The Little Prince

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important”

What’s the Story?

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery is narrated by a crashed aviator stranded in the Sahara Desert. As he works desperately to repair his plane, a boy known only as “the little prince” shows up out of nowhere and insists that the pilot draw him a sheep. What follows is a marvelous story of how this little boy came to Earth and what happens after.



The little prince comes from a tiny planet the size of a house where he resides with a single rose whom he loves. However, he begins to feel that she was taking advantage of him, so he leaves his rose to explore the universe.

The little prince travels from planet to planet, meeting many foolish adults along the way. Eventually, he realizes the mistake he made in leaving his rose and laments that he did not understand how to love his rose while he was with her.

After arriving at Earth, he wishes to find a way to return to his rose but what will it cost him?

Why is it Great?

Published posthumously in 1943, The Little Prince is Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s most beloved work and it remains one of the best-selling and most translated books ever published. It is based in part on his plane crash in 1935 in the Sahara desert.


For such a short novella, and marketed as a children’s story no less, The Little Prince is a surprisingly complex and deep story that demands multiple readings in order to peel back its layers.


The Little Prince explores themes like love, loss, and mortality. Like real life, it can be both marvelously happy and profoundly sad at times. The Little Prince may be a children’s book but it never makes the mistake of being merely childish. 


Rather than infantilize readers and dumb down hard topics to make them “appropriate” for children, The Little Prince tackles them head on and proves that, sometimes, a child’s perspective can lend new insights to “adult” topics like suffering and loss.

What’s Most Important is Immaterial and Unseen

The little prince exhibits hope and faith that seem irrational at times. While the pilot struggles to accept suffering and mortality, he accepts them as part of life. After he leaves, the pilot remembers what it is like to believe like a child. Children grow up but The Little Prince teaches them to never forget to have hope, faith, and imagination along the way.


Suffering is a Part of Life

You can’t have the good without also experiencing some bad. The little prince can’t return home without suffering first. Making new friends means having to suffer the pain of goodbye later. Rather than an obstacle to happiness, suffering is seen as merely part of the journey on the path to true joy. When we find happiness in this life it is made sweeter by the trials we had to endure along the way.


The Nature of Death

Parents may want to read the conclusion before determining if this book is appropriate for their child. Stranded on Earth and eager to return to his rose, the prince meets a venomous snake who promises a way to solve his problem. The prince agrees. The snake bites him and he dies.


However, death is not the end, it seems. It is unclear whether the prince actually dies and the ending may be intentionally left to the reader’s interpretation. In an act of sacrificial love, the prince dies for his rose and seems to resurrect, his body disappearing from Earth as he returns to his planet and his beloved rose waiting for him there.


The Nature of Love

Among other things, The Little Prince is a love story. One of the central conflicts of the story is the prince’s departure from the rose that he loves only to later realize his mistake. During his journey, he realizes that his rose is not the rare and singular flower he thought she was but that there are many just like her. He despairs at this realization but later learns what really makes his rose unique. The little prince would do anything for his rose and that’s what makes his rose special to him compared to all the other roses.



What makes us special is not that we are useful, or even that we are unique, but that we are loved. A rose that looks like five thousand other roses is not unique at all. But when someone loves it and is even willing to die for it, it is quite precious.


There are many other lessons buried within The Little Prince’s pages but it will take multiple read-throughs to dig deep and mine them. The Little Prince is a great story that is worth coming back to time and time again.

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