After my wife and I welcomed our beautiful daughter home last week, the first package addressed to her—”Olivia Grace Jet”—was from my sister Georgette. Inside it was a children’s book called “Babar’s Guide to Paris.” Our son Jack was instantly drawn to the cover and asked me to read it to him. And to my delight, he loved it. I mean he really loved it, so much that he has asked me or his gorgeous mom to read it to him at least once a day since.
I grew up reading books of Babar myself. This one was illustrated and written by Laurent de Brunhoff, son of Babar creator Jean de Brunhoff. As written in his Amazon bio, Laurent “is an accomplished artist and a worthy heir to the legacy his father began in 1931. Laurent has originated dozens of Babar books over sixty years, including the New York Times bestselling Babar and the Succotash Bird, Babar’s Museum of Art, Babar’s Yoga for Elephants, among many others. Babar was called by The New York Times a ‘beloved storybook character,’ was praised by Where the Wild Things Are creator Maurice Sendak as ‘at the very heart of my conception of what turns a picture book into a work of art,’ was featured in USA TODAY, which said, ‘Few series have had such enduring appeal to young readers,’ and cited in The New Yorker, which wrote, ‘There are a few parents who haven’t tried the Babar books, and the rare small child who doesn’t like, or even love them.'”
“Babar’s Guide to Paris” by Laurent de Brunhoff ($14.79 on Amazon)
The books description on Amazon reads like this:
“Babar the elephant, one of the most beloved and classic characters in children’s literature, showcases his favorite parts of the City of Lights in this memorable trip to Paris, France. Laurent de Brunhoff’s Paris is filled with charming elephants on every page as they enjoy all the sights and sounds of one of Europe’s most popular cities. This all-new full-color picture book, rendered in beautiful watercolors, evokes the classic feel of the bestselling Babar’s Museum of Art, and it will become a must-have read for fans of Babar, those planning a family trip to Paris, and anyone new to the wondrous world of Babar.
“When Babar’s youngest daughter, Isabelle, heads to Paris on her own for the first time, he tells her how to enjoy the iconic city to the fullest. An expert Francophile, Babar recommends food, including cafes, street markets, and brassieres; he also offers the best sightseeing tips, especially observing the Eiffel Tower from every angle, walking along the banks of the Seine, visiting the Louvre and Orangerie museums, and exploring the Luxembourg Gardens. There’s even a postcard-perfect opening scene that features the Babar family visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral on a previous vacation.
“Babar also gives local advice. He tells Isabelle how apartment buildings work, why an elephant may be surprised by the size of an elevator, how to take the metro, how to find a restaurant to call your own, and to walk—walk as much as possible to see everything that Paris has to offer. In the end, Isabelle is encouraged to enjoy her travels, but she is also lovingly reminded to always come home to Celesteville and her family. Like other classic children’s books featuring international adventures, including Madeline in London and Eloise in Paris, readers will be eager to take the trip to Paris with Babar.”
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