cover image The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Peter Sís. FSG/Foster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-374-38069-4

Following biographies of Darwin and Galileo, Sís celebrates legendary pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944). As in The Tree of Life, Sís supplements a main narrative with time lines and insets, wrapping squint-inducing italics around dreamlike illustrations. Readers learn about Saint-Exupéry’s fascination with flight and roles as a mail and military pilot. The spreads allude to Méliès’ Le Voyage dans la lune and map Saint-Exupéry’s North African mail routes, without examining WWI or colonial history. Sís crafts expansive, nostalgic palimpsests, illustrating the hero’s adventures with precision ink dots on sepia ground, yet he writes with emotional distance. Readers may wonder why Saint-Exupéry’s father, brother, and sister died young; why “hostile nomads” objected to his Moroccan outpost; why his wife has a Spanish name; and how he and his friends survived multiple plane crashes. Sís recounts astounding feats in an offhand tone (two fliers landed their plane “on a ledge” in the Andes, then “rocked it until it went over the edge and started up”). Gorgeous, densely imagined, yet fragmented in its telling, this narrative will send readers beyond The Little Prince to hear more of this mind-boggling story. Ages 5–9. [em](May) [/em]