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The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant Hardcover – September 12, 1937
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The Story of Babar--the early adventures of the enduring, endearing elephant--was written in 1931 by French writer Jean de Brunhoff (1899-1937). Since then, it has been translated into at least 12 languages. It's amazing how much can happen to one little elephant in the course of one little book: Babar loses his mother to a hunter, wanders into the city, gets a new wardrobe, becomes the hit of high society, marries his cousin Céleste (totally acceptable in contemporary Elephantine society), and is crowned King of the Elephants.
The Story of Babar is essentially the tale of a country boy who comes to the city and, while there, comes of age. In the end, he returns home to share his knowledge and experiences with family and friends. The beautiful, delightfully detailed illustrations--de Brunhoff was a painter by trade--never fail to amuse. (Although none of the characters seem to notice, the sight of Babar in a suit leaning against the mantel while he regales his audience with tales of the jungle is plainly hilarious.) All of the Babar books are notable for their ability to tell larger stories with simplicity and style, and The Story of Babar is no exception. Potentially troubling moments--the death of Babar's mother, for example--are handled with taste, emphasizing Babar's unique gift for uncovering a silver lining in the most persistent of clouds. (Ages 4 to 8, though the cursive writing makes it best for reading aloud.)
"With many absurd and funny pictures, these tales of the popular elephant furnish hours of enjoyment to the young person."--Elementary English
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I found this book a great entrance into a discussion with children about many topics, including France / Europe, elephant hunting and the efforts over the past 100 years to ban it, poisonous mushrooms, and the fact that the English language is a living, breathing, changing thing and a book written in the 1930s uses language different from a book written today. Yes, Babar's mother gets shot by a "wicked hunter" and the king elephant eats a mushroom and dies, and my daughter found these things very sad. So we talked about hunting elephants and why people hunted elephants and the fact that some mushrooms are poisonous, so we never eat anything growing outside without checking with mom or dad first. Personally, I am glad my daughter knows that hunting elephants was once a very popular sport and today is shunned by the majority of the world.
I think that shielding our children from the past / history simply because we are uncomfortable with some aspects of it does them an injustice. To understand where we're going, we need to take a look at where we came form. I hope that this book continues to be seen as a classic in the years to come.
Barbar began as a story created by CECILE
for her sons at bedtime-MATHIEU/LAURENT &
Jeande put ART to the WORDS.7 ORIG. books.
Sold ALL OVER the WORLD.
After Jeande died--LAURENT contined the series.
KING BABAR and QUEEN CELESTE--
always have--always will.
*the art is STUNNINg*
bbp 64 okc aries