Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Babar the King by Jean De Brunhoff

This is a good one, although Babar hardly needs my recommendation. When we read it I thought what I always think when I read vintage kids books - there's so much in it. Either kids just were expected to have a longer attention span, adults demanded more story or authors just had more freedom to let their books meander down various lanes on their journey.

In Babar The King - he chooses a site for his town, draws plans, delegates the work, pays his workers, and finally, name it Celesteville. After a big party, life goes on. The story is not yet over.
People have their jobs, and uniforms, and they all live happily together. 
They visit the Palace of Pleasure (a theatre, what did you think it was?!), they clean the streets, they have prize giving ceremonies. Sometimes thing go wrong (fancy hats get sat on and ruined, Cornelius' house goes on fire - but he is saved!) 

But in the end, the good nature and hard work and playing of the elephants wins the day. 

By the way, if you look at the Babar books, you'll notice that some are by Jean De Brunhoff and some by Laurent De Brunhoff. Jean de Brunhoff died at the age of thirty seven of tuberculosis, (after publishing seven Babar books). leaving one black and white manuscript, which was then coloured by his thirteen year old son, Laurent. This story was published by Jeans brother Michel, who was the editor of Vogue magazine. Still with me?

And apparently the story of Babar was originally told by Cecile de Brunhoff, as a bedtime story to her two older sons and then written and illustrated by her husband Jean.

Anyways, This one reminds me of some of the original Curious George stories - it just goes on and on, in the best way possible.

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