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The Little Prince: The 5th Best Selling Book of All Time

The Little Prince

The Little Prince

Hidden in plain sight

I found a paperback copy of The Little Prince just before Mother's Day at a local book store and read it for the first time. The book was outside in a sale bin for only $2.00 and was hidden in plain sight in the midst of other older books.. I vaguely had heard the title but did not recall ever reading the story so I made the purchase. This tale is one that has been read for 9 decades and no doubt holds fond memories for many. Le Petit Prince is a novella from French writer, poet, military aviator, and Aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was first published in the United States by Reynal & Hitchcock in April 1943 in both English and French. It became Saint-Exupéry's most successful work and has sold an estimated 140 million copies. In France, the book was published posthumously following the liberation; as Saint-Exupéry's works had been banned by the Vichy Regime. This beloved story follows a tiny young prince who visits various planets in space and eventually finds himself on Earth. Although it is considered a children's book, The Little Prince addresses life issues related to human nature like friendship, love, loss, and..loneliness. It also is not written in the typical easy-to-read format of the average children's books.

The 75th anniversary book cover

The 75th anniversary book cover

A best seller

The Little Prince does not have the flow of the stories that children read in elementary school but the book is popular and I wonder if the majority of readers are children or adults? This story has been translated into over 301 languages and has been adapted to live stage, audio recordings, television, radio, film, plays, opera, and ballet. You can also read it on Kindle. This book ranks number 5 on the list of the best-selling books of all time and that is pretty impressive. I found this fascinating considering the number of children’s books that seem more popular such as The Chronicles of Narnia or some of the more familiar fairy tales like Snow White or Cinderella. I wondered how this book has sold so many copies and this was the first time I had run across it. I lived in the school libraries from first grade through college. I have frequented bookstores. thrift stores, church bazaars, and yard sales, for 5 decades without seeing this book. Neither my children nor my grandchildren had ever heard of it and it was a top seller. According to Guinness World Records, the number 1 best-selling book of all time remains the Bible. Number 2 is Quotations from Chairman Mao Sae Tung. Number 3 is the Quran and number 5 is The Lord of the Rings. its worth noting that number 6 on the list behind The Little Prince is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Second edition book cover.

Second edition book cover.

Left up to interpretation

I'm not going to spoil the plot for those who have not read The Little Prince but I will say the ending leaves questions and the interpretation differs depending on who is giving an answer. This reminds me of literature class in school where it was difficult to determine what the author intended. Five different people would give opinions and there really were no right or wrong answers. Even so, the teachers always seemed to have determined that their opinion was the correct answer and those who disagreed often felt they lacked comprehension skills. and I always felt This book leaves the reader wondering what happened to the prince, whether he lived or died or transitioned to another realm. The author does not clearly reveal the truth and I for one do not enjoy being left hanging. There are two lines of thinking based on the opinion of those who have read this gem and you probably have or will have your own thoughts on the matter.

Original cover of The Little Prince

Original cover of The Little Prince

About the author

The author's full name is Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry. He was born on June 29th 1900 and was honored to become a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and also was the recipient of the United States National Book Award. Saint-Exupéry spent 28 months in America, during which time he wrote three of his most important works. He joined the Free French Airforce in North Africa although he was in declining health. and long past the maximum age for such pilots. He disappeared while on a reconnaissance mission from Corsica over the Mediterranean on July 31, 1944, and this is the date given for his presumed death. The wreckage of his plane was discovered in 2000 off the coast of Marseille. The cause of the crash remains unknown but Saint-Exupery lives on through his work, especially his best-selling story of The Little Prince.

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The author of the Little Prince  Antoine de Saint Exupery

The author of the Little Prince Antoine de Saint Exupery

Sources

Best selling books

Wikepedia Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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