If there is something we HAVE TO say about The Little Prince is that we are part of the group that has it as one of its favorite novels of all times, and even when some consider it too basic, you really need to give it a read or a second chance if you think the same as them.
The Little Prince seems like a child’s novel for many, but it is quite deep and complex for children to actually understand it, and it is one of those situations where you think, as an adult, “Oh… This wasn’t supposed to be for kids.”
We know it because we have been there since our first read was way back in school when we were forced to read it and write a summary along with our thoughts, and we believe you are a bit identified with this since, in the United Kingdoms and the USA, schools love the novel for their subjects.
That being said, we might be dealing with the case of someone who has never read it before, and that is completely fine. In either case, we just want to give you some info about the novella (not really a novel since it is short) and help you decide whether or not it is worth your time for the first read, or if you should definitely go back to it for a second try (we are confident you will choose re-reading).
A Unique Mind – Know the Author
Before we start discussing the novella itself, we should look at the person who wrote such a classic and masterpiece.
Many know the name Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, but very few know his story beyond the fact of being the author of the book. Well, we don’t want to be people who just talk about a book without giving the writer his proper recognition.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born on June 29, 1900, in Lyon, France, and he was a French writer and mainly a pilot.
His works are a unique testimony that tells us the story and perspective of a pilot and warrior who had experienced danger but adventure and glory simultaneously, and he introduces us to this with the poet’s eyes.
Saint-Exupéry was born to an impoverished aristocratic family. His early years are focused on him being a poor student who failed the entrance examination to the Ecole Navale and then studied architecture for several months at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
In 1921, he was conscripted into the French air force, and he qualified as a military pilot a year later.
He joined the Compagnie Latecoere, Toulouse, in 1926. He helped establish airmail routes across northwest Africa, South Atlantic, and South America.
He was a test pilot, an Air France publicity attache, and a Paris-Soir reporter in the 1930s.
Then, he became a military reconnaissance pilot in 1939, despite the permanent injuries he sustained from severe flying accidents. After the fall of France in 1940), he left for the United States and remained there until 1943, when he resumed flying with his former squadron in the Mediterranean theatre.
In 1944 he took off from an airfield in Corsica to conduct a reconnaissance mission over France and never returned. Sixty years later, wreckage raised from the seabed near Marseille was identified as belonging to his plane.
Although it was likely to have been shot down by an opponent fighter, the cause of the crash is still unknown.
But in all this, where do writing books and novellas fit?
Not many know about Antoine’s personal experiences being added to the books he wrote during his years and that most of them are inspired by real-life events during his flights and expeditions.
After all, Saint-Exupéry found in aviation both a source for heroic action and a new literary theme.
His books exalt the risky adventures that come at the expense of life as the greatest realization of man’s calling. In all of them, his language is poetic and moving with simple nobility.
A Fable for Children & Adults: Le Petit Prince
Although the name in English is The Little Prince, we want to refer to it by its original name, considering the novella’s language.
That being said, we will be focusing on the plot of the novella from now on and all the details around it after finally having a proper introduction to the author.
You see, following the fact that all of his works and books were inspired by his flying experiences and adventure, you will notice that The Little Prince is actually part of all this “tradition.”
In fact, before talking about the plot and topic of the book, we want to mention the desert crash on December 30, 1935.
Antoine and his mechanic-navigator, André Prévot, crashed in the Libyan desert. They spent four days without any resources and barely made it out alive when a Bedouin on a camel found them and provided rehydration services.
Why is this relevant? Le Petit Prince is somehow related to this experience since the beginning will be with a pilot being stranded in the desert. With this in mind, we can focus on the entire plot.
This magical musical tale begins when a pilot attempts to land on the Sahara Desert.
The accident severely damages the plane and leaves him without food or water. He is worried about his situation when the “little” prince approaches him.
This little boy is blonde and serious, who wants the aviator to draw a sheep for him. They become close friends after the narrator agrees to draw them a sheep.
During their journey together, the pilot discovers that the little prince is from Asteroid 325, but people on Earth call it Asteroid B-612 instead. This little prince was very careful with the planet and prevented any harmful seeds from growing.
Through the novella, the pilot learns about the boy’s history and planet-hopping journeys in which a king, a businessman, and a historian are only a few of the people he was able to meet.
Of course, other characters bring us the experiences of the little prince and how the pilot is influenced as well as the boy.
The story is clearly set to remind us that the best things are the simplest and that giving is the true wealth in our lives.
Reception & Earnings: Was It Popular?
For us, calling it popular falls way too short considering how every person in the world knows about The Little Prince, at least for references.
All right, maybe not 100% of the population, but we dare to say about 75%.
The novella was a big hit when it was first released. However, people were flummoxed by the fable since it was too multi-layered for them to understand the entire story and the morals the author wanted to share.
Considering that this piece of work was published as a children’s book, it was expected to be… simpler in terms of storyline and the language and tone used throughout the novella.
Going back to what we initially mentioned, The Little Prince is a profound book that requires attention. We believe any children would have a hard time understanding it when even adults find themselves perplexed the first time and usually the second.
In fact, we think it is a fascinating fable for grown-ups more than kids despite people enjoying it regardless of their ages.
With this in mind, what can we tell you about the reception overall? It was amazing.
Many people praised the novella and called it an incredible story that possessed outstanding poetic spirit, and we couldn’t have said it any better.
The popularity of Le Petit Prince remains intact from the very beginning due to how complete the story is and how it connects with people of all ages, as we previously mentioned.
But with this more than clear, what can we say about numbers?
To this date, this successful work has sold about 210 million copies worldwide, and it is one of the best-selling of all time. It has been translated into over 290 languages and dialects.
Actually, the novella is one of the most translated books, and it has been adapted several times to audio recordings, radio plays, live stage, films, television, ballet, and opera.
How much can a book with so many copies sold make? Well, since The Little Prince has over 150 active licensees worldwide, it generates about $100 million annually in retail sales only.
Adaptations: Le Petit Prince in the Big Screen
As mentioned, the novella has been adapted to many different art forms and media over the years, being “The Little Prince” from 2015, the most recent film in the industry.
However, before it, Japanese, Russian, French, and many other animated series based on the book have been made between the 1960s and 1990s.
Short films with the same name adapted by Claymation and Walt Disney can also be included on the list.
But focusing on the latest adaptation from 2015, the animated film was quite popular with an average 4.5/5 rating.
The film was produced by Method Animation, ON Animation Studios, Orange Studio, LPPTV, M6 Films, and Lucky Red. At the same time, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, and Paul Rudd are only a few members of the involved voice actors.
The movie’s budget was set at $77.5 million and had a box office of $97.5 million worldwide.
Although the salaries for the voice actors weren’t disclosed, we can assume that a great part went to them considering the cast involved.
6 Delightful Facts About The Little Prince
- Saint-Exupéry’s wife was who inspired the Prince’s rose.
- The novella was written and illustrated for Antoine himself.
- Saint-Exupéry disappeared after finishing the book and was presumed dead when the novella was available in France.
- The pilot is never depicted in the book despite being the narrator and part of the main characters.
- “The Little Mermaid” inspired the author to write the book.
- The Little Prince ranks second in the most translated book ranking, just after the Bible.
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