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Le Petit Prince

The Little Prince ''Le Petit Prince'' is supposedly a children's book, however, it has many different and surprising levels of meaning, from a simple fairy tale to profound philosophical observations on life.

A publishing phenomenon, the book is the most read and most translated book in the French language, and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages, selling over a million copies each year with sales totaling over 200 million worldwide since it's release in 1943, it is one of the best selling books ever published.

The creator of this magical tale is the French aristocrat writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and a reserve military pilot at the start of the Second World War, Saint-Exupéry wrote and illustrated the manuscript while exiled in the United States after the fall of France. He was overseas on a personal mission to convince the US government to quickly enter the war against Nazi Germany. During this time, while dealing with difficult personal times and failing health he produced this gentle tale of loneliness, friendship, love and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth.

He is also thought to have drawn on his aviation experiences in the Sahara desert to create some of the plot elements in The Little Prince.

Saint-Exupéry weaves many beautiful life philosophies into his tale such as the words the fox says on meeting the young prince during his travels on earth. "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." Or "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

The book's simple, elegant watercolour illustrations which add so much to the story, were painted by Saint-Exupéry. Although he initially studied architecture, he certainly wasn't considered an artist. Anyone who has read Le Petit Prince will remember how, at the beginning of the story, he delightfully makes fun of what adults regard as successful drawing.

Check out the online shop to find shopping bags and drink coasters with Le Petit Prince design.

According to Wikipedia, there are many museums and exhibits across the world that honour this remarkable book including:

** In Le Bourget, Paris, France, the Air and Space Museum of France established a special exhibit honoring Saint-Exupéry, and which displays many of his literary creations. Among them are various early editions of The Little Prince. Remnants of the aircraft in which he disappeared, and which were recovered from the Mediterranean in 2004, are also on view.

** In Hakone, Japan there is the Museum of The Little Prince featuring outdoor squares and sculptures such as the B-612 Asteroid, the Lamplighter Square, and a sculpture of the Little Prince. On the museum grounds there is a large Little Prince Park featuring the Consuelo Rose Garden.

** In Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, there is an imitation French village, Petite France, which has adapted the story elements of The Little Prince into its architecture and monuments. There are several sculptures of the story's characters, and the village also offers overnight housing in some of the French-style homes.

** In Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2009 the giant Oca Art Exhibition Centre presented The Little Prince as part of The Year of France and The Little Prince. The displays examined Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince and their philosophies, as visitors passed through theme areas of the dessert, different worlds, stars and the cosmos.

** In 1996 the Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot unveiled an artistic arrangement of seven blocks of granite asteroids 'floating' in a circle around a 2-metre tall planet Earth. The artistic universe was populated by bronze sculpture figures that the little prince met on his journeys. As in the book, the prince discovers that "the essential is invisible to the eye, and only by the heart can you really see". The work was completed at the start of 1996 and placed in the central square of Fuglebjerg, Denmark, but was later stolen from an exhibition in Billund in 2011.

 

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