My God Daughter's christening is tomorrow, and my mother instructed me to buy her something that "she will have forever". Well, whatever I got for my Christening (a silver spoon? a rattle?) is long gone. So what kind of gift will you really have forever? Answer: A book.
This led me to a book shop where I bought a hard-backed copy of "The Little Prince", and promptly started spazzing-out with the shop assistant about what an incredibly, amazing work of literature it is.
I like it just a little bit!
It's ostensibly a children's book, and for a child it's a great read. But when I picked it up again as a teenager, I realised what a rare gem it is.
It tells the story of a man who, stranded in the desert, meets a strange little boy. This little Prince has left his home planet to explore the universe. Through his adventures, and his innocence, the book makes touching observations about life and human nature.
For me, the most potent moments in the book are the relationship he develops with the little fox that begs to be tamed ("You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed"), and his departure from the planet, which leaves the narrator and reader in a state of ambiguity about life and the after-life.
Originally written in French by the writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery (who did many of the illustrations), it's less than 100 pages long, and it's just beautiful. Read it here.
A graphic novel has just been brought out. For me it's sacrilegious, but out of interest...
And if you're lazy, you can always watch the cartoon ;)