Review - The Pilot and the Little Prince NFPB2014

Time for another dive into nonfiction picture books! With the proliferation of amazing picture book biographies over the past few years, it can be hard to really stand out of the crowd. This title, though, is something truly special.

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN  0374380694 (ISBN13: 9780374380694)
Source: ARC from publisher
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.A Frances Foster Book

My Thoughts:
I love picture books - but this one is over the top amazing. 
Take a peek inside!

The illustrations are remarkable. So many little details are scattered around each page that you could spend hours with this book. Yet it never feels cluttered. 

Each page has a unique layout, from central illustrations to family trees to timelines, and yet I never felt overwhelmed as I went from page to page. 

The color scheme is just perfect for the time period, with muted colors that call to mind old maps and treasure chests. 

I would love to use this book as a mentor text for students creating biographies and/or autobiographies. Each child could choose a layout from this book that matches their person and use it as a model for their information. Wouldn't that be more exciting than a traditional essay? 

Thoughts from students:
I knew right away that I needed to hand this book to my colleague in another building. She reads and discusses The Little Prince every year with a group of fifth graders. They were thrilled by the book, and loved all the extra bits of information they got from reading it. When they wrote up reviews, they mentioned:
   -- the lovely illustrations. Many mentioned the enormous amount of effort it must have taken Sis to put in so many little details that tied in with The Little Prince. They loved finding those hidden gems. 
   -- the connections they could now make with between the story and Antoine's life.
   -- the text layout. Kids notice things like that, and they appreciated the artistry of the pages. 

I loved reading their reviews, because it reinforced for me just how much a child will notice in a picture book. These were advanced fifth grade readers, and they got so much out of the text, images, and symbolism of this book. Make sure you don't relegate picture books to the little kid's section of your library!

Don't miss the wealth of titles at Kid Lit Frenzy every Wednesday. I only participate sporadically, but she's there EVERY week sharing and linking to other blogs! 


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