The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant

by Jean De Brunhoff

Hardcover, 2002



Call number





Random House (2002)


An orphaned baby elephant goes to live in the city with an old lady who gives him everything he wants, but eventually returns to the forest where he is crowned king of the elephants.

User reviews

LibraryThing member msmalnick
This is where it all began, how Babar became king of the elephants -- complete with green suit & spats, little old lady, and why you should be careful when eating wild mushrooms.
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Babar is an elephant who’s mother is killed. He wanders into the city and a nice old lady clothes him and teaches him city ways. Later, he returns to the jungle where he is elected king of the elephants and marries his cousin, Celeste.
LibraryThing member GeniusBabies
The tale of Babar and his life in the city, followed by his return to his herd. Kind of a strange story in that it makes some wild leaps in plot, (like the king suddenly dying). It was also unsatisfying as Babar is never really developed as a character.
LibraryThing member stevetempo
I just loved how Babar always solved his problems with rational thought and how he was always a gentleman and made the best out of any situation. It influenced my development greatly.
LibraryThing member frances2791
This books made me feel physically ill. This book symbolized to me every empirical society that enslaves another with their value system and how those enslaved put on the chains willingly. It is a great book to use as a historical connections. The one that immediately came to me was the Brahmaṇ
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and how many of them sold their souls to their colonizers for personals gains.
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LibraryThing member Kaitlyn.Johnston
The story itself is nothing too unique or amazing, but has a very clear and sweet plot that would be easy for younger readers to follow. The story and illustrations do feel a tad dated, but I feel that younger readers would be able to overlook that. One point to note is that a couple characters do
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die in the process of the story, though it is nothing graphic or dramatic. The story follows Babar's journey as he heads to a city and becomes a gentleman with the assistance of his friend the Old Lady, and his later journey back home to become elephant king.
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LibraryThing member crunchymunchkin
I'm afraid this is one children's classic that I did not like at all upon reading as an adult. I can appreciate the iconic illustrations and can certainly see why Babar made an enduring character, especially when the books were first published, as probably many children found the antics of an
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elephant in the city humorous.
Unfortunately, Babar's story unfolds like a bizarre French colonial wish fulfillment and the translation to English left something to be desired.
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LibraryThing member engpunk77
We went back through our blue hardcover book that is a collection of the "best of 20th century" fiction for children. My son and I realized that there were 3 stories we never read, this being the second. This was by far the lamest excuse for a story I've ever seen, even worse than "Jenny Linsky &
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the Cat Club." This goes to show that we either had terrific intuition in skipping these stories in the first place, or, it's impossible to go back when your child is in (or you are in) 4th grade and appreciate what is written for younger children. I believe the issue is the former because we still love "The Tub People", but how, then, was this chosen to represent the best of the century? I'd love to hear anyone else's ideas on this.....
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LibraryThing member mholtan
This book talks about an elephant who witnesses his mothers death then goes to the city and gets taken in by an old lady who houses him and takes him in as her own. He then becomes part of the modern world. His cousins search to find him and he goes back to the land with them. His cousins get
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married and become king and queen. This book has so many wrong and inappropriate aspects to it. I do not recommend reading this in the classroom.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
There are so many better choices available now. ?�Why waste time on a book that teaches that an elephant who has been to the city and learned how to wear clothes and drink tea is the best choice for king of the elephant nation? ?áI find no redeeming value here. ?áI won't advocate we ban it,
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but why not let it go out of print, why not just forget it?

Apparently some folk disagree. ?áI'd like to know why it was in?áThe 20th Children's Book Treasury.?á
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LibraryThing member lissabeth21
Sharing classics with my kids.
LibraryThing member quondame
Charming, but to me, also disturbing.
LibraryThing member themulhern
Grim and deadpan, good illustrations.
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
When a hunter kills his mother, the little elephant Babar is so frightened that he runs away and ends up in a big city. He buys himself some nice clothes and accepts a nice Old Lady’s invitation to live at her house. Time passes, and then Babar has an unexpected meeting with his elephant cousins,
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who have run away. When their mothers come to fetch them, Babar decides to return to the forest with them, where he will become the king of the elephants.

The story and the lovely illustrations have enchanted generations of children. It doesn’t appeal so much to this adult. There doesn’t seem to be much substance to the story, although I might feel differently about it if I had fond childhood memories of reading it. Also, I don’t like stories where animals die.
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Original language


Original publication date

1933 (US)
1934-09-27 (UK)

Physical description

11.38 inches


0394805755 / 9780394805757

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