Saturday, December 8, 2018

Happy Birthday, Jean de Brunhoff


One hundred nineteen years ago Jean de Brunhoff was born on December 9 in Paris, France.  He was the youngest of four children.  He became old enough to join the army and fought in World War I as it neared its end. Later, he became a professional artist.  He married in 1924, and they had three sons, Laurent, Mathieu, and Thierry.

 

Babar was actually born in his wife, Cecile's imagination as she was trying to entertain 4-year-old Mathieu when he was sick.  He and his brother, Laurent, loved the story and asked their father to make illustrations for it.  It wound up being published as The Story of Babar.  Six more Babar books followed before de Brunhoff succumbed to  tuberculosis at only age 37.


After de Brunhoff's death his brother had two more of his books published:    Babar and His Children and Babar and Father Christmas.  


Years later after World War II ended, Laurent began working as a painter, like his father.  He started working on his own Babar book, taking great care to draw the elephants exactly like his father.  He wanted to keep his father's memory and his mother's contribution alive by continuing the Babar series.  He added 45 more books to the series.


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