Babar the Elephant is a French children’s fictional character who first appeared in Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff in 1931 and enjoyed immediate success. An English language version, entitled The Story of Babar and introduced by A.A. Milne, appeared in 1933 in Britain and also in the United States. The book is based on a tale that Brunhoff’s wife, Cecile, had invented for their children. It tells of a young elephant called Babar who, upon the death of his mother by a hunter, is chased by the hunter. He escapes, and in the process leaves the jungle, visits a big city, and returns to bring the benefits of civilization to his fellow elephants. Just as he returns to his community of elephants, their king dies from eating a bad mushroom. Because of his travels and civilization, he is immediately appointed king of the elephant kingdom. He marries his cousin, and they then have children and teach them valuable lessons.
Jean de Brunhoff published six more stories before his death in 1937. His son Laurent de Brunhoff, also a writer and illustrator, carried on the series from 1946 onwards with Babar et Le Coquin d’Arthur.
An animated TV series was produced in Canada by Nelvana Limited and Clifford Ross Company, and originally ran from January 3, 1989 to June 5, 1991 with 65 episodes, plus an additional 13 episodes in 2000. The character has also appeared in a number of films, and the Babar stories have inspired musical works by Francis Poulenc and Raphael Mostel.
Babar and Celeste set off in a balloon, beginning an exciting series of adventures. Escaping from savage cannibals, only to be trapped by a circus owner, Babar knows nothing of his home country’s escalating war against the rhinos. But with some help from the Old Lady, Babar returns in time to save the day.
This is vintage de Brunhoff–a must for Babar fans and a story sure to charm and engage young readers.
American Recording Society.
Music by Normand Lockwood.
Script and lyrics by L. Paris.
King Babar – Lee Sweetland.
Queen Celeste – Sally Sweetland.
Mary Margaret Mullin.
The Eugene Lowell Singers.