Le Petit Prince
Or to any English speakers- The Little Prince. The reason I want to post about this particular book is simply because of the layers it has. It is a book which, for me anyway, excludes no one. In terms of ages, it can be read by young readers as a heart warming story of a young boy discovering the Universe, grown ups and friendship/love for a rose. For an older reader it can be read as a philosophical text, as a commentary on political affairs, the nature of love and appreciation and on growing up. People can read it superficially or in-depth and both times it proves an enjoyable tale. Being literature student myself, I find that this type of writing is what can make the difference between a book which inspires passion and one which doesn’t. Similarly, the variety of levels can also be said to exist when considering the book as a study text. It can appeal to readers of French of all levels. The illustrations done by the author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, attract younger readers, and the simplistic language can make most passages accessible to beginners in French. More advanced readers can however appreciate the stylistic devices of such a well composed book, as well as its fascinating story, and as I said earlier the political/philosophical arguments put through in the book will also interest older learners. Thus showing how the text works on a variety of levels for French learners also.
It is one of the most heart warming and beautiful stories I have laid my eyes on and for this reason I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone interested in improving their French, whatever the level.
Here is part one of a musical performance of this great story which I think does justice to the original:
The rest is available on youtube.
One of the great parts about studying this text, and this is particularly helpful for more advanced learners in French, was being given the task to get to grips with the style used by the author. Antoine de Saint-Exupery uses a very simplistic and straight forward style. The sentences are very brief and childlike but also effective. One of the tasks set to us was to try and replicate the style by adding our own chapter to the book. This engaged the imagination as well as the linguistic skills. A lot of the book itself can be read as autobiographical, and so a lot of research into his life was also needed in order to help us with the task, but on the whole it allowed us to engage with the text in a very personal way, which is an inspirational way of teaching a text. I would recomend this to onyone teaching any literary text because one of the most effective things is always a personal engagement with the writing, style and content.