Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

*Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar* by Jean de Brunhoff


Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar
by Jean de Brunhoff
Ages 4-8 280 pages Random House September 2000 Hardcover    

In Jean de Brunhoff’s short career writing the beloved Babar stories (1931-1937, when he died prematurely of tuberculosis), the author established this character as an example of democracy in action, from Babar’s inception as the King of the Elephants to his manner of ruling, friendships with others in the animal kingdom, and benevolence toward society in general.

As such, the stories teach relevant life lessons to children who grow to love Babar for his courage and leadership, not to mention his foibles. Included in the anthology are The Story of Babar, The Travels of Babar, Babar the King, Babar and Zephir, Babar and His Children, and Babar and Father Christmas.

After his mother is shot by a hunter, Babar is left an orphan. Traveling to the city, he meets a generous old woman who gives him her purse. He soon purchases his first set of clothes, beginning the transformation that will return him to the herd with an air of authority and sartorial splendor: “a shirt with a collar and tie, a suit of a becoming shade of green, then a handsome derby hat and also shoes with spats.”

Babar mixes with society, entertaining onlookers with tales of his life in the forest. Later, when two of Babar’s cousins arrive in the city, he outfits them both in new clothes. Returning with his cousins to the forest in the old lady’s elegant roadster, Babar is so impressive to the herd that he is crowned King and his new fiancé, Celeste, the Queen.

While Babar and Celeste travel the world on their honeymoon, the basis of many hilarious adventure and misadventures, they return to discover that the herd has gone to war with the rhinoceroses. Carefully strategizing, Babar is finally victorious, promising to rule the kingdom wisely.

In Babar the King, the herd builds a city where all the animals peacefully coexist. There are schools, parks, automobiles; everything is perfect, save those few strokes of bad luck to remind Babar that we must never be discouraged in the face of adversity: “Do you see in this life how one must never be discouraged?”

Each story is filled with encouragement in the face of difficulties, Babar’s adventures defined by the give and take of everyday life and the need to overcome challenges with a good heart, a willingness to care for others and joy in simple things, family and community. Born in 1899, the author created an alternative universe in a country soon to face the First World War, his artistic vision come to life in Babar, a character beloved by generation after generation.

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Luan Gaines/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (