Netflix and The Little Prince: A perfect storytelling match

The first-ever animated version of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, from Netflix, adds a new layer of narrative to the story

The Little Prince
 by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, first published in 1943, is little short of a phenomenon.

It is the third best-selling work of fiction ever (behind Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit), with 140 million units shifted to date.

And that number will probably rise a fair bit this year thanks to the arrival of the first ever animated version of the story, courtesy of Netlfix. It is available to watch on the service now.

The film adds a new layer of narrative, with the inclusion of a lonely young girl who has just moved into a new neighbourhood and is being harried by her rather distant mother to prep to get into a posh school. She makes friends with the old man next door, who used to be an aviator and who tells her the story of The Little Prince in a series of flashbacks.

That story concerns the innocent wisdom of childhood and the folly of losing that innocence amidst the pressures of adulthood, all thanks to an encounter in the desert with the boy who fell to earth.

The animation is reminiscent of Pixar's Up and Inside Out, at least it is when the story is focused on the little girl. In the flashbacks it changes to become basically a 3D representation of Saint Exupery's original illustrations. It's well worth watching, but we'd also advise that you join the 140 million converts to the book, as well.

Talking of Netflix, Clive James, one of the all-time great television critics, has just published a new book - Play All: A Binge Watcher's Notebook. As well as being a fun run-through of some of the great TV shows of recent times, it also posits the theory that the original content produced (largely) by subscription services are the modern equivalent of the great novel - allowing writers to draw characters and develop plots in detail not seen anywhere else.

It's an interesting idea and one that holds up to some scrutiny. Plus, if we're honest, we're pretty excited about the idea that 'A Wordsworth Edition and chill' might become a new phrase for an alternative to going to bed with a good book. We'll keep checking Urban Dictionary just in case.

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