Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Babar's Celestville Games by Laurent De Brunhoff (Abrams Young Readers)

Babar's Celestville Games

Written and Illustrated by
Laurent De Brunhoff

Published by Abrams Young Readers

It's quite something to see when a famous author / illustrator's children pick up where they leave off. Richard Scarry's son Huck now draws and writes new Scarry books, and Laurent De Brunhoff has inherited the rich legacy of stories and talent from his father Jean De Brunhoff, to give us all-new Babar tales.

Charlotte wasn't aware that there were newer Babar books than the ones we've been enjoying at home and it took some explaining that these might be different. I hadn't read Laurent's newer stories before so we both wanted to know whether the essence of brilliant Babar stories could be relayed by another, even modernised in places.

Thankfully "Babar's Celestville Games" was deemed "lovely" by Charlotte, essentially a love story with a moral tale about tolerance and nationality woven into its elephantine creases. Babar takes a bit of a back seat in this tale of the Celestville Games, where animals (and elephants) from all over the globe gather to compete in the animal olympics. Babar's children (now all grown up) watch the various events, but Flora falls in love with one of the competitors, Coriander from the country of Mirza.

Their love blossoms and soon there is to be a royal wedding. At first Coriander's parents don't agree (Babar and Celeste are a little less 'stuffy' and wish their daughter well). A Mirza ceremony takes place and the newlyweds live happily ever after.

It's a lovely story and it's evident that Laurent De Brunhoff obviously paid a lot of attention to his dad's work, and has tirelessly kept Babar's legend alive. Really worthwhile if you enjoy the original Jean De Brunhoff stories and want to see if Laurent's own can stand on their own two (or should that be big stomping grey four) feet.

Charlotte's best bit: Flora's exuberant support of Coriander during the games, cheering for Mirza!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Fantastic, the modern books pay homage to the originals wonderfully.

1 comment:

Mrs Brown said...

I'm relieved to hear that this new generation of Babar books comes up trumps! I'm generally pretty skeptical when the original is such a well worn love. I'll have to look this one up. And really... Coriander... perfect. Thanks!