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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Pilot and the Little Prince (The)
by Peter Sis
Age Range: 9-11
From a very young age Antoine De Saint-Exupéry had always dreamt of flying. Aeroplanes were just being invented when he was born in France in 1900. After training to become a pilot Saint-Exupéry was one of the first pilots to deliver mail by plane and along with his fellow pilots he helped to create new routes to faraway places.
Saint-Exupéry loved flying; he battled severe winds and storms, he crashed several times, once in the desert where he and his mechanic were stranded for several days, and he also attempted to break aviation records. His flying experiences inspired him to write his greatest work The Little Prince, one of the world’s most beloved books which was published in 1943.
Peter Sis’ stunning, visual illustrated biography celebrates the life of this remarkable man who managed to achieve so much in his relatively short life, (he died aged 44 after going missing on a reconnaissance mission over the sea near Corsica in 1944 during the Second World War).
The Pilot and the Little Prince comprises of multiple layers. The narrative is in both the straightforward text and the nuanced, complex pictures. The text at the bottom of the page tells the story, while smaller strips of text provide more factual information, and then there are the cleverly encircled images with captions that provide dates, places and events.
The artwork is powerful: a double-page spread with the shape of a plane within which is a map of West Africa, Spain and France showing the route and distances flown for the delivery of mail; while another more startling image, is that of a small plane as it flies across the looming faces that peer out of the dunes; there is a poignant picture showing the lines of the Lockheed P-38 Lighting plane Saint-Exupéry had been flying on his final flight, which becomes the wings and bicycle of a flying machine and the shocking image of the red paint bleeding from the sky as the Germans bomb France.
Sis, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2012, has created an engaging masterpiece making The Pilot and the Little Prince a fitting tribute to the author of one of the world’s favourite classics.