Customer Reviews: Bonjour, Babar!: The Six Unabridged Classics by the Creator of Babar
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on January 10, 2003
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.
Does your child really need to know that the mermaid Eleanore's sisters are peeking out of the water when Zephir captures Eleanore? Due to the paint job the sea has suffered, you may need to point this out, as Brunhoff's few lines are no longer recognizable as the tops of mermaid heads. Somebody overdid the brown on the faces of General Huc and Colonel Aristobald, these brave and clever monkeys no longer have visible eyes, mouths, or hairlines.
The subtlety, the grace, the old-world patina of the gorgeous Babar art is gone. In its place, we have. . .well, they do say that bright colors are good for babies' development.
I want to cry.
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on November 13, 2000
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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on May 25, 2001
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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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon December 19, 2006
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.

Each story is filled with realism, encouragement and hope in the face of difficulties, magical adventures touched with the give and take of life and the need to overcome challenges with a good heart. With a gallery of friends, Babar's life is defined by enthusiasm, 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 fruition in Babar, a character beloved by generation after generation. Luan Gaines/2006.
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on March 24, 2003
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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on April 9, 2015
If you are unfamiliar with this series it is probably at the reading level of a 4-6 year old but even the older kids will like to read it because the stories are fun and the illustrations are well done.
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on December 7, 2006
As a toddler, my mom read to me at bedtime. My favorite books as a small child were of Babar, so I always had my mom read me the Babar books at bedtime and loved them.

A few years ago at Christmas, my mom gave me the "Bonjour Babar!" book which has six unabridged stories by the author! This book is very cute and brings back a lot of memories! It is nice to have 6 books in one collection and recommend this book to all parent with small children. Especially if their children love elephants!
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on June 4, 2002
We have a 3 year old and a 2 year old and they both really love Babar and the gang. They love the book and Babar videos. We've had this book for over a year, and our children continue to ask us to read it to them. This book is wonderfully illustrated and humorous. Enjoyable even for adults.
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on June 3, 2014
It appears, from the looks of things, to be a children's book, but clearly, there is a modicum of blood and/or violence in some of the stories....not for feint-of-heart...
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on March 2, 2009
A truly intriguing and engaging series of stories for a toddler. My granddaughter is 5 years old and is fascinated by the elephant-possibilities of society, meeting, marriage, children and responsibilities for a kingdom. The illustrations are reassuring and surprising.
I love reading the stories to her, my important, however, is her delight at watching the careful involvement of Babar and Celeste with their children.
A toddler will not look for political implications or issues of "colonization," the pleasure of an unusual and gentle story ( I have to edit out some of the attacks) is what most fascinates and reassures.
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