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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2011
This bilingual version of the classic "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a nice way to improve your French.

Instead of most bilingual books out there, you get the French and English translation on the same page in vertical columns with the text arranged in such a way that it is easy to jump around from French to English and not lose your place. Longer paragraphs have lines under certain sentences so you have a clear point of reference, a great little feature.

The book comes with an mp3 CD with recordings in English and French and this is great to have as you read through the book, making sure you know the correct pronunciation of anything. The French reader's voice is very pleasant and clear as is the recording for the English translation. Having both recordings in French and English can be useful as you can also read the French while listening to the English recording which can be very useful.

It would be nice to have an appendix explaining some of the more odd turns of phrase to an anglophone's ear when reading in French and perhaps a glossary of uncommon words but that is just a minor niggle.

The format is so much better than normal bilingual books where the different languages texts have a page to themselves with usually little to no alignment. A lovely little book and the format is a winner. I look forward to future books in the same style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2014
the page lay out really leaves to desire: the lines of the cut and paste are visible as if the book had been scanned and not edited properly; Beware the CD is a CD rom and won't play on my son's Cd player! I will try on the computer next.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2011
Le Petit Prince is a book I've been intending to read for some time. It's a children's book really, but has become recognised as a classic suitable for all ages due to the way it uses its young protagnist's encounters with adults to explore the absurdity of human behaviour, and society in general.

The book is intended to be used both ways -- for French-speaking learners of English and for English-speaking learners of French.

For the learner of English, I say "don't bother". The English translation is quite archaic and occassionally stilted, and is of little use as a model for the learner. The English recording on the MP3 CD is also quite strange, with the woman talking in a bizarre mixed-up accent that incorporates some UK-English sounds and some North American English sounds. The overall effect is that of listening to a foreign learner, even though the speaker is reportedly a native speaker of English.

The rest of this review focusses on the book as a tool for learners of French.

The layout used for this book is, as other reviewers have noted, quite unique among bilingual books. The text is laid out in two columns on each page, and the text has been manipulated to ensure that the relevant sentences appear as closely aligned as possible. At first this is a bit disorientating, as quite often the font becomes unusually narrow in the French, but once you've got used to it, it does help you to keep track of where you are. There are many parallel texts out there where a lot of time is lost in trying to find your place when switching between versions -- but this is definitely NOT a problem with this book.

Much of the charm of the original (and in the popular monolingual translations) was in its colourful illustration and layout. Unfortunately, the bilingual layout has affected this badly, and the print technology used for this low print-run book has led to the illustrations becoming grey, washed out and grainy. The quality of the print and paper is comparable with what you'd expect from a single-use workbook rather than something designed to be kept in the longer term.

Many of the phrases in the French are unlike things I've seen in learner texts, and as another reviewer says, there are no notes to explain what or how these work -- we are expected to be satisfied simply with the explanation.

The French version of the audio is clear and sounds OK to me, but in listening to it on it's own, an unexpected weakness jumped out at me: the illustrations are an integral part of the story and referred to in the text. This means that the audio doesn't work on it's own. If I'm listening to something as I read, ideally I would want to be able to revisit it later by listening to the audio on its own and trying to understand it, but this story isn't very suitable for that.

OVERALL
The book is certainly not expensive for what it is, and I will definitely keep hold of it for my students to use. It's not worth buying a classroom set, but definitely worth keeping in the library.
The true value in this book comes from the well-planned layout, even though the story chosen wasn't quite appropriate.

Hopefully Omilia will produce more books in this format, based on more contemporary material -- if there were a dozen or so different titles available they would be well worth keeping in a classroom library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2014
Very good value at just over £10. Well-illustrated, clearly laid-out bilingual book-parallel texts carefully matched side-by-side for max. comprehension . Plus clearly articulated bilingual CD-English/ French versions in separate sections. It's a hauntingly charming story (fable) too -I couldn't be more pleased with this purchase.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2012
I think that, for learning French, this book is brilliant; everyone has read, or knows the general story of the little prince, which makes it, in my opinion an easy book to follow.
I would recommend having the book with you as you listen to it; this way you get to see the way each word is written, the voice tones for certain expressions and in general it helps you pick up, for example, when an "e" is acute, grave or circumflex which really helps when you get to stage that you can use the book as a dictation tool.

The only real quirk i found this product to have is that the reading voice is slightly fast for beginners.
I would have given it 5stars but i think that the manufacturers should've reduced the tempo themselves.
So, if its too fast for you, you can either use your itunes to reduce the speed, or audacity, but be warned you yould have to do this with each sound file and then re-allocate the album cover to each when you re-import it in itunes.

I can imagine that the language itself, once on use in real world situations is understandable, but my partner points out that it can at times sound dated.. I can only attribute this to two things:
1. that Le Petit Prince was written in the 40s;
2. The French language is always acquiring new words and its, when spoken can get quite colloquial especially within younger generations, so in this case, no language learning book is perfect.

So, if you dont mind slowing down the spoken part of this product in audacity or itunes, then this book is 10/10.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2011
First thoughts: the layout and design are fantastic. The presentation is much more elegant than other parallel texts I have.

I also appreciate the mp3's - they are much easier for me than a standard cd would be in this digital age.

I'll need to come back and revisit this review in a month or two, after I've had a chance to really dig in and use this book. So far, though, I'll give it five stars without reservation.
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on 16 November 2013
Echoing other reviewers:

Pros:
-Charming story
-Great formatting gives you superpowers over the target language
-Recordings are well done
-I liked the tips at the beginning of the book
-Inexpensive

Cons:
-A glossary or explanation of certain expressions would have been nice
-Illustrations in B/W.. but in a book for learning French, not a big deal.

Overall: 9/10.
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on 20 November 2013
This book I have read and read over again. I know most of the French by heart now. It has really helped me move from 'intermediate' French to getting used to reading real books. Somehow in working with this book French has become more transparent to me. Considering the learning I have extracted from this slim book, it's worth it's price several times over!
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on 18 November 2013
Surprisingly easy to read this well-known story in French! The translation is great and really helps illuminate the structure of the French whilst still remaining idiomatic. It seems to have some expressions in common with Katherine Wood's translation, of which I also have copy, but is in general more modern.
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on 17 January 2014
As a student of French I found the book easy to read with an interesting but sad story line. The disc helped considerably with pronunciation. The English translation proved invaluable with the meaning of words in context to the story.

I have used the book and disc since purchase about a month ago.
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