Along with the Little Prince, the beloved Babar series is among the most widely read and enduring French literature of all time for children. Jean de Brunhoff created the character of Babar in 1931 with “The Story of Babar.”
A young elephant sees his mother shot by a hunter and flees to the city to save his own life. There he is adopted by an old lady, who teaches him the ways of what is obviously French civilization. Now wiser than all other elephants, he returns to the jungle. When the reigning tusker-monarch succumbs to a poisonous mushroom, Babar becomes king, ruling happily ever after with Queen Celeste.
After more than 50 books on Babar the Elephant, Laurent de Brunhoff, son of Jean, has just completed, at age 92, what he feels is his last Babar series. In “Babar’s Guide to Paris,” Babar gives his daughter Isabelle advice on how to navigate through Paris, writes Tunku Varadarajan in the WSJ:
“First, you must go to a café. Order anything. You can sit as long as you like. Read a book or just watch the world go by.”
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