March 18, 2007

Babar summarized or why we love Babar

Babar's mom is shot and killed by a hunter. He runs away the city where the little old lady adopts him. She hands him a purse full of money and marches into to a department store to buy a green suit and derby. With his fancy clothes he becomes something of a dandy, popular at dinner parties. By chance, he runs into his young cousins Celeste and Arthur who have run away from the jungle and takes them back home. On the same day he returns the elephant king eats a bad mushroom, turns green, and dies. Cornelius the oldest elephant anoints Babar king. Babar promptly marries his young cousin Celeste. On their honeymoon they are captured and almost eaten cannibals (of course strictly speaking cannibals eat each other while in this case they looked like they were going to eat Celeste, but you understand...). The honeymooners escape but are soon sold into slavery in a circus. Luckily they are saved by the old lady. On returning home they find the elephants are at war with the rhinos. With Babar's help the elephants defeat and humiliate the rhinos putting them in small cages. Eventually Babar builds a city of elephants (Well mainly elephants, Cornelius becomes the old lady's gentleman friend). Eventually Babar's wife has triplets while he's out smoking his pipe and shortly after their births the children are a) almost choked, b) accidently sent over a precipice and c) almost eaten by crocodiles.

As it was for me, this is one of my kid's favorite children's books.

posted at 01:28 AM by raul

Filed under: noted

TAGS: babar (3) book (7) children (7) children's books (12) good (2) weird (2)


03/18/07 05:48 AM

okay, i remember Babar fondly, but that all sounds pretty darned twisted.

03/18/07 09:44 AM

LOL! I always remember being horrified but fascinated that Babar's mum gets shot in front of him, and I loved that the kids were always in grave danger, but as you say of course this is why we love Babar as the best children's stories always have a dark turn or two.

03/18/07 10:38 AM

children's literature needs more intermarriage and rhino wars. why do we always have to depend on the french for these things?

03/18/07 06:53 PM

the shooting of babar's mom was my first understanding pf death

03/21/07 10:35 AM

The French aren't the only ones who write dark children's books, what about Mickey in the Night Kitchen where a little boy almost gets baked in gas ovens by three guys who sort of look like hitler.

raul - i wasn't sure how to read the post, do you actually mean it when you say you love babar or are you saying it freaks you out?

03/21/07 10:48 AM

I always thought the Night Kitchen bakers looked more like Oliver Hardy... Even at young age I thought The Night Kitchen was pale imitation of Nemo in Slumberland comic strip a collection of which I was lucky enough to have discovered at my local library.

For the record I love Babar.

And also for the record I thought The Night Kitchen speaks to that universal childhood fear of being forgotten and the perhaps less universal fear of being eaten. But it's presented in such a jolly way I don't recall ever being scared by it.

I'm freaked out by Sir Topham Hat.

03/21/07 04:01 PM

Have you ever heard of the Babar based religion?

03/24/07 09:07 AM

i laughed out loud at your comment about sir topham hat.
my 2 and 1/2 year old, diaper clad in his dino "jannies" top, half lying on the island in my kitchen looked up and shushed me as if he knew that this subject was not a laughing matter.

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