A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this old-fashioned but well-told story, with the author-illustrator's classic artwork, appeals to wide-eyed young children.
What's the story?
Babar runs from a hunter who killed his mother, finally coming to a town where he makes friends with a rich benefactor. But Babar is the kind of elephant who doesn't just rest on charity; he works hard to learn people's ways and be accepted into society. Still, he must eventually return to his own kind, the elephants, who give him the highest tribute when they see the results of his hard effort.
Is it any good?
This book's simple charm lies in its innocence, its matter-of-fact presentation of life, its value system, and its celebration of flexibility, wonder, acceptance, hard work, and making others happy. First published in 1933, this book has become a classic beloved by generations of parents and children. Its long staying power attests to its value, and yet, in retrospect, one suspects it would not be published if it were offered to editors today.
The detailed primary-color chromatic art and line drawings are reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's classic Goodnight Moon. So many children, their children, and their children's children who have enjoyed this book and all the others by Jean de Brunhoff for so long know that not everything in life has to make sense, but that trying to behave sensibly has its rewards.