Friday, 29 November 2013

Babar and the Wully Wully by Jean De Brunhoff (Abrams Young Readers)

Babar and the Wully Wully

Written and Illustrated by
Jean De Brunhoff

Published by Abrams Young Readers

We love Babar. We've got some rather special Babar loveliness coming up on the blog very soon but today we're looking at Babar and the Wully Wully, a fantastic story that highlights all the reasons why Jean De Brunhoff's peerless Elephant characters are still so timeless and brilliant 80 years (yes, 80 years!!!) on.

Babar the Elephant is king of a wonderful realm, living in perfect harmony with his elephant subjects. However, things aren't always perfect in paradise - a tribe of rhinos, led by the grumpy and curmudgeonly Rataxes are always causing trouble. So when Babar's children Pom, Flora and Alexandra find a strange creature while out playing in Celestville, they bring him home as a well-loved pet.

The Wully Wully is cute and charming, and loves life in Celestville, but the evil Rataxes watches with an envious glint in his eye, and can't wait to kidnap the Wully Wully for himself.

Needless to say, Wully Wully does not have a happy life living amongst the rhinos. He's kept in a cage, or on a lead, and is thoroughly miserable. So it's up to the bravest elephants and their monkey chum to mount a rescue mission.

Trouble is round the corner though, when Rataxes finds out - and declares war on the elephants. Things look grim, but can Flora change the course of history before the elephants and the rhinos fight?

This is a truly wonderful book, teaching children why sharing and kindness are important - but also that fighting and war are not the only answer, sometimes diplomacy and discussion can win out.

I've often said that Jean De Brunhoff was a time traveller, who leapt back in time to the 1930s to begin writing his stories, because they feel so contemporary (with a few odd anachronisms of course) and their messages are utterly important, even today.

Beautifully illustrated as ever, with a cast of engaging characters, we just cannot get enough of Babar and his friends.

Charlotte's best bit: The Wully Wully is so cute! I hadn't the heart to tell her that she can't have one for Christmas.

Daddy's Favourite bit: Sharing, compassion, diplomacy, war, you name it, Jean De Brunhoff expertly makes it accessible and understandable by children of all ages - which is why the Babar books are so durned special. Do not miss out as they're steadily being reprinted!