The novella tells the story of a pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert. While there, he meets a young prince who hails from another planet (actually, an asteroid), where he spent his days tending a rose. His rose was quite special to him, and he believed it to be the only one in existence.
The prince tells the pilot stories of his travels and the people whom he has encountered, all the while displaying a view of complete innocence. The prince doesn’t understand the Tippler, who drinks to forget that he is ashamed of drinking, or the Geographer, who makes maps but will never venture beyond his desk, as that is the job of an Explorer. Upon visiting Earth, the prince comes upon a group of rosebushes and realizes that his rose is not unique. He is upset, but then a fox explains to him that his rose was unique because of the time that he put into caring for it.
The prince’s naivete is endearing, and causes one to look at the world from a different perspective. For anyone considering reading this book, I recommend an edition with full color illustrations. Normally I don’t consider pictures to be important in a book, but in this one they really do help create the mood of the story.