|Pilot and the Little Prince : the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Author: Sis, Peter
A picture book biography that explores the multi-faceted life of the creator of The Little Prince, who was also an adventurous pilot.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 166663
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 63929
Common Core Standards
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/01/14)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/14)
Booklist (+) (03/15/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (07/14)
The Hornbook (00/05/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2014 *Starred Review* Sís’ works are less picture books than little miracles of design, a craft he now devotes to a biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. That de Saint-Exupéry’s life was interesting in its own right—growing up fatherless, pioneering ever-more dangerous airmail delivery routes, flying in WWII—is nearly beside the point, because Sís has created such a compelling, multilayered visual treat. The writing itself occupies three levels: one at the bottom of the page tells the exciting but bare-bones story, ideal for younger children looking for a general overview; a second level directly above offers small, colorful details captioned with succinct facts; and the third offers more complex factual information integrated into the images. And what images they are! Multifaceted and evocative, they capture the mile-a-second swirl of a little boy’s imagination, the awesome grandeur of flight, and the danger of battle. Sís (The Wall, 2007) never misses an opportunity to hit readers with the power of pure image, as in a two-page spread of a plane flying over a geography of faces, sure to live on in many a child’s imagination. Sís’ masterful and moving sense of design never fails. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 4 Up—As in his works about other restless souls who charted their courses by the stars and pondered big questions (Columbus, Galileo, Darwin), Sís's picture-book biography of the famous French aviator and author comprises multiple layers. Trim but informative sentences ground the pages where text appears ("When he was four years old, his father died unexpectedly. The boy wondered, Where did he go?"). Sensitive readers will follow that question into the heart of the story that encompasses Saint-Exupéry's childhood, passion for flying, experiences with military and commercial planes, multiple crashes, risk-taking temperament, friendships, marriage, and publications. Dates, places, events, and exploits swirl around smaller images framed cleverly with bubbles, sequential panels, maps, or airplanes. The emotional content comes through the changing colors and compositions of Sís's exquisite double spreads. Many are wordless, as when the pilot stands at the edge of the vast turquoise ocean; above the horizon, twinkling yellow stars form the curls and eyes of the title character of The Little Prince. Sís is as adept at drama (the red paint bleeding from the sky as the Germans bomb France) as he is at subtle humor (an aerial view of Manhattan portrays the city as an alligator-shaped landmass emerging from a sewer). Slyly inserted referents, from an elephant inside a "hat" to a Méliès moon, add meaning. Sís's handling of the aviator's last flight and disappearance strikes just the right notes of mystery, majesty, and quiet wonder that connect the life and longings of Saint-Exupéry to those of his young, fictional friend. Brilliant bookmaking.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2014 Sís’ mystically touched style enhances this biography of famous French aviator and author Saint-Exupéry, who is most famous in America for his authorship of The Little Prince. For all the titular reference to that book, however, this is more focused on Saint-Exupéry the adventurous and pioneering aviator, and a dramatic story it is. Saint-Exupéry dreamed from early youth of becoming a pilot, eventually becoming part of the innovative plan to deliver the mail by air in the 1920s. He flew deliveries over Europe and northwest Africa, lived for a time in the Western Sahara, and then developed routes to South America. When World War II came, Saint-Exupéry ended up exiled to New York, where he penned The Little Prince; eventually he joined a French squadron in North Africa, flying reconnaissance, and was lost without a trace on a flight in 1944. This is a highly effective distillation of a fascinating life, and its focus on the opening up of the skies will be a revelation to kids whose knowledge extends only to the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh. As usual with Sís, design and art are part of the story rather than partnering it, and the round captioned vignettes that dapple or underscore the spreads provide ample opportunity for reader engagement. Dramatic vistas balance empty space of desert or sky against details that often have their own haunting graphic impact in the delicately stippled components; Sís’ maps take the aesthetic of early maps, with browned touches and curious particulars, and brush them with symbolism to treat cities and landscapes as animate as well as animated. This would add considerable dimension to explorations of early flight, but it would also pair excellently with an introduction-or reintroduction-to The Little Prince. A brief bibliography is included on the copyright page. DS - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.