The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), published in 1943, is French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's most famous novella. Saint-Exupéry wrote it while living in the United States. It has been translated into more than 180 languages and sold more than 80 million copies making it one of the bestselling books ever. An earlier memoir by the author recounts his aviation experiences in the Saharan desert. He is thought to have drawn on these same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry's novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including stage, screen and operatic works.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince in the United States, while renting The Bevin House in Asharoken, New York, on Long Island. Most versions of the novella include a number of illustrations drawn by Saint-Exupéry himself. Though ostensibly a children's book, The Little Prince makes several profound and idealistic observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince as he exits the Sahara desert. The story's essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: '' On ne voit bien qu'avec le cur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. '' ( '' It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. '' ) Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: '' You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed '' and '' It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important. ''
In The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry talks about being stranded in the desert beside a crashed aircraft. This account clearly draws on his own experience in the Sahara, an ordeal he described in detail in his book Wind, Sand and Stars
On December 30, 1935 at 14:45, after 18 hours and 36 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Libyan Sahara desert. They were attempting to break the record for the Paris-to-Saigon flight and win a prize of 150,000 francs. Their plane was a Caudron C-600 Simoun n 7042 (serial F-ANRY). The crash site is thought to have been located in the Wadi Natrum. Both survived the crash, only to face rapid dehydration. Their maps were primitive and ambiguous. Lost in the desert with a few grapes, a single orange, and some wine, the pair had only one day's worth of liquid. After the first day, they had nothing. They both began to see mirages, which were quickly followed by more vivid hallucinations. Between the second and the third day, they were so dehydrated that they stopped sweating altogether. Finally, on the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel discovered them and administered a native rehydration treatment that saved Saint-Exupéry and Prévot's lives. In the desert, Saint-Exupéry had met a fennec (desert sand fox), which most likely inspired him to create the fox character in the book. In a letter written to his sister Didi from Cape Juby in 1918, he tells her about raising a fennec that he adored.
Patachou, Petit Garçon, by Tristan Derème, is another probable influence for The Little Prince.  Antoine may have drawn inspiration for the little prince's appearance from himself as a youth. Friends and family would call him '' le Roi-Soleil '' ( '' Sun King '' ), due to his golden curly hair. The little prince's reassurance to the Pilot that his dying body is only an empty shell resembles the last words of Antoine's younger brother François: '' Don't worry. I'm all right. I can't help it. It's my body '' (Airman's Odyssey).
In 2003, a small asteroid moon, Petit-Prince (discovered in 1998), was named after The Little Prince. An asteroid discovered in 1993, 46610 Bésixdouze, which is French for '' B six twelve '' , is a reference to the work. The asteroid's number, 46610, when converted from decimal to hexadecimal notation, is B612. B612 was the name of the asteroid the little prince lived on. A 1975 asteroid discovery, 2578 Saint-Exupéry, was named after the author of The Little Prince. There is The Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone, Japan, featuring outdoor squares and sculptures like the B 612 Asteroid, the Lamplighter Square, and a sculpture of the little prince. In the grounds, there is a large Little Prince Park: The Consuelo Rose Garden. But the main part of the museum is its indoor exhibition. Before France adopted the Euro as its currency, Saint-Exupéry and the little prince were on her 50 Franc banknote; the artwork was by Swiss designer Roger Pfund. Among the anti counterfeiting measures on the banknote was micro-printed text from Le Petit Prince, visible with a strong magnifying glass.
Saint-Exupéry's novella has been adapted to various media over the decades. Richard Burton narrated a Grammy Award winning recording in 1974 and, in 2002, composer Richard Cocciante produced a French-language musical Le Petit Prince, which was later revived in Hong Kong, 2007. Russian operatic composer Lev Knipper wrote a 3-part symphony in 1962 71, his skazka (tale) entitled Malen kiy prints (The Little Prince), which was first performed in Moscow in 1978. In film and television, Loewe and lyricist Lerner, together with director Stanley Donen, produced a film musical based on the story for Paramount Pictures in 1974, and, during the 1980s, The Adventures of the Little Prince, a Japanese anime series, was televised in Japan and North America.