The Pilot and the Little Prince

Peter Sis

The Pilot and the Little Prince
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The Pilot and the Little Prince

Peter Sis

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in France in 1900, when aeroplanes were just being invented. He always dreamt of flying, and when he became a pilot as a young man, his adventures truly began. He was one of the first pilots to deliver mail by plane and, along with his fellow pilots, helped to create new routes to faraway places. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts, battled winds and storms, and even tried to break aviation records. He also crashed a number of times. From his plane he reflected on life on the earth and in the skies, and this inspired him to write about his experiences.

Peter Sis’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the world’s most beloved books.

Review

Peter Sis is one of the most extraordinary and talented author–illustrators working today. Born in Czechoslovakia and now residing in the US, Sis is an artist with a penchant for incredible detail who writes from real life. His stunning Caldecott Honor book, Tibet Through the Red Box, is the story of his father’s journey to Tibet. Sis has also created picture book biographies of Charles Darwin, Galileo and Columbus. He now turns his attention to the life of author and pilot, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

There are three levels of text that invite exploration. The main narrative is a bare bones biography of Saint-Exupéry’s life, from his birth in 1900 during the early days of aviation history to his mysterious death while flying 44 years later. In between, the story traverses his involvement in the beginnings of air mail, two world wars and the writing of many books.

The second, italicised narrative provides more detail to the story, and embedded within the illustrations themselves are many fascinating tidbits. Just when you think the pages might become too busy, you’ll turn the page to an exquisite double-page illustration.

Suitable for readers aged from 5 years right through to adults, this is a truly marvellous book. Those interested in biography and the history of flight will be particularly intrigued. Peter Sis admirers, old and new, will be thrilled that he has captured the essence of such a fascinating adventurer in his inimitable style.

Angela Crocombe is from Readings Carlton.

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