From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up–This timeless story of a man who meets a mysterious boy in the middle of the desert is one that has been enjoyed by readers of all ages for more than 65 years. The man is young at heart, strongly influenced by the memories of his own childhood. He loves to draw although he isn't very good at it, and his art helps him form an emotional bond with the boy. The child appears to be young but has a very old soul. He loves to talk, think, and ask questions. He also has the strength to face a sacrifice that the man cannot. The original story was illustrated by Saint-Exupéry, which makes this modern transition into graphic-novel form especially seamless. Sfar is very respectful of the original writing and illustrations, but his simple yet nuanced artwork brings another layer of depth to the story, his use of shadows and close-ups reinforcing the mood of this piece. His adaptation is as classic as the original, and it will bring this quiet yet thought-provoking story to a new generation of readers. The format will be especially attractive to teens who might have missed this story when they were children, and to adults who are interested in revisiting their own childhood memories. Also available in French (ISBN 978-0-547-44330-0; $22.).–Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Adapting a classic tale, especially one in which the original illustrations are such a key part of the story and its lasting appeal, might seem an iffy prospect, but it is hard to imagine a better candidate to pull it off than Sfar and his widely admired comics sensibility. On the surface, this is a straight graphic-novel retelling of the narrator pilot getting stranded in the desert, where he meets a curious little boy who claims to be from a wee planet very far away. Their conversations and interactions—delicately touching on the nature of love and friendship, deviously exploring the absurdity of grown-up pursuits and the fleeting qualities of beauty—capture the whimsy that makes the story’s gravity so strong, and the innocence that cuts the world-weary adultness to the bone. The ultimately tricky task is to honor the source but not sound like an adaptation (otherwise, why not just read the original?), and Sfar nails it on both counts. From the vain rose and towering baobabs on the boy’s planet to the pilot’s drawings of an elephant swallowed by a boa constrictor and a sheep in a box, everything is handled with both reverence and ingenuity. There is always the question of whether this story is best suited for children or adults, but legions of admirers prove that it sits in the rarified air of literature that works both ways. A worthy tribute that’s most worthy of its own share of applause. Grades 5-9. --Ian Chipman