This is our summer read-aloud. Isn't this pop-up The Little Prince just divine?
Personally I dislike the existential philosophy that pervades this book - the plight of the individual in an unfathomable universe. The book tells us that only children know what is important in life and that you can find the truth if you want it with all your heart.
On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. ("It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.")The little prince searches for meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe, but as Christians, we know the chief end of man - we know why we're here. We have the Bible to tell us right from wrong. We know what is important. We regard God as the centre of the universe - not man.
The philosophy of this book stopped me reading it to Jemimah for a time, and yet, despite my misgivings, I really wanted her to know and to enjoy the good bits of this story - the delightful characters, for example - as well as to consider some of the questions that the book raises - from a Christian point-of-view not an existentialist one. Still, I dithered.
The Little Prince was voted 'Best Book of the 20th C' in France, and sells over a million copies a year, almost 60 years after publication. It is the most read and most translated book in the French language. It is much quoted, and has been adapted to stage, screen, ballet and opera. Eventually it was this significant link with French cultural identity that persuaded me to at least give it a go. It seemed an integral link for a full study of French language and culture.
So far we're enjoying it. We've looked at some important questions - What is the difference between reality and make-believe? Can a child's perception of something be more real than an adult's? What is Jesus saying in Matthew 18?
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18: 3-5 NIVWhat about the words of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes?
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1: 2 NIVSignificantly, when I asked Jemimah what the picture was of she said it was a snake that had eaten something. To me it looked like a hat. What does this say? Are adults blind to the truth? (Was blind but now I see...)
Have you read The Little Prince to your kids? Did they like it? Did you? Did it raise interesting questions? Is it okay to read books to your kids that espouse a philosophy different from your own? Talk to me.