Babar and Celeste

images-1.jpgI have freely stolen from Wikipedia to introduce readers to Babar (my apologies to those readers who have small children and are well acquainted with Babar … and if not, why not?).

Babar the Elephant is a fictional character who first appeared in 1931 in the French children’s book Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.

The book is based on a tale that Brunhoff’s wife, Cecile, had invented for their children. It tells of a young elephant Babar whose mother is killed by a hunter. Babar escapes, and in the process leaves the jungle, visits a big city, and returns to bring the benefits of civilization to his fellow elephants. Just as he returns to his community of elephants, their king dies from eating a bad mushroom. Because of his travels and civilization, Babar is appointed king of the elephant kingdom. He marries his cousin, and they subsequently have children and teach them valuable lessons.

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Roald and the Penguin Factory

imagesThere has been a bit of a kerfuffle over the cover art chosen by Penguin to illustrate the Roald Dahl novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The two main objections: it is upsetting and inappropriate for a chldren’s book and it is not representative of the contents of the book. Most commentators concluded that they would never give the book to a child. Despite the common use of children as a shield covering the adult person’s inability to accept the problematic facts of life, let’s look at the cover, in fact the covers of the entire Penguin re-release of the works of Roald Dahl, and let’s consider the works themselves.

Let’s start by defining our terms, but in this case each reader should consider the question for themselves: What is a children’s book?

Here’s the cover:

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