My favorite themes of the book are the ideas that grownups just don’t understand and that they forget so quickly the innocence of youth. This idea is immediately introduced through the crashed pilot’s discouragement from being an artist at the age of six. How many of us were discouraged from our dreams at such a young age because of cynical grownups, busy lives, or parental expectations that were unreal? Could we have turned out differently (or more happily) if that dream hadn’t been crushed? Could we avoid midlife crises by not teaching children what they can’t do?
And yet The Little Prince reveals that children sometimes know better. They just keep quiet. De Saint-Exupéry wrote, “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again” (p. 2). He explained that many adults have forgotten what it’s like to be a child.