Book of the Week: Babar’s Celesteville Games

March 26, 2012

Did you know it’s Babar’s 80th Anniversary? We are big Babar fans at the Blair house — even before we moved to France.: )  In fact, I have very specific memories of being 6 or 7 years old, sitting on the floor in the children’s room at our local library, and enjoying a stack of Babar books. I’ll bet many of you have similar memories!

The newest Babar book is Celesteville Games. Athletes from all over the world come to compete. Oh. Plus, Flora is all grown up and getting married! If you’re already a Babar fan, I’m sure that mini synopsis is enough to intrigue you. And if Babar is new to you, I hope you’ll hit the library and read up on his adventures. There are over 40 books — and the  stories are always matter-of-fact, calming, and fascinating all at once.

How about you? Any Babar fans at your house?

P.S. — The New York Times shared a neat video of an interview with Laurent de Brunhoff.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patti March 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

Oh my gosh–I had no idea that Flore had even been engaged! It’s been so long since my kids were small and reading Babar. Thanks for the update!!

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2 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:26 am

I was surprised too!

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3 Christa the BabbyMama March 26, 2012 at 7:23 am

We love Babar! :)

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4 alex wijnen March 26, 2012 at 8:26 am

Oh, I LOVED Babar as a kid! My mom gave me some her old books to read (granted, at twelve I was probably a little too old for Babar) but I loved turning the vintage pages and reading the wonderful stories…

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5 Mary March 26, 2012 at 8:49 am

We love Babar here, too. I remembered the books from childhood and was excited to share them with my daughters. Maybe I got started with it a little too early… I read a few of them to my oldest (now 3) that were lovely (exploring the castle w the secret rooms, etc), but then got one called “The Story of Babar” (which might be the original first one in the series, dated 1933? – not sure). I don’t remember reading this particular one when I was a kid, but I launched into it with my three-year-old, and ended up doing some serious on-the-spot editing of the story as I read it aloud – Babar’s mother is violently murdered violently and there are some other plot points that are pretty advanced. I was a little surprised as we got into it, it wasn’t super appropriate for a toddler. So just a heads up – maybe save that one for the older kids??

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6 Sarah March 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

I have to second that. We got this from the library for my 3.5 year old, and I wasn’t as disturbed by the hunter as by the neocolonial message. Sorry, the English major in me can’t help it. I was sad, since I remember Babar fondly. Also one to be wary of: the first Curious George. And I usually try to read the classics in the historical context, but I do not approve of the Man in the yellow hat’s actions.

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7 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:29 am

So true! It’s sometimes tricky reading older books that aren’t politically correct and don’t seem very kid-friendly. It’s true with the original fairy tales too! Some are shockingly violent to me, though I confess, they don’t seem to faze my kids.

You know where else I run into this problem? The Bible! There are so many violent/inappropriate details. I have to edit on the fly, or assume the worst of it will go over their heads. : )

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8 Ann March 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

I have to try them again with my kids. I loved them when I was a kid. I used to take them out of the school library at least every other week. I think they appealed to my inner grown-up!

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9 Ann March 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

Loved Babar growing up and love sharing them with my son who thinks they’re the cat’s meow. He just mentioned the other morning that we need to get some more Barbar books out from the library.

I can’t believe this is a new book from de Brunhoff — wishing him many more years of health and writing!

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10 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:30 am

Isn’t that great? He’s 86! He was only 6 years old when his father and mother first thought up the elephant king.

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11 TracieOB March 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have been a fan of Babar for years. I remember my mother reading it to me (and I am a litttllleee bit older than you !) I have a poster of Babar and his dear companion in my bathroom!! Thanks for sharing a wonderful memory.

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12 Barchbo March 26, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks for the reminder about wonderful Babar and Celeste. I remember being totally taken with the concept of wearing a crown everywhere, elephants notwithstanding. :)

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13 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:31 am

Go for it! I think wearing a crown around, maybe just for a month (or a year!) sounds like a smart idea.

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14 bdaiss March 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

We love Babar and I have fond memories of the books from growing up. But…I don’t think we actually own any! (We check them out from the library.) Yikes! Might have to remedy that for this wonderful anniversary.

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15 Amy March 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I never read any of the books but as a child I loved the movie!!

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16 Mau March 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I’m a big Babar fan. I used to watch its cartoons on Italian TV when I was little. Now I’m buying the books for my daughters. We’ve only got 3 so far, but we buy one every time we visit Paris, which we try to do once a year. I didn’t realise there were so many so we might have to start buying three at a time!

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17 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:32 am

I don’t think I’ve seen the movie or the cartoons — and I hear there’s a new Babar TV series just out. I’ll have to check them out!

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18 se7en March 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh we love and adore Barbar. I grew up on these wonderful books and my kids are doing the same!!! Had no idea there was a new book out!!!

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19 Jess (Where My Heart Is) March 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Babar was my very favourite as a child and needless to say I made sure it was a favourite with my daughters. Glad to hear they are still as popular. I may have to buy this book to add to the collection.

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20 Lisa March 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I LOVE Babar! It was a favorite in my family growing up and I hope it will be a favorite when my (future) children grow up.

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21 Anne Evans March 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I picked up an old “learn French with Babar” book. It’s fun. Love them.

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22 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:33 am

I’ll bet it’s super charming!

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23 Monique March 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm

LOVE Babar!

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24 Lorena March 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm

How funny. Minutes ago I found myself in that exact situation with 3y old editing the mom murder on page 2. I was a long time fan and didn’t remember this at all! Young readers beware of the first book

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25 Design Mom March 27, 2012 at 4:33 am

Oh dear! Thanks for the warning, Lorena.

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