If anyone should ask me what my favorite book is, my answer wouldn’t be Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It won’t even be anything by James Clavell, Amy Tan or F. Sionil Jose, my favorite authors. My choice would be Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. Why? Because it has all the ingredients that every good book should have. It is a story that I have read and reread more than a dozen times. My 12-year-old daughter was asked to do a book report and she chose The Little Prince. And because she asked me to help her, I thought it a good opportunity to reread the book again this morning. I did in twenty minutes flat while breakfast was cooking in the oven. And now I’m feeling nostalgic, introspective, inspired and altogether wonderful. It has that effect on me.
Written in a format that is somewhere between an allegory and a fable, The Little Prince is narrated by a pilot who gave up a career as an artist when, at six years old, he couldn’t make any adult understand the significance of his two drawings of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. When his drawing of the boa from the outside elicited comments that it was a hat, he would produce his second drawing showing the elephant inside the boa. Adults would tell him to set aside his drawings and attend to matters of consequence. It was the beginning of the narrator’s comprehension that adults weren’t really all that smart.