Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Story of Babar

Publication Year: 1931
Author: Jean de Brunhoff
Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: Kindergarten to Grade 2
Theme: Courage and pride
Skill Taught: Making connections

Summary: A young elephant named Babar escapes being caught by the hunter who killed his mother.  He runs away from the jungle and to the big city where he meets an old lady who buys him nice clothing and a tutor to educate him.  He marries Celeste, also an elephant, and returns to the jungle to be crowned the King of Elephants.   

About the Author: Jean de Brunhoff was born in Paris on December 9, 1899.  He is best known for his creation of the Babar series.  The books are a reflection of Jean's life and philosophy.  As a Frenchman, his books first appeared in French, and then within two years, they were translated into English.  His wife created the character Babar and the adventures he went on to help put a smile on their four-year-old son who was ill.  In 1937, Jean passed away of tuberculosis, but his son Laurent, has continued the series producing over fifty Babar books.  (  

For the Classroom

Pre-Reading Activity: I would introduce the ideas of fantasy and reality.  Students would receive a graphic organizer to write down an explanation and examples of fantasy and reality.  Students who like to volunteer, would share their examples with the class.    

Post-Reading Activity: When completing the read aloud, students would then write a brief log about a "Text-to-Self" connection.  Prompts would be projected onto the front board such as, a trip/vacation to somewhere new, being away from friends and/or home for an extended period of time, or a time they proud or courageous.  At the end of the unit, their notebooks would be collected, I would look over all the assignments. 

Reflection: Reading The Story of Babar, it reminded me of other books I have read such as Curious George, The Lion King, and Bambi.  This book as well as the rest of the series is a great set of books to have in the classroom because students will fall in love with Babar, from a little elephant being rocked in a hammock, to a grown elephant with a family.  The books are easy for children to comprehend and the illustrations will continue to attract their interest.  Throughout the series, Babar shows good character through difficult events and proves why being optimistic is important.    

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  1. I've always been a fan of the Babar books so I was excited to see this one in your list of posts. I really like the inclusion of the discussion of reality/versus fantasy, since the book blends the two so wonderfully. Just going through the illustrations provides students with examples of elephants being shown realistically (walking on all fours, holding food with their trunks) and fantastically (speaking French and wearing clothing). Great choice!