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The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant (1931)

by Jean de Brunhoff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Babar (1)

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2,976404,438 (3.81)41
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.

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» See also 41 mentions

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This story is about Babar, the elephant, and his adventure to the city and how he adapts when he he meets a welcoming older woman. As the story progresses, Babar goes back to his family in the jungle because he misses them. Additionally, Babar shares his new knowledge about the city with his family and he becomes their king.
  haileycinq | Sep 13, 2023 |

This article changed my mind completely about what this book is about. While I can understand that boundary's of permissibility keep changing. I feel that in this day and age such books should not be encouraged or kept in library spaces (without any engagement about the context it was set in).

Good book to introduce Racism and Colonialism to children. ( )
  kakanihome | Dec 15, 2022 |
One of my favorite picture books. I actually have both an English and French version of this too. My mom got it for me when she went to France. I can't read it in French though. Sometime I should read both side to side. Might help me learn some basic French. I like the non-translated one for the art. ( )
  Ghost_Boy | Aug 25, 2022 |
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, 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. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 3, 2022 |
Odd little childrens book. A minor quibble, elephants live in a matriarchy, so not only is this not educational its actively uneducational :P .
I'm sure there must be some other versions of this book but the one i read had hand-written text!, and in cursive! Even i had issues deciphering a word here or there but i can only imagine the horror on a child's face if they were handed this :lol. And their growing horror if they actually managed to figure out what it says ;) .

There are several dark moments in this which are not well dealt with to say the least. Also Babar is elected King rather than inheriting it, which seems a nice change... until you find out why he in particular is elected. Part of me wants to think it's a biting satire on elections but i suspect not :lol.

The art's still nice though :) . ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean de Brunhoffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Haas, Merle S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Mitten im Urwald ist ein kleiner Elefant auf die Welt gekommen.
In the great forest a little elephant is born.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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