The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine De Saint-Exupery by Peter Sis
Peter Sis is a phenomenal storyteller whose brilliance in illustration is even stronger. Forget that he won the McArthur Fellowship (also known as the McArthur Genius award) and won the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration. The Hans Christian Andersen award is for an author or illustrator who has made a lasting contribution to children’s literature and it is the highest international children’s book award. He has won numerous Caldecott Honors including one for The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain when I was serving on the Caldecott committee (2008).
The latest book is marvelous in its detail, its scope, and the magnificent art throughout. I think this may be his best work yet. It really is a book to lose oneself in. How do you even begin to tell the story of the creator of the Little Prince? What we find is that De Saint-Exupery was obsessed about everything to do with planes. As a child he hung out at an airfield in his home near Lyon, France. When he was old enough he began working for a company that delivered mail – air mail! He was a reconnaissance pilot at the start of WWII but left France when it looked like all hope was lost in France. He moved to New York and it was there that he wrote the book he is most famous for – The Little Prince.
Each page is meticulously drawn with the running text at the bottom of each page. Readers can choose to read only those bits and they would get a solid story. But what delights they would miss if they did! Each of the pages has a number of smaller drawings that make up the whole and each of these contains interesting facts about the author. This is a book to pore over, put down, and then do it all again and again.
I can’t recommend this book any more highly. It is a perfect picture book with the exquisite balance of text and illustration. The Pilot and the Little Prince comes out on May 27th. Take a look – you won’t be able to put it down. It may just lure you into reading The Little Prince once again.