Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Little Prince (Graphic Novel)

I first read Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Le Petite Prince as an adult. It's one of those books that everyone seems to love and keep in a special, sweet little place in their heart.

I have a black heart, apparently, since I really didn't get it when I read the picture book version of this book. On the whole, the story sort of made me want to poke my eyeballs out with toothpicks. I get the message, I really do. But that didn't help a whole lot.

I requested the graphic novel for review from NetGalley, and I have to say, for this picture-lovin' gal, it was an improvement. Given, the storytelling still bugs me. I don't feel the deep pang of nostalgia for this book that so many others probably do who read it in childhood.

Nevertheless, the illustrations, by Joann Sfar, did help this one come to life for me. While I still wanted to dropkick the Little Prince on occasion, the illustrations were nothing short of beautiful. The colors were great, the style of illustrations was rough and sort of surreal which matched the tone of the book nicely. I was especially fond of the Prince's visits to the various planets and all the lovely grownup weirdos he ran into along the way. They were wonderfully, weirdly drawn. Just as grownups should be. Take a look for yourself.

So coming to this one as a curmudgeonly adult who didn't really dig the story: nothing has changed. However, I give the form an A+. If you're already a lover of The Little Prince, you'll probably love this version just as much, if not more, than I did.

Addendum: And it seems there are many of you who haven't read this book! That actually makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, since I didn't read it until adulthood. In short, it's about a little prince (ha!) who leaves his home planet (and his pet rose) to visit other planets where he encounters self-absorbed, neurotic adults who do stupid things. He ultimately meets up with our narrator (far less stupid adult than most) before returning to his "home planet." Message: don't be a stupid adult. Be useful, kind, and be good to little explorers.


  1. I've never read The Little Prince, but the graphic version does seem nice. I could probably even read that one in French!

  2. You know, like Kathy, I've never read The Little Prince, either! In fact, I have no clue what it's even about. I know that it's in French, obvs, and that French classes in high school had to translate it. But beyond that? I got nothing. Maybe a graphic novel would sit better with me!

  3. I also have never read The Little Prince. Don't know if I really care to. Pretty illustrations though.

    (Oh and the black heart comment was hysterical.)

  4. I've never read THE LITTLE PRINCE either but love graphic novels. I just finished A STUDY IN SCARLET that features the talents of Ian Edginton adapting and I.N.J. Culbard illustrating. Top notch.

  5. Kathy, definitely read it in French if possible. I often wonder if it loses something in translation.

    Meg, I added an addendum to give a short synopsis of the story. I'm actually really glad so many of my fellow bibliophiles haven't read it! Makes me feel better.

    Christina, my black heart thanks you! Very pretty illustrations.

    David, thanks for the tip! I will try to see if my 'brary has A Study in Scarlet graphic novel. Give The Little Prince a go if you can.

  6. I think I read this when I was in high school... Probably the only "classic" novel I seem to have read! I did like it but can barely remember much. I'll have to keep me eye out for the graphic novel. Looks pretty cute.

  7. Iliana, I think you'd like it. It's a quick read, and the illustrations helped me appreciate some of the quirkiness a bit more than I did before.

  8. Read it as an adult. Didn't get what all the hype was about. Black hearts unite!

  9. Oh dear. Whenever somebody says that The Little Prince makes them want to poke their eyeballs out with toothpicks (or similar), I become concerned that my liking it means that I lack edge and enjoy twee things. COMMENCE SOUL-SEARCHING.

    The illustrations have very big eyes. I am not sure about them.

  10. Do, Olduvai! The illustrations are gorgemous.

    We should have a secret handshake, Les!

    Jenny, no soul searching required. I think it just means I'm a humbug and possibly a downer. Or maybe the French and I don't see eye to eye.

  11. One more black-hearted imp raises her hand. I read a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that was amazing, so I eventually followed it up with The Little Prince. I HATED The Little Prince. It might have been at least partly that something was lost in translation, as Meg said, but I just thought it was awful. Flight to Arras is the book I enjoyed.

  12. Guilty as charged: I've never read this. And I'm incapable of reading it in French! The graphic version looks lovely, though.

  13. I liked The Little Prince, but like you never reallu understood what made it that special. I'd like to read the graphic version, although I have to admit I like the way The Little Prince looks on the front cover of the "normal" book more.

  14. hey, I would love to read the Little Prince ..
    I love the look of your blog. Iv started my own ::

    plz visit and give some tips...

  15. I actually haven't read The Little Prince, either, which I feel slightly guilty about because as a student of children's lit I feel like I really SHOULD have read it by now. It's on my TBR, but not very close to the top . . .

  16. You probably hated Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Alchemist, too. (Please, please, please tell me you did...'cause they made me want to puke.) I'm not a big fan of moralistic tales.

    I can't remember if I read TLP, though. And the eyes on that boy in the graphic novel are creeping me out, so I'm thinking this version will be a no.

  17. Nancy, thanks for the heads up on the OTHER Exupery book. I would like to give him another try, and I'm glad you have a specific rec for me.

    Ds, I won't ever be reading it in French either. Spanish I could probably handle. :D

    Iris, I had a hard time remembering what he looked like in the original, and that's probably a good thing. If I'd remembered I might've been biased.

    Thanks, paalok!

    Emily, I might've read it partially out of guilt the first time, too. I had a specialty in Children's Lit in grad school, and I teach Children's Lit for education majors now. Fun!

    Jill, I'm split on those two. HATED Five People You Meet in Heaven, but I was surprisingly OK with The Alchemist. Of course, I was absolutely MISERABLE when I read The Alchemist, and it gave me a kick in the ass to go to grad school.

  18. You teach children's lit??? Oh, I am fluorescent green with envy!

  19. Emily, I do! I love, love, love it. I only ever get to teach one section of it, but it's a fave of mine. We usually read:

    A unit on picture books
    Unit on fairy tales
    The Giver
    The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
    Parvana's Journey
    The Secret Garden
    American Born Chinese

    This year I threw something out (slips my mind) and added The Forest of Hands and Teeth which we'll be reading alongside The Giver.

  20. Oh, I don't know how I could ever choose which books to teach! I haven't read Parvana's Journey, American Born Chinese or Skellig. Adding them to my TBR right now :)

  21. Good! I suspect you will love all three. Especially American Born Chinese!

  22. Oh dear. I am one of those who read and loved The Little Prince and I have to say I find this version horrifying!!!! Oh .. I have to look away from this. It feels like a desecration of the book I loved.


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