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Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar Hardcover – September 26, 2000

28 customer reviews
Book 54 of 57 in the Babar Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Seven decades after Babar was born, the world is still very much in love with the noble elephant. Before his untimely death at age 37, Jean de Brunhoff wrote and illustrated six stories about Babar and his friends and family. In this exquisite gift edition, every one of these stories is included, with not a word or picture left out. From The Story of Babar--in which the elephant is born, loses his mother, runs off to Paris, and returns to be crowned king--through The Travels of Babar, Babar the King, Babar and Zephir, Babar and His Children, and Babar and Father Christmas, the beloved pachyderm's incredible life adventures are chronicled for our reading pleasure. In his introduction, picture book author-illustrator Kevin Henkes writes, "Where else could one find a balloon accident, a deadly poison mushroom, a runaway carriage, an extraordinary flying machine, a snake attack, fire, war, death, birth? These books are full of adventure and fantasy, but they also deal with the stuff of real life. And I'm convinced children long to see both the dark and the light sides of human experience reflected in their books just as much as adults do, perhaps more." Adults who truly wish to share the joys of the classics with the children in their lives could do no better than to present them with this grand collection. (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter


"De Brunhoff's genius is in humanizing an animal far removed from human appearance, which he did by capitalizing on the elephant's most fascinating feature—its trunk."—The New York Post

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (September 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375810609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375810602
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Jill Minor on January 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was so thrilled to get this book as a gift, especially since it includes the long out-of-print "Babar and Zephir." When I began to leaf through it, being very familiar with the older editions, I grew sicker with every page. Jean de Brunhoff's stunning artwork has been absolutely destroyed.
Do you know how you feel when watching an old black-and-white movie that you have long loved which has been "colorized"? Yes, your favorite golden age actress now has pink skin, fucshia lips too big for her face and what color are her eyes supposed to be, exactly? The Babar art has been colorized in the most grotesque and garish sense of the word--which is really horrid when you consider that most of Brunhoff's original illustrations were already in color to begin with. Random House has decided, apparently, that Brunhoff's colors are not bright enough. Where Brunhoff shaded, Random House has plastered one uniform cartoonish shade from line to line. Babar's green suit ranges from merely loud green to splitting-headache green. The suit which he wears while playing trumpet in the circus defies description. Suffice it to say it is very blue and very red.
The beautiful scene in which the Celesteville residents bring gifts to infants Pom, Flora, and Alexander has lost its pastoral sweetness and is positively grotesque. The babies lie in their pram, which looks as though my kindergartener re-outlined it in black magic marker, under glaring green palms and flowers with a turquoise blanket scarcely dimmer than the book's cover (see above), while royal blue butterflies flit nearby. Babar is standing in a suit that is (if possible) even greener than the greenery directly behind him. A uniformly orange cow and dromedary are in the reception line. Think Fisher Price.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Anne Bazile on November 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Though Babar isn't one of the classic American children's storybook series, it definitely is worth introducing to your loved ones. This set of books is refreshing and cute, allowing for a different way of describing the world to children. I grew up with European parents who read Babar stories to me in French all the time. Compared to typically "American" stories, Babar is a curious yet wonderfully charming character who encounters just as many interesting adventures as any other. I definitely recommend this if you're searching for something different.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the delights of being a parent is to return to the books you loved as a child with your own children. For the last 4 years, I have read and re-read these classic tales with my daughter, who loves them as much as I did. At 6, she is only beginning to yearn for more complicated sotries and characters.
While the stories at times appear a bit dated - they offer a curious mix of colonialism and advice on how to run a pluralistic animal kingdom - they offer wonderful lessons on how to get along with others. The characters are caring and many of them are somewhat flawed, as they try to puruse principled lives in the jungle. My daughter mentions them to me all the time when we talk about issues, offering us a common vocabulary and easy way to exlain things.
They also are simply very good stories, with adventure, humor, and plenty of good intentions. Warmly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This one volume contains all six Babar stories written and illustrated by Jean de Brunhoff between 1931 and 1937, when the author died prematurely of tuberculosis. After seven decades, Babar the elephant is still beloved by young and old alike. Included are: "The Story of Babar"; "The Travels of Babar"; "Babar the King"; "Babar and Zephir"; "Babar and His Children"; and "Babar and Father Christmas".

From his earliest days, when his mother is shot by a hunter and he is left to fend for himself in the world, Babar is a curious and independent spirit. He makes his way to the city, where a kindly old lady gives him her purse; he purchases "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". All decked out in new clothes, Babar is ready for whatever awaits, as he mixes with society, entertaining all with tales of his life in the forest. Later, when two of Babar's cousins arrive in the city, Babar outfits them both in new clothes. Returning with his cousins to the forest in the old lady's elegant roadster, Babar is so impressive that he is crowned King, his new fiancé, Celeste, the new Queen.

On their honeymoon, Babar and Celeste enjoy many adventures and misadventures all over the globe, returning to discover that the herd has gone to war with the rhinoceroses, a situation requiring careful strategy for success. Finally victorious, Babar promises to rule the kingdom wisely, and so he does in the following stories. 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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Aubri Roundy on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I grew up on Babar. So when we saw this book we bought for our 4 month old son. He loves to hear our voices as we read to him and he also loves the bright colored pictures. We enjoy the memories that the stories bring back to us. A great addition to anyones collection.
TIP: We take the dust cover of any of his books that have dust covers and put them in plastic sleeves for later when we are sure he will not rip them up. That way when he is older the book looks like new even though it really is old.
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