What Is It?

What is it?

If you answered, “Why, clearly, that is a picture of a hat,” I am sorry to say that you are mistaken.

It is, in fact, a picture of a boa constrictor that has swallowed an elephant whole.


Clearly, this is a picture of a boa constrictor
that has swallowed an elephant whole.

These illustrations open Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic The Little Prince, originally published in French in 1943 and since translated into more than 230 languages. The month of July marks the 68th anniversary of Saint-Exupéry’s death, and so we have an opportune chance to remember the man and his work.

Saint-Exupéry was an aviator notorious for breaking rules; a fierce romantic who stopped flying for a period when his fiancée gave him an ultimatum between her and flying (she left him a few months later); a patriot who, at the age of forty-four, flew for his native France in the Second World War; and a national hero whose legend was amplified by his disappearance on a reconnaissance mission after his departure from Corsica on July 31, 1944 (wreckage of his Lockheed Lighting P38 was finally found in 2000).

He was also an author and artist. His best known work is the aforementioned The Little Prince, a work so beloved that the Little Prince has his own store and graces France’s 50 franc bill. The Paris Mint also produces a Little Prince collection.

France’s 50 franc bill featuring
the Little Prince and Saint-Exupéry

Stop by the library today to borrow The Little Prince and other titles related to Saint-Exupéry, including biographies and children’s DVDs inspired by The Little Prince. You can also access many articles about Saint-Exupéry through our library’s electronic databases. In fact, nearly all the information in this post was culled from articles in our databases. Please speak with one of our friendly librarians if you would like to learn how to access our databases from home.

To close, a quote from the Little Prince himself: “It is truly useful since it is beautiful.”


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