Babar TV Poster Image


Classic books make classy series for preschoolers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Major themes are compassion and empathy. The series makes the point that although people (in this case, animals) may look different, we're all the same on the inside. Building friendships and getting along with others are also important themes.

Positive role models

Babar regularly practices sharing and getting along with others, seeing creatures for who they really are instead of judging them based on outward appearances. He's always eager to make new friends, too, regardless of an animal's economic or social status.

Violence & scariness

Characters are locked up in a cell.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Babar is a gentle cartoon series is based on the classic children's books by Jean de Brunhoff. Babar is a good role model who promotes sharing and getting along with others. Although the show is an ideal pick for preschoolers, most kids will probably outgrow it by the time they're 7.

Kids say

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What's the story?

BABAR chronicles the adventures of author Jean de Brunhoff's young elephant king and his royal family. Although he lives in a magnificent palace, Babar (voiced by Gordon Pinsent) is always eager to make a friend, regardless of their economic and social status. Babar shares his days with his wife, Queen Celeste (Dawn Greenhalgh), his children, and friends like the Old Lady (Elizabeth Hanna) and Cornelius (Chris Wiggins). He likes nothing better than reminiscing about his childhood days and recalling adventures like making friends from the circus.

Is it any good?


Many shows adapted from books tend to move at a slow pace, but this one provides enough adventure and silliness to keep even the most active preschooler engaged. As an extra plus, the music is beautifully orchestrated.

Babar exemplifies the lesson that all of us are the same on the inside. These elephants hold their trunks high, but they also know that money doesn't conquer all. Many kids' shows depict well-off characters as villainous and/or gluttonous -- Babar shows kids that wealth doesn't necessarily equate to greed. Babar fans should definitely check out De Brunhoff's books as well.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about basic concepts having to do with money and class in Babar. What does it mean to be rich? What does it mean to be poor? How can you tell that Babar is rich?

  • Families can also discuss the plot specifics of each episode. How did Babar decide to do what he did? Who helped him? Who tried to stop him? Why?

  • How do the characters on Babar demonstrate compassion and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:January 3, 1989
Cast:Elizabeth Hanna, Gavin MacGrath, Gordon Pinsent
Networks:ION, NBC, qubo
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Book characters, Friendship, Wild animals
Character strengths:Compassion, Empathy
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Educator and Parent Written bysally44 September 22, 2012

Fine for 5 and Older

Okay, so Babar has some pluses for diversity and friendship, but I think it's too much for the under 5 set when there's some concepts they can't quite understand. I was disappointed to see in the first episode how Babar's mother is killed, and Babar runs around screaming, "Mama!" I think it's okay for 5 and older when you can discuss those concepts but my kids are 3, and they were very confused. "Why did the man kick Babar?" "Where's his mama?" Also, I'm not a fan of the gender role stereotypes--king/queen stuff. I don't know why this doesn't bother more people, but it's huge in my opinion. Once again, when kids are a little older, it's different because a parent can have a deeper conversation, but at 3 or under, they're just developing their understanding of gender/gender roles.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byRealitista February 10, 2013

Quite a lot of violence.

The hunter is always chasing the elephants around with a gun, and the main character's father is killed by them. There's a lot of violence and death for a show aimed at kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence