The Little Prince Graphic Novel by Joann Sfar
My husband has made all of us graphic novel fans. I expected he’d have fun adding The Little Prince graphic novel to his collection of novels and graphic novels (yes, he has a few other books where he has both the novel and the graphic novel by the same author). I should have guessed that the girls would get the book first. Now that both Sunshine and Lily are beginning to read, they love graphic novels, which are a great transition from story books to novels.
Sunshine (8) and Lily (almost 6) poured over the graphic novel. When my husband asked Sunshine what she thought of the story, she said, “It’s a bit weird.” He agreed. So I sat down to read it. The nice thing about a graphic novel is that it’s a quick, easy read. In about two nights, I’d finished it. And while I agree the story is weird, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can only imagine the discussion that would go on in an English class about this novel. 🙂
“We can’t always see what is most important.”
I’m not a huge fan of the illustrations in the graphic novel. It’s an adaptation by Joann Sfar, so the pictures here are original rather than from the movie (as the illustrations in the other books are). I did appreciate the fact that the graphic novel had more details from the novel than the story books. There’s a lot of food for thought in this little book and I heartily recommend grabbing it. The graphic novel makes this classic novel much more accessible to a wider audience (like moms with little time to read!).
The Little Prince Read-Aloud Storybook
This hardcover story book adaptation of the novel uses pictures from the recent movie. While the text is written for children to understand, it still has a lot of humour and subtext. One of my favourite parts is the discussion between the pilot and the prince, when they first meet, about drawing a sheep. I can just imagine a child saying things like that—and then being happy with the final drawing.
Like the graphic novel, I love the way this story book makes the classic novel accessible to a new generation of readers. As a child, I read several abridged or shortened condensed version of classic novels. They were my first introductions to Dumas and Dickens and Doyle. As an adult, then, I had a vague recollection of the overall story, which helped me keep reading through the heavier text and appreciate it’s greater detail.
“You become responsible for what you have tamed.”
The Little Prince Read-Aloud Storybook, while it can be read as a simple child’s storybook, also has some great points for further discussion. For example, I was surprised by the ending. I’ll try not to spoil it, but I think it creates a great opportunity to discuss death with a child. Then there is the rose and all the “grown-ups” that the prince meets on his travel. Any of those would be great topics for an essay (and there comes my English major background again).
The Little Prince Coloring Book
Since The Little Prince starts with a discussion about drawing, it’s fun that there’s a colouring book based on the novel. This colouring book leaves plenty of room to sketch as well and to draw your own sheep or elephants in snakes. It also includes plenty of quotes from the novel—the perfect way to think about the profound messages of the novel.
“Words are the source of misunderstandings.”
The Little Prince encourages us to think like a child, with the simplicity and yet wisdom through which a child views the world. At the start of the books, the pilot says, “It’s hard to take up drawing again at my age.” Yet he does it for the little prince. This colouring book is a great way to adopt this child-like mentality. If you haven’t yet gotten into the adult colouring book craze, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a great way to relax and reflect at the end of the day. Especially with a book like this.
I received these books for review courtesy of Raincoast Books; all opinions expressed are my own.