Sunday, December 23, 2012
Life with Babar
The son of the creator of Babar the Elephant discusses him.
From a piece in the Huffington Post...
Babar was born in 1931 when I was 6 and my brother Mathieu was 5. We were living just outside Paris. One night our mother told us a bed time story about a little elephant whose mother is killed by a hunter and who runs away from the jungle where he was born until he reaches a city very much like Paris. There he meets a kind old lady who gives him money to buy nice clothes. He becomes quite sophisticated in the city but eventually goes back home to the jungle, where he is crowned king of the elephants.
Mathieu and I told this story to our father, Jean de Brunhoff, who was an artist. He did a book for us based on the story, with large pages of illustrations, and he named the little elephant Babar. (In our mother's story he was only "baby elephant"). My brother and I loved this book and so did other members of my father's family, who happened to be in the publishing business. They published the book in the same large format as the original work, and it was a great success. The year after it was published in Paris, it was translated into English and published in New York.