Jean de Brunhoff
Ages 4 to 6
Random House, 1961, 0-394-80575-5
One day Babar the little elephant is riding on his mother’s back when a wicked hunter shoots at the two elephants. Poor little Babar’s mother is killed, and when the hunter chases him, Babar runs away, running and running until he reaches a town. In the town Babar sees some very well dressed people walking in the streets and he begins to wish that he too could look like them.
Luckily for Babar he meets a wealthy and kind Old Lady who takes him under her wing. She has Babar fitted for some very elegant clothes, and she invites him to live with her. Soon Babar is taking lessons, is driving a car, and is becoming a real town elephant. However Babar cannot forget his former life in the forest. He misses his friends and family, and when his two cousins Celeste and Arthur arrive in the town one day he is overjoyed to see them. When the cousins go back home Babar decides to go with them, and a thus begins a new and exciting chapter in his life.
Though this book was first published in 1937, it still has a great deal of appeal for today’s young readers. Jean de Brunhoff’s artwork is unique with its simple lines and delicate colorization, and his story of how a little elephant finds his place in the world is full of understanding and hope.