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This book has a life of its own
am 16. Juni 2000
Can't get enough of this book. When faced with the prospect of having to buy -another- copy (I always give them away), I finally bought the hard cover. The illustrations are incredible. Spend the extra money just for them. You miss so much by having to relate to the paperback, much smaller, illustrations.
This is not a children's book. The work is, in fact, far too tragic for younger children, even if they don't grasp all of the imagery presented in the story. The ending is simply too difficult to try to explain to small children.
But, aside from that...this book is so beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Each planet may be a thinly disguised political lesson, but who cares. The prince's experiences are touching and at times heart-rending.
This book is also best for reading out loud. It'll take a little time, perhaps about an hour and a half, but it's worth it. The translation just rolls right off the tongue, the images become much easier to picture, the dialogues between the prince and the other character seem easier to internalize.
He may have been writing a religious/spiritual statement, it may be a social-political commentary, _The Little Prince_ may be an anti-science manifesto. Point is, it doesn't matter what the "intent" of the story was. The book is so accessible, so deftly written, the story so compelling and honest, that any reader can intepret it in a deeply personal way. Every time you read the book, a different scene will leap out at you. A different line will strike your heart. The fox, the rose, the tippler, the prince, each character is fantastically vivid. As you change in your life, the book will change too. It is a rare and treasured book, indeed.
A note on the translation: There is a new translation coming out, with cleaned illustrations (which are brilliant). While more "accurate", the language in the new version is not as soft, not as texture-based. The new translation seems to lack a lot of the tenderness of the original translation; many of the greatest and most memorable phrases come across as harder and less childlike. Interesting to read, but only a pale comparison to the first job.