“It’s Such a Small Planet, Why Do You Need Borders?”: Seeing Flying in <em>Le Petit Prince</em> and Its Screen Adaptations

  • Aneesh Barai
Keywords: aerial perspectives, borders, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Disney, children’s fiction, children’s film


In this article, I analyze the potential positive impact of aerial perspectives on children’s understanding of their place in the world, with Le Petit Prince envisioning a borderless world of ecological and social unity. The novellas of the pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry encourage their projected viewers to see the interconnectedness of all life, including the life of the planet itself. Most notably, Le Petit Prince raises environmental responsibility in discussing the prince’s planet and undermines ideas of national difference as the prince views the earth from space. Visual adaptations of Le Petit Prince by Stanley Donen and Will Vinton pick up on Saint-Exupéry’s phenomenology of perception and translate them through visual techniques into politicized aerial perspectives. Looking at Le Petit Prince and its film adaptations, this article argues that aerial perspectives work to transform children’s perceptions and break down bordered mappings of the world.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2019.0024

Author Biography

Aneesh Barai

Aneesh Barai is Lecturer in Education and Social Justice at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include intersections of modernism and children’s literature, ecocriticism, representations of education in popular culture, and fantasy film. He has published on the children’s literature of Sylvia Plath, James Joyce, and T. S. Eliot, and on the films of the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. His current project is on modernism and school stories.

How to Cite
Barai, A. (2020). “It’s Such a Small Planet, Why Do You Need Borders?”: Seeing Flying in <em>Le Petit Prince</em&gt; and Its Screen Adaptations. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 11(2), 225-246. Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/479
Articles for Special Issue on Borders