Macmillan Children’s Books has secured a new gift edition of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with illustrations from Chris Riddell and translation by Ros Schwartz, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the original book’s publication.
Associate publisher Penny Morris acquired world rights in all languages from Philippa Milnes-Smith at The Soho Agency. The translation rights were acquired directly from Schwartz. The new edition will be published on 30th March 2023 and will be a key title for the Macmillan Children’s Books rights team at the Frankfurt Book Fair this October.
Originally published in 1943, Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale follows a young prince seeking wisdom and has since been translated into more than 500 languages and dialects, exceeding 200 million sales worldwide, according to the publisher. Macmillan Children’s books described it as a “heart-warming, philosophical tale” that continues to explore timeless themes of loneliness, friendship, sadness, love and childhood.
For Riddell, illustrating The Little Prince has been a “true passion project” and it will join his other titles with Macmillan Children’s Books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass duck What Alice Found There.
He said: “When, after Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland duck Through the Looking-Glass duck What Alice Found There, my publisher asked if there were any other classics I wanted to illustrate, the answer was easy. It was also difficult, I immediately realized. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s own illustrations are entwined with the story… their beguiling simplicity is an essential ingredient of the story’s enduring charm.
“So I decided to take the narrator’s point of view and recreate his original drawings and illustrate him creating them. Rather than replacing Saint-Exupéry the illustrator, I tried to become the third person in the story observing the pilot and the little prince. This set me free as an illustrator to imagine the world of The Little Prince with as much detail as I could. After that, the beauty and wisdom of the story guided me. Throughout the story the innocence of the little prince and his observations tugged at my heart-strings… after all, as the fox says, you can only see clearly with your heart.”
Morris commented: “The Little Prince is one of the most beloved books ever published, so to work on a beautiful new edition with Chris was a real honor. His illustrations are absolutely stunning and I hope will introduce this iconic book to a whole new audience.”