Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: The Little Prince ( Kutti Ilavarasan)

Every Year, The Chennai Book Fair has some book to offer, the purchase of which I would not have justified. However, later I would have appreciated my decision. This year, the book that I came across under Children's literature in couple of stores was an interesting Tamil title called 'Kutti Ilavarasan' (The Little Prince). The cover pages mentions that the book has been translated in many different languages. I flipped through couple of pages only to go clueless on what is this book about. On my second visit, a friend and volunteer at the Iyalvagai Publisher stall recommended that I should read this book. With already my to-read list piling up, I took the Tamil version of this small 117 page book.

Luckily, this book grabbed my attention and this was my third book to read this year. When I started, I thought this book talks about 'Children's way of thinking'. The next couple of pages proved me wrong.  As I read further, the beauty of the book unfolded. The story talks about an aircraft Pilot's interaction with a little Prince from a very small planet. The aircraft has crashed in a lonely desert. You can consider this story as the Pilot's Hallucination.

The little prince is in a search. His search is the narration. His findings will be up to the reader to interpret. As this little prince moves from one planet to the other, he meets different people. People who are not very different from the people we meet everyday. Except for the fact that they all live in their own planets which can not accommodate more. For example, let us meet the Business man who lives in a lonely planet. He thinks he owns the stars, since he was the first one to think that someone can own the stars. He counts the stars and keeps a record of its count. He does it all-through his life and keeps those records in a box. He keeps it to buy more stars if they appear. His life's purpose is to accumulate all the stars and keep it safe in his bank. Author does not interpret the life meaning of this, but the little prince responds saying "If I have a flower, I can pluck it. What will you do with the stars?"

Another interesting character is the drunkard. He says 'I drink to forget'. 'What do you want to forget?', asks the little prince. 'To forget my embarrassment', replies the drunkard. The little prince gets curious and asks again 'What are you embarrassed of?'. The drunkard replies, 'I am embarrassed that I am a drunkard'.

The author also has interesting watercolor paintings to illustrate his point and state of mind. In the very beginning, to set the baseline for the story, he uses the below painting with lines like "Elders do not understand things...". Let us try it with our readers. Look at the image below and think of what you understand from it.

Okay let me give you some options 1) Hat 2) Elephant 3) Rock
If you have one of these as an option, then you are wrong. The first image is a snake which has eaten an elephant. Since adults can not visualize it, child in the author has helped us by showing what is inside the snake's stomach. Unfortunately, as adults we can not visualize the real picture from the second picture also.

Understandably, the story and its characters are cute and highly creative. The non human characters like the tree, flower, snake and fox are equally exciting and thought provoking. For example, there is a tree which should be cut before it grows big. If you allow it to grow, it will grow huge enough to occupy the compete planet. Like an idea?

This is one of those books which I was able to bite a bit; smile, relate, relish, think and get ready for another bite. This story can be adopted as an excellent stage drama, but not for kids who are early readers. It has lot to offer for teenagers and adults who have better Life experience to relate to the story. After reading this book, I read more about it in the internet, I realized that I am so small to even write about it. This book has been published by more than 250 languages and more than 140million copies sold worldwide. More details about the book here

If you want to buy this book, you can do it here:

1 comment:

Blank said...

Hello, may I know where I can buy the Tamil version of this book?