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My favorite illustrated book - The Little Prince
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"What is essential is invisible to the eye." The Little Prince

The first day of French class, everyone was speaking French except me.  I managed to enter college without one day of a foreign language.  The professor took a break and the girl in front of me with long, thick dark hair and large brown eyes turned to me and said, "Isn't he gorgeous?  The class is full because he is so hot." 

I never had a friend before who looked so great, talked so brazen and was also brilliant.  We were all part of the "honors" group, a freshman cohort that would travel the halls of advanced liberal arts together.  I hung on her every word as she introduced me to her friends and her world of books.  The first new book was The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery, in French, in honor of the sexy French instructor.  "You must read it in French," my new friend recommended, "or you won't feel the nuance of meaning." 

"Reading the book in French" meant looking at the illustrations for me.  I followed The Little Prince through his visitation on this planet and the philosophical uttering of his beautiful mind in the pictures that graced nearly every other page.  The illustrations gave me context for the few French words I learned and used to pluck meaning and substance from the blur of print.  I memorized the French before I had the translation in hand, fully understanding the story and its analysis of love, friendship, death and resurrection with my few words and pictures.

Later in life, when I would meet a new person and engage in philosophical meanderings of the mind, I would ask if they had read "The Little Prince."  If I cared about them and it was a gap in their reading history, I often bought them the book.  I was shocked to find it in the children's section, and most recently, in a pop out version of my favorite illustrations.  Now, The Little Prince walks on a world globe across nations without borders.  I sat right down among those tiny tables and chairs to admire this beautiful rendition of a book I loved from the first day my friend shared it with me in French class.

I discovered that acquaintances over time fell into two categories, those who thought The Little Prince was a silly children's book and those who, with me, contemplated "matters of consequence," being "responsible for what you have tamed," and looking at a wheat field or the stars or a garden full of roses that evoked new understanding of the richness of life, love and friendship.  In many ways, I have remained connected with the latter over a lifetime.  I still value the beauty in the universe more than material wealth and understand what makes a friend unique in all the world. 

The Little Prince is in my stash of treasured books in French (that worn first copy), Spanish and English; in hard and soft copy; in the old and new translations to English.  I am sorry that I did not spend the $35.00 for that beautiful pop-up book.  In my heart are the many friends with whom relationships and philosophical conversations are mirrored in the illustrated pages of soaring single engine planes, to the perspective differences over a hat and an elephant in a boa constructor, to laughter in the night sky.

In 1974, I lived in S. Korea and had PX privileges.  A Korean friend with whom I  shared The Little Prince, asked me to take her and my son to a movie on the base, keeping the name a secret.  There on the marquee was, "The Little Prince."  I worried that it would violate my years of loving the illustrated book.  The stars in the production were many, but I could not imagine the joy and emotional power of seeing the illustrations come to life in song and dance as though the pages were emptied onto the screen.  I was so moved, tears came into my eyes.

Quite a list of close friends have shared the thoughts, illustrations and philosophy of my favorite illustrated book, The Little Prince.  Many have disappeared from my life, but never from my memory or their special place in my heart.  I wonder who will be next?  www.dkchristi.webs.com  www.swspotlight.com

 

Comments
7 Comment count
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The Little Prince

What a beautiful post. I have never read The Little Prince, but now feel inspired to. Thank you for bringing such beauty my way.

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Antoine de St. Exupery

This author has written several beautiful books and his wife also wrote The Rose.  He led an exciting but short life - and I've always felt The Little Prince was a brilliant reflection of his own attempts to explain his philosophical thoughts.  For me, it is full of wisdom.  I am glad that my little summary draws you to read the story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  I can almost tell it by heart; I use many phrases to explain complicated things in a simple way.  The love of my life called me his Rose and I called him my Prince based on our enjoyment of the little volumn together.  Another friend and I considered our friendship like the taming of the fox - and that part in the movie version is very special.  Much of the political philosophy is as relevant today as then.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Ahhhhhhh...a favorite small book!

I too, have loved, 'The Little Prince'.

I didn't come to read it until I was fourteen years old.

It was very inspiring...both, the story and the illustrations.

As I was already an aspiring writer and artist, St. Exupery's book gave me an incredible sense of self confidence and self motivation.

The labor-intensive body of artwork I later pursued came with ease and deliberate focus.

And, the book I wrote was compiled with such joy and anguish...four years after the death of my twenty-one year old son.

I would love any of you to read and see the hand drawn imagery that accommpanies my silly stories about children growing up on a prairie farm in Canada.

They are Helena's Exertps: The Three Sisters in, 'Touching The Cord':

www.longbowgames.com/wendy

I hope you enjoy the laughter and wisdom in these five exerpts.

I truly had fun writing these stories and drawing the pictures for them.

Perhaps, the line drwings in the 'Little Prince' kept me focused on pencil and paper and St. Exupery's short story may have given me the fortitude to combine laughter with love and thoughtfullness.

I hope you enjoy my (Helena's) little silly stories :)

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Inspiration

I wonder how many authors and artists received inspiration from Antoine de St. Exupery.  Your stories and illustrations are amazing - the variety enchanting.  I hope all who catch this blog take the time to enjoy your art.  Thank you for sharing it here!

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'The Little Prince'

Thank you DK, for looking at the drawings.

They were done with great speed and no corrections.

I think watching my father draw pictures very quickly for our amusement when I was a child gave me the longing to master that skill.

Though not mastered, I certainly did have enormous fun representing my childhood memories in that simple way.

And, I'm sure that Antoine de St. Exupery enjoyed making his precious little drawings  that so many of us still cherish.

Thanks for bringing the memory of 'The Little Prince' to our attention here, on Red Room.

I've never seen the movie or even heard of it until now.

You're fortunate to have seen it.

I'll watch for it or even buy it :D

 

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The Movie

I recommend reading the book first to enjoy the illustrations with one's own imagination to fill in the details.  I also prefer the original translation from French to English - and it's out of print.  Used copies are found however in quite good shape (unlike mine!).  The 1974 movie is found in many clips on YouTube.  It's nicer to have the DVD, though.  Bob Fosse was magnificent as The Snake - Michael Jackson's moves a decade later were very similar...

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Book

It's been so long since I read the book.

But, I will be getting a copy for my Son's 30th birthday.

One is never too old for wisdom!

Interesting...the MJ moves like the snake.

That might have been where he got them.

He did love children so, he may have loved children's books and movies, too.