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Babar's Museum of Art

Babar's Museum of Art

by Laurent de Brunhoff, Laurent de Brunhoff, Ellen Weiss
An all-new Babar book with tremendous crossover appeal!Includes a free pull-out poster!
Following the phenomenal success of Babar's Yoga for Elephants, here is an all-new Babar story. Everyone who loves art, Babar, or children will love Babar's Museum of Art. The old train station in Celesteville stands empty—should it be


An all-new Babar book with tremendous crossover appeal!Includes a free pull-out poster!
Following the phenomenal success of Babar's Yoga for Elephants, here is an all-new Babar story. Everyone who loves art, Babar, or children will love Babar's Museum of Art. The old train station in Celesteville stands empty—should it be torn down? "No!" declare Celeste and Babar, who decide to turn it into an art museum. Their children (like many young museum-goers) have a lot of questions about art: "Does it have to be pretty? Does it have to be old? Does it have to make sense?" Celeste's patient answers explain the basic ideas of art appreciation. Babar and Celeste's generous donations to the new museum include witty and striking elephant-inspired version of Michelangelo's Creation of Man, George Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, and Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus, along with many other celebrated paintings. Children and adults will want to visit Babar's Museum of Art again and again!

Author Bio: Laurent de Brunhoff has kept the spirit of Babar alive for more than 50 years. Building upon his father's original framework, Laurent has gone on to create more than 30 books about Babar that have made both his and his character's name recognized and beloved around the world.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
In keeping with his father's original vision, Laurent de Brunhoff, who has been writing and illustrating Babar stories for 50 years now, injects the book with humor that's based on the incongruity of elephants living a cosmopolitan life. In the original story by Jean de Brunhoff, Babar is freshly arrived from the ''great forest'' and longs for smart clothes such as gentlemen wear. Attired in spats and suit, he becomes a raconteur and pastry connoisseur, driving around in a red two-seater convertible. — Emily Jenkins
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In this whimsical, wry caper, Celeste and Babar decide to transform the abandoned Celesteville train station into a museum displaying the objets d'art they've collected on their travels. Preparing the building is a collaborative effort-the town's energetic elephants help rebuild the station, transport the paintings to the new gallery and hang them on the walls. But the piece de resistance is the museum's opening day, when Babar's family and friends feast their eyes on a witty recasting of almost three dozen classic paintings and sculptures in which pachyderms take the place of human figures. Almost-touching elephant trunks replace fingers in a reimagining of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam and an elephant with golden tresses springs from the half-shell in a rendition of Botticelli's Birth of Venus. The museum-goers share their thoughts on what they like about the works of art and the ways in which they identify with the subjects (young Arthur chooses a Van Gogh self-portrait: "I like this picture because it's red"). With his gentle artistic makeovers and by predominantly keeping the focus on the younger elephants' questions, de Brunhoff skillfully allows young readers an entree to the world of fine art. Babar offers some wise words when Alexander and Flora ask him if paintings in a museum have to be old or pretty: "It doesn't have to be or mean anything.... There are no rules to tell us what art is." Adding to the value of this impressive volume is a large, handsomely reproduced pull-out poster featuring nine of the "masterpieces" from the book, framed in gold leaf. A visual treat all around. All ages. (Sept.) FYI: An exhibition of the book's original art will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Public Library and to additional cities to be announced. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Queen Celeste and King Babar are taking a balloon ride over Celesteville one day when the queen notices the old railroad station standing abandoned and unused by the lake. She then comes up with the wonderful idea of turning the attractive building into a museum of art. Thus the Celesteville Museum of Art (closed on Mondays) comes into being. Celeste and Babar have a big collection of paintings and sculptures that they have collected on their travels, and now all the elephants in the kingdom can come and look at the beautiful pieces themselves. At the opening of the museum, Pom, Alexander, Flora, Arthur, Isabelle, and Zephir go to look at the art works. They have never been to a museum before and don't know what to expect or what to do there. And this is where this wonderful book is such a great tool for children. It helps to show young children what an art museum is like and how paintings can tell a story. It also shows them how the elephant children in the book see different things than the grown-ups do. Cornelius, the old and wise elephant, knows a great deal about the paintings and what they mean. He can tell the children these meanings if they want to hear about them, but the elephant children learn that one doesn't have to know the deeper meanings of a painting to appreciate it. Also they learn that a painting doesn't have to be old or pretty to be considered art. As Babar says "There are no rules to tell us what art is." What this book does for children is to open up their horizons and give them a freedom in how they look at art and also, one hopes, how they create their own art. The adult reader of this book will delight in the author's interpretation of great art works. Laurentde Brunhoff turned many familiar paintings and other pieces of art into elephant works of art. Vincent Van Gogh's "Self Portrait" has an elephant head and the "Little Dancer" made by Degas acquires a trunk, large ears and hefty legs. All is all this is a delightful book for readers of all ages. 2003, Harry N. Abrams, Ages 4 up.
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-With the help of an architect and friends, Babar and Celeste decide to establish a museum in the old Celesteville train station and donate their extensive art collection. Readers follow along as de Brunhoff's lighthearted offering touches on how such institutions might be created, how to behave in a museum, and art appreciation. Celeste's most valuable instructions for small children: "look, don't touch, and tell me what you see" precedes Babar's timely reminder, "there are no rules to tell us what art is." The Celesteville museum exhibits echo noted artworks from Rubens to Cezanne, Whistler to Pollock, as more than 30 major works (imitated with pachyderm subjects) fill the pages. Consider this an introduction to museums for the youngest readers, especially for Babar fans. Older students will find entertaining comparisons to classic art collections. For a closer pairing with masterworks, share Jacqueline Weitzman's You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum (Dial, 1998). A fine choice for all libraries.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
That venerable elephant returns in another classically plotless but curiously appealing outing, this time to the new art museum of Celesteville (modeled on the Mus�e d'Orsay). Babar and the gang spend the day gazing at the vast art collection he has amassed and now made available to all: works by the Old-and New-Masters that substitute elephants for the familiar human figures. In this, it bears a superficial resemblance to Anthony Browne's Willy's Pictures (2000), but where that work invited the audience into the paintings and encouraged individual reflection, this serves a more pedagogical end. Wise Celeste invites the children to respond to the art-"I like the dog!" Flora exclaims of an elephantized van Eyck-while pompous Cornelius attempts to expound upon symbolism and goes ignored. As a primer for both parents and children on how to manage a family visit to an art museum, it cheerily offers both good and bad examples to follow and avoid; as a deeper invitation to encounter art, it barely serves as an introduction. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Babar the Elephant Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 12.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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