The Return of the Young Prince by A.G. Roemmers is a long-awaited sequel to the much loved French classic, The Little Prince by Antoine de St Exupéry, published in 1943, which is a national institution in France.
Before swapping over to euros, The Little Prince was even depicted on the fifty franc banknotes alongside his creator, who has become equally iconic in his homeland, for his role as a writer but also aviator, before his death in 1944. On one level, the original Little Prince book is a charming children's tale, that tells the story of a little prince who has fallen to earth from a distant asteroid and sees the world through a child's eyes. However, it also appeals to an adult audience because of the poetic and philosophical thoughts and life lessons, which have become well-known quotations in French, such as "One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye", "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed" and "It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important". The watercolour illustrations accompanying the texts are also instantly recognisable and are depicted on everything from posters and greetings cards to tea towels and T-shirts.
With this in mind, I was slightly concerned about how a sequel, written by someone completely different, would work. It's such a cherished national treasure that A.G. Roemmers has very big boots to fill, but I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
The new book, The Return of the Young Prince, doesn't claim to be a direct sequel. It follows the further adventures of the little prince, now grown up, who is no longer content with his small planet and wants to discover the universe. While it is different to the original book, it retains all the charm and whimsy of the initial tale and will again appeal to readers of all ages, with just as many heart-warming life lessons within its pages. The illustrations, specially commissioned by the award-winning artist Pietari Posti, are very much in the style of the originals, which were drawn by Saint-Exupéry.
All in all, it's a fitting tribute to the original Little Prince story, which will introduce a whole new audience to the charming character, while appealing to fans of the original. As Saint-Exupéry said, “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” If you come to this book with an open mind, not expecting to find a replica of the original, you will be charmed by the quirky characters and philosophical musings.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : I received the book in order to write an honest review.