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The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Hardcover – May 27, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4 Up—As in his works about other restless souls who charted their courses by the stars and pondered big questions (Columbus, Galileo, Darwin), Sís's picture-book biography of the famous French aviator and author comprises multiple layers. Trim but informative sentences ground the pages where text appears ("When he was four years old, his father died unexpectedly. The boy wondered, Where did he go?"). Sensitive readers will follow that question into the heart of the story that encompasses Saint-Exupéry's childhood, passion for flying, experiences with military and commercial planes, multiple crashes, risk-taking temperament, friendships, marriage, and publications. Dates, places, events, and exploits swirl around smaller images framed cleverly with bubbles, sequential panels, maps, or airplanes. The emotional content comes through the changing colors and compositions of Sís's exquisite double spreads. Many are wordless, as when the pilot stands at the edge of the vast turquoise ocean; above the horizon, twinkling yellow stars form the curls and eyes of the title character of The Little Prince. Sís is as adept at drama (the red paint bleeding from the sky as the Germans bomb France) as he is at subtle humor (an aerial view of Manhattan portrays the city as an alligator-shaped landmass emerging from a sewer). Slyly inserted referents, from an elephant inside a "hat" to a Méliès moon, add meaning. Sís's handling of the aviator's last flight and disappearance strikes just the right notes of mystery, majesty, and quiet wonder that connect the life and longings of Saint-Exupéry to those of his young, fictional friend. Brilliant bookmaking.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sís’ works are less picture books than little miracles of design, a craft he now devotes to a biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. That de Saint-Exupéry’s life was interesting in its own right—growing up fatherless, pioneering ever-more dangerous airmail delivery routes, flying in WWII—is nearly beside the point, because Sís has created such a compelling, multilayered visual treat. The writing itself occupies three levels: one at the bottom of the page tells the exciting but bare-bones story, ideal for younger children looking for a general overview; a second level directly above offers small, colorful details captioned with succinct facts; and the third offers more complex factual information integrated into the images. And what images they are! Multifaceted and evocative, they capture the mile-a-second swirl of a little boy’s imagination, the awesome grandeur of flight, and the danger of battle. Sís (The Wall, 2007) never misses an opportunity to hit readers with the power of pure image, as in a two-page spread of a plane flying over a geography of faces, sure to live on in many a child’s imagination. Sís’ masterful and moving sense of design never fails. Grades 1-4. --Jesse Karp
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374380694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374380694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.4 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By B. McDonald on May 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Only the remarkable Peter Sis could write about Antoine de Saint-Exupery with the same gentle touch as the pilot himself. The book's beauty is indescribable. Page after page, we accompany Antoine on his life's journey. When the page is turned, the blood of the Germans' assault on France is doused by the blue of the ocean and the glow of the moon. From the whimsy of Manhattan's alligator pose to the glistening rise of an image of THE LITTLE PRINCE on the following pages--I catch my breath with its beauty.
Beyond that, it's a great true story of a pilot with a dream. Sis has taken us as close to the "glittering planet next to the stars" as we can go in this life. (Lift the book jacket to discover the embossed airplane. This sort of detail is rarely found in contemporary books.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book with its intricate artwork and historically accurate details will engage adult or advanced readers and fascinate beginning or non-readers.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James H. Price on July 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a pilot and one who has read Saint-Exupery's work, I thought it would be great for may 6 year old granddaughter. I was wrong
and then noted that the format was perhaps confusing for her. Her older sister of 10, strong reader was not very impressed either.
Perhaps I was not able to match the age grouping. At 74, I thought it was OK but then again, as a pilot perhaps I could understand
the interesting and intense feelings of the subject. JP
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. S. on August 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gorgeous book, and wonderful stories. My 6 year old wants to be a pilot and this book was so much fun for him to read. What an adventurous life Saint-Exupery lived! The illustrations and text are written in fun and beautiful ways. It was like reading a dream. Really beautiful book, would also be a great gift for a child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spring S. Harkins on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gorgeous. Bought with The Little Prince and read back to back. Illustrations are enlightening in themselves, even more than the text. Totally enjoyable and whimsical art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By prisca71 on November 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An intelligent book that arouses curiosity and engages the reader in a bit of geography and history. The book regards France and flying airplanes as they developed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By peter maxa on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This artist / writer is one of the finest. I recommend this and all his books. My son loved this book and is always waiting for the next Peter Sis booko
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Celeste on July 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved this book for the unique artwork and the incredible man the book depicts, the Little Prince incarnated. I'd recommend it to all children And Adults wishing to be the explorers of their life.
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