Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Reading Challenge

I'm always up for a challenge especially a literary one. This one comes from Valerie Budayr, children's book author, publisher, co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day and creator of jumpintoabook site.
Participants will share once a month a kid classic via their blog and social media. Valerie defines classic into two groups-Old Kid’s Classics, those books written before 1950 and New Kid’s Classics, those books written after 1950.
Here are some really good reasons that answer the "why" of rereading kid's classic.

"Joining me in this book-ish and fun campaign is a handful of powerhouse bloggers who are excited to share their very own #readkidsclassics picks! Please feel free to visit these #ReadKidsClassics bloggers to see what classic book reading fun they have created and watch for this specific hashtag on Twitter!"

This reading challenge came to me at the perfect time as over the holidays I had just been to AAUW used book sale and picked up a copy of "The Little Prince".
Many, many years have passed since I first read this book. I certainly looked at it with a new set of eyes. The book I purchased was Richard Howard's new translation of the beloved classic--published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's birth. It is a beautiful edition that reflects Saint-Exupéry's unique and gifted style. Howard has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this new edition has been restored to match in detail and in color Saint-Exupéry's original artwork. 

Most bookstores carry this French novella in their children's section. I can understand why since the book is less than one hundred pages, the sentences are simple and flow with an easy, poetic grace, and are interspersed with a text that have more than forty watercolor pen-and-ink pictures drawn in a childlike manner. But note that proper reading of this book does require a child's faith, acceptance, and willingness to make a complete suspension of disbelief. This charming story of the Little Prince has very serious themes about the importance of childhood innocence, relationships and responsibilities. It is a gentle, bittersweet fable that can be a hard sell for young kids. It would be a better fit for middle school and teen audiences with its poetic language, symbolic scenes, and philosophical discussions.

"Little Prince" was originally published in 1943 and is the most translated book in the French language. During the course of the story, we learn that the Little Prince lived happily alone on his small planet until the wind planted for him a new seed, from which sprang the loveliest flower he had ever seen. He lavished his love and attention upon the flower, which in turn tormented him with her vanity and her pride, ultimately driving him to abandon his home and venture forth into the galaxy in search of the secret of what is really important in life. He learns this secret, finally, from a creature of the Earth - a fox. With his new level of understanding, the Little Prince is at last ready to return home, but not before he passes on his new knowledge to the author - knowledge of the healing power of love which makes all things unique, and how the pain of saying goodbye is worth it if it changes how we look at the world.

Saint-Exupery’s illustrations are as much a part of the novella as the story and gives the reader memorable images of a boa constrictor, a sheep in a box, the Little Prince’s planet and the Little Prince himself.

"The Little Prince" is one of those books that could be read many times and something new could be taken away from each reading. The words are poetic and hidden inside the story are gems leaving the reader with many thought provoking ideas. Here are some of my favorite lines...  
  • “What makes a desert beautiful is that it hides a well somewhere.”
  • “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
  • “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” 
  • “For the travelers the stars are guides. For others they are nothing but tiny lights. 
  • "What the Little Prince did not dare confess was that he was sorry most of all to leave this planet, because it was blest every day with 1440 sunsets!"
Check out two previous postings on Ever Ready rereading a children's classic 
"The Secret Garden" http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/search?q=+secret+garden
"Little Women" http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2014/11/louisa-may-alcott-and-homemade-food-gift.html

April- Kid Classic Reading Challenge "Wind in the Willows" 


3 comments:

  1. What a treasure of a book! I have to say, I don' think I have heard of this book and would like to give it a peek. Thanks for participating in #ReadKidsClassics!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I Love This Book and you reminded me why ? All of those great questions that unveiled secret mysteries, AND one of the main characters is a Fox. :) I know we're talking books BUT have you seen the new trailer to the Little Prince Movie. It looks like it's going to be fabulous. I really like the 100th anniversary edition of the Little Prince. They did such a nice job with it. Thanks so much for sharing this timeless tale and for joining the Read the Kids Classics Challenge !! Here's a little look at the new movie. https://youtu.be/ihi491RQo5A

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't read The Little Prince yet! But after reading your post, I definitely want to check it out. It has been on my list for a while. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete