Babar the elephant clothing by
The Animals Observatory


4 minute read

Words by Aida Badosa | Oct 22, 2023

The Babar capsule by The Animals Observatory was launched just a few days ago and we couldn’t be happier about it! It consists of a selection of Babar the elephant print clothing that features beautiful vignettes inspired by Jean de Brunhoff’s book series.

Many of us who are parents of children today can remember the Babar the Elephant cartoon series, some even L'histoire de Babar books, but what story can we tell our children when they ask us about the full tale of Babar the Elephant? Furthermore, what can the current children learn from it?

The history behind the story of Babar the Elephant

First things first, Babar started as a book series by the French illustrator Jean de Brunhoff. L’histoire de Babar (The story of Babar) was originally published in 1931, the year in which stars like Leonard Nimoy, James Dean and Lucia Bosè were also born, somewhere between World War I and World War II, to provide a little context.


Nevertheless, it wasn’t Jean de Brunhoff who created Babar as a character, as its story did not begin in print, but as a bedtime tale that Cécile de Brunhoff, the famous illustrator’s wife who was also a pianist and a music teacher, used to tell to the couple’s children. This way, Jean felt inspired to write the first books of Babar.

Cécile, then, was the one who made up the story of a young elephant that lost his mother to a big game hunter and had to flee his homeland, the jungle. Little Babar had to exile in Paris and there he fell in love with French culture and its fashion. He also met a human lady that adopted and raised him as a mother-like figure. When Babar returned to the jungle, he was soon after crowned Babar king of the elephants, as the previous king passed away before the protagonist's return. After this, he marries Celeste and they start a family by having four children: Pom, Flora, and Alexander, and later, Isabelle.


The original illustrator, Jean de Brunhoff published seven books of Babar between 1931 and 1941, but it was his son that actually made Babar a mass phenomenon. Laurent de Brunhoff carried on the series that his father started. He continued Babar the little elephant’s books from 1946, beginning with Babar et Le Coquin d'Arthur.

When the Babar book series had already been translated into several languages, Nelvana Limited and the Clifford Ross Company produced the famous television series, Babar, which started airing in 1989 and consisted of 65 original episodes that maybe some of the readers of this article still can remember. Furthermore, two films of Babar were made by Francis Poulenc and Raphael Mostel, L'histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (1940) and Le voyage de Babar (1944).

Babar has always had a special place in many people’s hearts, and he also has taught us some valuable lessons. We will talk about some of them below.


Some things we learned from Babar

At first, little Babar didn’t have an easy time of it. He lost his mother at such a young age, but he also was lucky enough to meet a woman who would take care of him as if he was his own child. After this token of love, he would thrive and make a lot of new friends, and have a new family. The Little, orphaned elephant would even become Babar King of the Elephants in the same jungle that he had to flee in order to save his life all those years ago.

Photography by Kiku Piñol.

So to speak, Babar learnt to overcome the adversities that life may place upon us by learning to better himself. The little elephant also learned the importance of culture and education as he was taught about it by his foster mother.

Babar also gives us the hope of knowing that, even when we think that things will never improve, life has many ups and downs, and we shouldn’t give up on it, which is such a positive way of thinking.

The cute vignettes in the Babar clothing

The print clothes of the Babar the Elephant capsule feature a few vignettes inspired by L’histoire de Babar book series. Our children will have a beautiful experience while wearing the Babar the Elephant clothing thanks to its lovely prints with illustrations of such endearing situations as Babar practicing yoga, which is printed on some of the new The Animals Observatory kids t-shirts and sweatpants; Babar chasing butterflies, found on the printed overalls for children and on cute dresses.


Celeste, Babar’s bride, also makes her appearance on the Babar print clothing, as we can see her in her wedding gown on a lovely skirt and a kids dress. To honor this sense of adventure that the original Babar the Elephant books displayed, there are also illustrations of Babar wearing a vintage camera, visiting the Piazza San Marco in Venice (Italy), and sailing into a river.

The Babar the Elephant clothing capsule is perfect for those early-spring days, as it includes a stylish jacket made with lightweight fabrics as well as some beautiful motifs that reminds us of a picnic day in the city’s main park.

Photography by Kiku Piñol.

The color palette of this new capsule includes earth and ecru colors, giving the Babar clothing a sense of nostalgia, reminiscing of the times in which this lovely character became popular. All in all, Babar & The Animals Observatory will make both children and their parents happy as it will give them the opportunity to spend some time together, while telling the story of Babar the little elephant.

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