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The Travels of Babar Hardcover – September 12, 1937

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Babar and Queen Celeste have just been married in this early story from the most famous of elephantine chronicles. They depart for their honeymoon in a hot-air balloon, and at first all seems wonderful as they glide over a charming coastal town that might be St. Tropez before the advent of tourism. Alas, a storm takes them out to sea and then dumps them on a desert island. The fierce, spear-carrying "savages" who subsequently attack them will remind you that this book was written and illustrated in 1934: they are as far from politically correct as you can get. And the war between the elephants and the rhinoceroses, which ends the story, is also problematic for a modern audience. But the travels and adventures in between show all the excitement and charm that has made the Babar series an enduring hit. (Ages 2 to 6) --Richard Farr

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Series: Babar
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 12, 1937)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394805763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394805764
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I remember loving all the Babar books and reading them over and over again, including this one, and I still have all of them and will give them to my daughter in a couple of years. I'd like to address two issues people have with this book:

1) Violent and scary events in the Babar stories which aren't appropriate for toddlers (who aren't the intended audience.) Easy solution: just wait till your kids are 5 or 6 before they get into the Babar stories.

2) Racist depictions in "The Travels of Babar." Racial issues have long been an interest of mine; my mother was an English professor who taught courses on Southern African-American Women's Literature, and in college I took some courses which involved reading many novels by African-Americans (I loved them all... Walker, Morrison, Angelou, Hurston, Raisin in the Sun, Women of Brewster Place, and Manchild in the Promised Land are the ones I most remember. And Kaffir Boy and Cry, the Beloved Country, about South Africa, were also great.) The Invisible Man and The Color of Water are on my "to read" list. Just wanted to share my background for what I have to say here.

"The Travels of Babar" was written in 1934 in France, when the "darky" icon was common, and it certainly was a very offensive racist depiction -- and still is, to those who know what it is. But I grew up reading this book in the 70s, raised by white parents who were active in the Civil Rights movement, and I never made ANY connection between that fictional tribe in the book and any real people. First, the cannibals are on an island and nowhere does it mention Africa.
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Format: Hardcover
Babar is one of the most endearing characters in children's literature. This volume is a classic that belongs on any child's bookshelf. The story of Babar and Celeste's hot air balloon ride and subsequent adventures in interesting locales fascinates kids, while broadening their cultural horizons. Some mature themes that may disturb kids (war, cruel treatment by a circus ringmaster), but provide a change from the pastel bunny and kitty story genre. Thought provoking for kids mature enough to handle it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is the second babar book, still written by the author (and i include brunhoff's wife who is babar's true creator.) there is much in it that might offend today - i see versions of the book with those sections edited out and maybe that is wise in this day and age. however, we find those sections good leadins to deeper matters of prejudice and ignorance and therefore the book, intended as light humorous reading, serves a much more valuable purpose. with this in mind, i would advise parents to read the book before buying, not on account of the book's quality, but because of the content. It has served as a read-to book, and is read by our kids 4 - 6. It's sturdy, has taken much use, and is still looking good on the shelf!
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By kjl on October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter was given these books when she was a child and loved the pictures and the stories..so I bought them for a friend's 4 year old grand-son for his birthday. And even though he had so many of the new modern toys. He really loved the books and stories. His parents were excited, too, since they had the books as children. it was a sweet gift.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is from a different time. Click the "See Inside" option on the cover image above. Please do not purchase this book for a young growing mind. Racism is learned. This book is a teacher of it through the images printed. Please don't expose your child to this. There are other lovely Babar books, (See link below). This one is simply from a different time in history.

Consider: "B is for Babar"
http://www.amazon.com/Is-Babar-An-Alphabet-Book/dp/141970298X/ref=pd_ys_sf_s_283155_a1_50_p?ie=UTF8&refRID=1P7EBTZ6RMR2TC0BMV8T
1 Comment 10 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thanks to Barbar, my grandson and I made some new memories together. Love the series!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lovely illustrations and story! A must have for every child's library.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has a lot of outdated, racist stuff in it. Not suitable for children. If you're an adult who can understand the time in which this was written and grasp that it contains racist imagery, great. Otherwise, stick to the first Babar book.
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