I decided it was time to read some shorter works to catch up on my reading goal for the year. The Little Prince has been in my top ten reading picks for years. It is such a beautifully written story, and I usually reread it every year. The plot is simple but the meaning is deeply complex. The author, an aviator, becomes stranded in the middle of the Sahara Desert. While attempting to repair his damaged plane, a mysterious child appears who asks the author to draw him a sheep. With that simple request, a modern fable begins that teaches us what is truly important in life. This is a great story for any age with some truly beautiful illustrations.
“All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.”
I get to work with young children every day. As a therapist, it is such a wonderful experience witnessing their special way of seeing the world. Every day, I get surprised by their creative voices. One of the lessons I took from The Little Prince is on the importance of keeping some of your childhood with you. My favorite parts of the book are when the Prince talks about the other planets he has visited, each one populated by a single narrow-minded adult. Each journey can be viewed as an allegory on human nature. On the first planet, he meets a king who believes he rules with absolute authority. For example, he can order the sun to go down….but only at sunset. The Prince quickly realizes the fallacy of the king’s power. He meets several other adults on his travels, such as a conceited man, a drunkard, a businessman, a lamplighter, and a geographer. The Prince learns from these meetings that “grown-ups are really very odd.”
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I dare you to not find meaning on every single page of this little book. Other themes that are explored besides the foolishness in adults are enlightenment through exploration and the value of relationships. This work also teaches us the pain of having to let someone go. The Little Prince definitely belongs on the 1001 Books list. I can’t wait to have a ‘little prince’ of my own someday so I can read this book to him. You will laugh. You will cry. You will see the value in being a kid all over again.
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”