One of the best presents my parents have given me of late was a box of children’s books from my childhood. I have read the picture books over and over to my children and chosen novels from the stacks either to read aloud, or to recommend them to read.
Admittedly some are dated. One of my favourite books “The House that Sailed Away” includes a family member with a drink problem and a group of comedy cannibals, for example. Times change of course, but stories still go on, even if they need a little editing for modern times.
A couple of nights ago I put down my usual adult thriller at bedtime and picked up “The little Prince” by Antonie de Saint-Exupery – a classic children’s book, of course, written in 1945. My copyis from 1975 and is beautiful. I’ll be honest I couldn’t remember the plot, which is probably because it’s bonkers. A tiny alien prince travels around some strange planets before befriending a man on Earth whose plane had broken down. Being written in 1945 I expected it to need a little editing but actually found only one line that was mildly suspect. The rest is simply strange and beautiful. My favourite part is where he describes his planet and how he cleans out his three volcanos every day, even the extinct one because “one never knows”. Which could be a metaphor for a number of things.
This book is odd. It’s unlikely to draw you or your child towards an obsession with children’s books and reading, but it’s a little bit of escapism which can’t be bad. We should all look after our flowers a little better I think, just like The Little Prince.