BOOK REVIEW: The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The Little PrinceThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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A pilot crash lands in the middle of the desert and meets a little traveler who came from a tiny planet. As this “Little Prince” tells of his travels, he shares his child-like (not to be confused with “childish”) wisdom on friendship and how adults misunderstand what are “matters of consequence.” While the Little Prince takes a child’s perspective, one’s responsibility to others is an important theme. Of course, that may just be the theme intended for children. At the same time, the lesson for adults may be to reevaluate what one considers important. (The reader may be familiar with the controversy as to whether this is really a work of children’s literature.)

The book is humorous and light-hearted, but with some serious themes and moments. There are many though-provoking ideas in this classic. Some quotes that struck me as profound are:

“The thing that is important is the thing that is not seen.”

“One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets oneself be tamed.”

“’Then you shall judge yourself,’ the king answered. ‘That is the most difficult thing of all.’”

“For it is possible for a man to be faithful and lazy at the same time.”

It’s a tiny book—less than 100 pages, including the many color drawings that feature throughout the book.

I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who hasn’t read it at least once. (There may be a couple of you out there.)

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BOOK REVIEW: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the MilkFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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It’s “The Usual Suspects” for kids, but with Gaiman’s humor and imagination. A father goes out to buy a carton of milk for his kids’ cereal. When he comes back after being long delinquent, he’s got a rather extraordinary explanation for why the short run to the corner c-store took so long.

I read in a Gaiman’s new nonfiction collection, “The View from the Cheap Seats,” (due out May 31, 2016) that even he got grief for writing a children’s book in which the lead isn’t a child. But, he’s Neil Gaiman; so they wisely published it anyway. While the book is aimed at the children’s market, there’s enough humor and absurd happenings to keep an adult reading. So the risky choice of protagonist may prove useful. It certainly helps Gaiman’s argument against narrow definitions of children’s versus adult books (also discussed in detail “The View from the Cheap Seats.”)

Apropos of a youth market book, it’s only about 140 pages, but that’s with extensive illustrations (on almost every page, and many are full-page) and large font. Chris Riddell’s black and white drawings match the whimsicality of the text well.

I’d recommend the book for anyone who reads kid’s books (whether they’re a kid or not.)

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