Monday, April 13, 2009


Brunhoff, Jean de, and Merle Haas. The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant. New York: Random House, 1937.

The children's book, The Story of Babar the Little Elephant, is often criticized as being racist, sexist, and imperialistic. In his book of essays, Should We Burn Babar? progressive educator Herbert R. Kohl concludes that while he doesn't want to ban or burn Babar, he chooses not to buy a copy for his grandchildren. Fair enough.

Although it wasn't my very favorite book when I was little, it was definitely in the top 25. I loved the goofy, matter of fact tone of the narrator:

" . . . the King of the elephants had eaten a bad mushroom. It poisoned him and he became ill, so ill that he died. This was a great calamity."

Personally, I think Babar teaches kids a valuable lesson:

Beware of Strange Mushrooms.
Phillips, Jane Ellen. LSD, PCP & Other Hallucinogens. Junior drug awareness. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.