A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Babar kills a snake that has bitten the old lady. Cornelius is briefly caught in a house fire. Worrying about his sick friends, Babar has an intense dream.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the characteristically detailed artwork blends with a story that is engrossing even by today's standards.
Is It Any Good?
Jean de Brunhoff uses simple, direct language that communicates understanding and acceptance of life as it happens. There is much to observe in Babar's story: He picks a happy, beautiful spot to build his city, which concerns the fish there, but other animals smooth the way. The elephants work industriously and enjoy the fruits of their labor. In a reminder of how the world should work, they each pick jobs that will aid others.
Ever mindful of a child's concerns, de Brunhoff includes in Babar's worried, restless night a disturbing dream that nevertheless foretells that everything will turn out right. Kids process ideas in books wisely and alertly, and de Brunhoff has respect for these qualities. Knowing he was dying of tuberculosis, he wished to pass on to his own children an unflinching sense of tragedy and triumph, responsibility and acquiescence. His graceful vision makes you long to have met him, but at least through his books, another generation can fall under his sway.
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