Why we love
The Little Prince
While written in the style of a children's book, The Little Prince (or Le Petit Prince) is a complex fable that speaks to fans of all ages and from all walks of life. The book, first published in both English and French in New York during the Second World War, was penned by a pioneering French aviator, poet, and aristocrat named Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The author devised this timeless tale about life and truth and human nature in 1942, while living in America during the Nazi occupation of his homeland. Since its release it has remained one of the top selling books in history, selling more than 140 million copies, worldwide. It has been translated into more than 300 languages and adapted for nearly every imaginable artistic medium. The guide below offers some useful information about the author and the story. Our goal is to offer useful insights into the unique elements that have inspired our production.
The Little Prince is told from the perspective of a pilot who has had to make an emergency landing of his small plane in a remote desert. He is surprised to be met there by a boy, oddly dressed in princely attire, who immediately demands that the narrator draw him a sheep. It is further explained that the sheep is needed to eat the young baobab trees that continually crop up on his tiny planet and threaten the well-being of his most prized possession: a beautiful rose.
Through the telling of the tale we learn a great deal about this little prince and his explorations of the universe and how it is that he came to this desolate place. We also learn that this young regent has gained great wisdom in his travels through the galaxy and especially from his time on Earth. On this planet it was the humble fox who shared with him the precious gift of the ability to understand what it is about life that truly matters...
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
Saint-Exupéry was born to a family of aristocrats in Lyon, France in 1900. Having lost both his father and his younger brother by the age of 17, Antoine gained a great sense of honor and duty as he worked to protect and care for his mother and three sisters. As a young man he joined the French Air Force where he learned to fly. After completing his time in the service, he went on to become a renowned pioneer in the field of international postal flight. The aviator was also a maverick flying ace with many records and honors bestowed upon him through the course of his long and dangerous flying career. It is said that by the end of his life, though still flying, his body was so badly beaten from years of flying mishaps that he was unable to dress himself without assistance.
While attempting to break the speed record in an air race in 1935, Saint-Exupéry crash landed with his co-pilot in the Sahara desert. They somehow survive the crash and miraculously managed to stave off death by dehydration for four days, just long enough to be discovered and brought to safety by a Bedouin nomad. It was this near death experience among the dunes, as well as the memories of having comforted his brother, François (a blonde-haired boy of only 15), as he lay dying of rheumatic fever many years earlier, that served as inspiration for the book.
Following the French surrender to the Nazis in 1940, the great pilot went to America to try to convince the US and other allies to enter into the conflict with Germany. It was while waiting in exile in New York City that he penned "The Little Prince". Unwilling to stay grounded for long, by 1943 Antoine was back in the air, this time flying recognizance missions for the Free French Air Force, in support of our Allied Troops. On July 31st of 1944 the hero and his plane were lost off the coast of Marseille. The cause is unknown. Remnants of his plane were found there in 2000.
"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing with him the image of a cathedral." - Antoine Saint-Exupéry