cover image The Little Prince Graphic Novel

The Little Prince Graphic Novel

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Joann Sfar, HMH, $19.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-547-3380

Celebrated French cartoonist Sfar turns in a wonderful and lovely comics adaptation of Saint-Exupéry's timeless classic. The Little Prince is such a beloved staple of children's literature that an adaptation might seem inadvisable; indeed, part of the original book's lasting charm is the inclusion of Saint-Exupéry's own naïve but unforgettable illustrations. But Sfar has wisely incorporated Saint-Exupéry's role as an illustrator by foregrounding the book's presentation as a first-person narrative. Sfar depicts a very authentic-looking, middle-aged Saint-Exupéry—briefly chided in the book's text for smoking "in a book for young people"—as the book's protagonist, the title character's interlocutor, and the person drawing the elephant-inside-the-boa-constrictor in his notepad. The graphic novel's text conveys the wisdom of the original book, in which a childlike perspective illuminates the absurdity of adult living while attaining its own hard-won maturity. Sfar's loose but masterful art supplements the book's themes with a supple visual style that appears accessibly artless on its surface, but occasionally blossoms into symbolism and abstraction. The book abounds with individual panels that are profound in their meaning and striking in their simplicity. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)